Fundamentals of Steering Systems C0716

Topics: Chassis, Air Frame, Vehicle Dynamics

Design and development of a modern steering system influences vehicle response to steering wheel input, driver effort, comfort, safety and fuel economy. In this interactive course participants will analyze the steering system from the road wheel to the steering wheel.

Day one will begin with a deep dive into the anatomy and architecture of the lower steering system (wheel end, suspension geometry, linkages and steering gear), its effect on vehicle response and how forces and moments at the contact patch are converted to a torque at the pinion. Next, the anatomy and architecture of the upper steering system (steering column and intermediate shaft) will be explored as well as the role of the upper steering in the occupant protection system, steering non-uniformity, and how torque and angle at the pinion is converted to torque and angle at the steering wheel.

Day two will be devoted to the anatomy, architecture and function of electric power assisted steering systems. Hydraulic and electro hydraulic power steering systems will be briefly discussed, with additional detailed information provided in the course handout.

Day three will begin with a discussion of common steering objective tests and how system design and tuning affect steering response, torque feedback and error state performance. The course will conclude with a discussion of advanced steering systems such as rear wheel steer, active front steer, active park assist and other driver assistance systems.

Participants will have the opportunity to participate in exercises throughout the course with the objective of calculating a power steering assist curve for an electric power steering system. Many physical parts will be available for the students to examine.

This course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this course, accredited reconstructionists should mail a copy of their course certificate and the $5 participant CEU fee to ACTAR, PO Box 1493, North Platte, NE 69103.

Learning Objectives

By attending this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify common steering and suspension system architectures
  • Compare and contrast different types of steering gears
  • Describe the function of the steering column and intermediate shaft subsystem
  • Describe the influence of system tuning on steering response and torque feedback
  • Compare and contrast different types of power assist systems
  • Describe the effect of power steering on fuel economy
  • Calculate important parameters that affect steering response and torque feedback
  • Describe some of the features of advanced steering systems

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for automotive engineers in the vehicle dynamics, chassis, suspension, steering and chassis controls fields who work in product design, development, testing, simulation or research.


Participants must have a working knowledge of the fundamentals of vehicle dynamics acquired through sufficient work experience or by participating in courses such as SAE's Vehicle Dynamics for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (ID# 99020) or Advanced Vehicle Dynamics for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (ID# C0415).


"Very informative... Many hours of research saved by attending this course. "
Newton Montano
Trams International

"This class provides a great starting point and gets into enough detail for most non-designers. "
Jared Sebree
Engineering Coordinator
Honda of America MFG

"Tim provides a very thorough overview of common steering systems in a practical, easy to understand, hands on manner. "
Phil Kling
Manager, Product Investigations
General Motors of Canada LTD

"Very informative class on everything that goes into designing a steering system from the ground up."
Cory C. Cousineau
Development Engineer
EMP-Engineered Machined Products, Inc.

You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.

Timothy Drotar

Timothy DrotarTim Drotar is currently a lead engineer in advanced vehicle dynamics at Stellantis. Previously, he spent 30 years at Ford Motor Company where he specialized in chassis systems and vehicle dynamics for passenger cars and light trucks. Tim is a member of SAE, SCCA and The Tire Society. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Duration: 3 Days
CEUs: 2.0

Format: Classroom

Event ID: S-00520

Location: Troy, Michigan

Session Info:

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Fees: $1,699.00

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