Electric vs. Hydraulic Power Steering: Understanding the Difference

Electric vs. Hydraulic Power Steering: Understanding the Difference
Electric vs. Hydraulic Power Steering: Understanding the Difference

There has been a significant upgrade in the steering mechanism of modern automobiles compared to their predecessors. Although it enhances the vehicle’s ability to steer by boosting traction, tire rotation can’t compare to the precision of a power steering system. These days, power steering is standard on almost every car on the road. What’s more, as time goes on and technology improves, automakers come up with better ways to make your driving experience. Power steering is now available in both electrical and hydraulic varieties.

What is Power Steering?

Turning the wheel of a car with power steering reduces the driver’s effort greatly. At low speeds, when parking or taking a sharp turn, drivers will noticeably benefit from this enhancement in ride quality. In front-engine vehicles, the front wheels take on the lion’s share of the vehicle’s weight, increasing the importance of power steering.
However, the responsiveness of your tires to your steering and the overall pleasantness of your driving might be affected by their condition.

Both hydraulic power steering (HPS) and electronic power steering (EPS) are used in modern automobiles (EPS). There isn’t much of a choice between the two, as they both aim to simplify the steering process. However, the processes by which they function are different.

Hydraulic Power Steering

One of the first forms of the technology, hydraulic power steering comprises of a pump, drive belt, pulley, many hoses, and power steering fluid, among other parts and pieces. High-pressure fluids are employed to aid the steering motion. However, I am still unclear as to how this works.

This assembly creates the hydraulic power necessary for more precise control of the vehicle’s steering. In this way, the rotary vane pump in the engine releases just the right amount of hydraulic pressure as the steering wheel is turned. The wheels can be forced to turn in a certain direction by increasing the pressure, which is achieved by pumping additional hydraulic fluid into the cylinder.

Pros of Hydraulic Power Steering

Better Feedback

This power steering technology gives a more natural feel, which is especially appreciated by sports car drivers. Many of today’s top-tier automobiles still have hydraulic systems, which are shown to be superior at handling high-performance sports cars. But regular drivers won’t detect any performance degradation. Fortunately, today’s EPS systems are both more user-friendly and more effective than ever before.


Hydraulic steering is more cost-effective for automakers to produce since it requires less electric components. The costs of maintenance and repairs will be reduced as well.


For this reason, hydraulics has been around for a long time, and its systems have been perfected to provide the utmost reliability. Because hydraulic fluid is used in this technique, wear and friction are drastically decreased. Everything that comes into contact with other objects is thus better lubricated. And even if something does go wrong while you’re behind the wheel, you can still steer the vehicle.

Cons of Hydraulic Power Steering

High Power Consumption

A hydraulic system’s energy consumption is higher because the pump is always running. The engine’s efficiency could drop precipitously under such conditions. Having to use more engine power to operate the steering system contributes directly to higher fuel consumption.


In place of electricity, the hydraulic system operates with bulkier components and fluid. Having this extra gear also means carrying more mass and getting less mileage per gallon.

More Maintenance

However, hydraulic systems require more maintenance than other types of systems, such as checking fluid levels and lubricating moving parts, to ensure they function properly. Frequent upkeep is needed to keep the system running smoothly.

Electric Power Steering

Those familiar with both electrical and hydraulic power steering will know that the latter requires more maintenance and replacement parts than the former. Simply plugging in an electric motor provides the force required for steering. A sensor in this motor calculates the torque applied to the wheel. The reading is used by the motor to turn the wheels at the proper RPM.

Multiple options exist for electric power steering systems for automakers to select from. More commonly, however, electric motors positioned on the steering rack or electric pumps supplement the standard hydraulic system.

Pros of Electric Power Steering

Better Fuel Economy

The principal advantage of an electric power steering system over a hydraulic one is the reduction in fuel consumption. There is no standby loss because the mechanism only utilizes power when the wheel is being rotated.

Less Maintenance

One of the numerous benefits of an electric arrangement is that it needs very little maintenance. If you’re looking for a power steering system that doesn’t need any maintenance, look no further than electric models.

Better Handling

Even though EPS systems at originally provided less feedback from the road, they have since been upgraded to provide better reactivity at changing speeds than HPS systems. The vehicle’s lighter steering contributes to its easiness of control.

More Reliable

Because of its relatively recent development, electronic power steering may be viewed as less dependable than its hydraulic forebears. An EPS is more dependable and long-lasting than a conventional power supply because it has fewer moving parts. If the system fails while you’re driving, the only danger is that your steering will freeze and you’ll lose control.

Cons of Electric Power Steering


In contrast to mechanical systems, electronic ones have only one major drawback: a greater production cost. Those costs are implicit in the sticker price of the vehicle. Repairing a damaged electrical system is much more expensive than putting in a brand new system.

Electric vs. Hydraulic Power Steering: Which is Better?

Both types of power steering considerably reduce the effort needed to maneuver. Electronic power steering is becoming more common in new cars because not all drivers are enthusiasts. Most automobile owners choose power steering even though they can get a better feel for the road by not using it. Even more is possible with an EPS system than with a conventional HPS one. The increased cost is the only drawback of this electrical configuration. It may be reasonable to pay extra for it initially if you never have to worry about repairs and you get good gas mileage.

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