Thu | Jun 4, 2020


Published:Sunday | June 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Laranzo Dacres, Gleaner Writer

IT IS an almost unnoted modern convenience but all vehicles come outfitted with power steering systems which help to enhance the driving experience. However, there are some who prefer the bygone mechanics of manual steering.

Bryn Morgan, race car driver and mechanical engineer for over 35 years, does not appear to be leaving that behind anytime soon. He revealed with the right tuning, wheel alignment, correct tyre pressure and size, manual steering makes for a better ride.

"Trust mi, it is 100 per cent sweeter to drive than a power-assisted steering," he said.

Morgan said an advantage of the power steering is the ease it brings to parking. The hydraulic system, which aids the driver in manoeuvring the vehicle, takes away the added effort needed to fit a vehicle in a close parking space.

The 1951 Chrysler was the first vehicle for the market to sport a power steering system. It was introduced as the hydraguide system. The system design was based on the hydraulic power steering system patented by Francis Davis in the 1920s. However, preceding that, Chevrolet had built armoured cars equipped with Davis' system for the British Army for World War II.

"Power steering is far more superior than the manual steering. It takes less effort to turn. With manual, it is your power against the car's," said mechanic Garvey Reid.

"It would take forever and a whole heap of energy to park in a tight spot with the manual. Worst if you trying to turn the car before it rolls back," Reid said laughing.

According to Craig Beharry, manager of Power Steering Specialty which rebuilds faulty steerings, the choice of steering became available in the 1980s. The 'power' cost a few extra bucks and was only available for larger vehicles.

Beharry said it takes six to seven years for the power steering to go bad.

"When a power steering is not as soft as it should be, especially when the car is going slow, there is a problem," Beharry said.

"Another indication is an unusual noise you hear whenever you turn the steering, when this happens you should check your power steering reservoir. If the fluid is low, that's when you know something is off."

He said low fluid levels indicate thepresence of a leak and attention is needed promptly or the driver runsthe risk of severe damage.

Beharry said when a power steering goes bad it is almost impossible to turn.

These are not problems for Morgan's Suzuki Swift, Suzuki GTI and '73 VW; all manual steering.

"About 95 per cent of race cars use manual steering, because you get a better feel of the motion of the front end that makes you better able to manoeuvre the car," he said.

"You feel the road a lot better and you are also better able to aim the vehicle, because you can feel exactly what the wheel is doing to the ground."