Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - May 2015


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Spring is finally here!  I trust everyone has been enjoying the nice weather and getting their winter tires taken off.  If you bought your tires at Active Green and Ross, the changeovers are at “no charge”.  I also wanted to mention if you don’t have anywhere to store them, ask your local Active Green and Ross to store them for you.  Having said all that, tires are not what I am talking about in this newsletter.  You have all been to one of my car care clinics and have heard me talk about what happens when your serpentine belt comes off.  If you don’t remember, I always say that you will lose your power steering!  In the last little while I’ve been doing research and see that more and more cars are coming with Electric Power Steering (EPS).  You’re probably thinking what does this have to do with the serpentine belt and losing power steering if it comes off.  Well, that’s my point, with electric power steering it no longer uses the serpentine belt and I wanted to tell you more about this.  So keep reading!:-)





More and more of the cars on the road today have electric power steering instead of hydraulic power steering.

This month's topic: Power Steering

When cars were first invented they had what I like to call “Armstrong steering”. Some of you may remember driving a car that didn’t have power steering. I remember my 1987 Fiero GT didn’t have power steering, but the car was light, so it was no big deal unless I was trying to park. In the 1950’s “Armstrong steering” was replaced by hydraulically assisted power steering and this is where the serpentine belt comes in. Hydraulic power steering requires pressurized hoses and belts to operate the system and it made our life a lot easier. As the belts and hoses age, we as vehicle owners sometimes encounter leaks or failures which require us to take our vehicle in for repairs. In the late 1980’s some vehicle manufacturers were starting to flirt with electric power steering and now many cars have it and you wouldn’t even know it.

Electric power steering uses an electric motor and sensors to detect the position of the steering wheel and a computer module applies assistive help via the motor. The slower you are going the more “assist” it gives and the faster you drive, the less “assist” it gives. Don’t worry, if the EPS fails, there is still a mechanical linkage to help you steer but you will be back to “Armstrong steering”. Don’t get this confused with your serpentine belt coming off. If you have EPS and your serpentine belt comes off, you won’t notice a difference in your steering. Instead you will see lights like your temperature and battery light come up on your dash.

Electric power steering has many benefits; one of them being that it improves fuel economy because there is no serpentine belt driven hydraulic pump constantly running. A by-product of this is a simplification in the manufacturing process as well as maintenance. Manufacturers can also offer great safety features such as lane keeping and Park Assist. If you have either of these features on your car, then you have electric power steering! I tried to find a list of what vehicles came with EPS, but this wasn’t to be. What I found though was that most manufacturers have EPS on some of their products. The new Honda civic, Porsche 911, Corvette Stingray, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and some BMW 3 Series. Really, I’m only scratching the surface of what vehicles come with Electric Power Steering. If you really want to know what you have, when you take your vehicle in for an oil change at Active Green and Ross ask the service advisor when you drop it off.


This month’s photo: I know you all recognize the steering wheel.  Well this is how it connects to your wheels.  You can see the tie rods at the bottom on both ends and ultimately your wheels are connected here as well with a few other bits and pieces…




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