Meaning of Steering Column
A steering column is a component in an automobile that controls the direction of the vehicle as well as a number of other functions. The ignition switch, turn signals, and windshield wipers are typically located in this column.
A gear selector and cruise control are also located in this part of the vehicle. Most of the steering column assembly is located under the vehicle’s dash in the driver’s compartment and protrudes into the engine compartment on the opposite side.
The column is linked to the steering components of the vehicle chassis through a series of universal joints and solid steel tubing.
Some new cars have folding steering columns.
There are various options available in a steering column such as tilt steering, telescopic steering, and rotary steering.
During the Golden Age of American automobile design in the 1950s, the steering column began to evolve as a prominent component of the automobile and not just a utilitarian tool for steering the vehicle.
Luxury items such as a steering column were offered, which would move out of the way when the driver entered or exited the vehicle. Tilt and telescopic options also made their debut in the late 1950s.
Modern steering columns are designed to collapse in the event of a collision.
In an effort to compete with European automakers, in the 1970s American automotive engineers placed headlight dimmer switches on the turn signal levers of American-made vehicles.
Soon, features like windshield wiper controls and cruise control switches made their way to the steering wheel and turn signal levers.
Plastic began to replace steel for safety and economic reasons in the 1970s, and the chrome trim that was common on the steering wheel was replaced by less conspicuous components.
The ignition switch, turn signals, and windshield wipers are typically located on the steering column.
With the advent of the airbag, the steering wheel began to take on the role of a lifesaver in addition to its vehicle control function. The column began to be wired with highly critical airbag components and gold-plated connectors were installed to improve electrical contact between the different wires.
A small explosive charge was placed inside the steering wheel to power the safety air bag in the event of a collision.
Some steering columns include anti-theft devices.
Advances in technology changed rigid column steering axles to folding units . These new axles will collapse in the event of a frontal collision instead of pushing the steering wheel into the driver’s chest.
Many drivers have been spared serious and fatal injuries due to the installation of the folding steering column.