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The Ins & Outs of Power Steering Conversions

Power steering conversion is one of the most demanded upgrades at any OC car shop. Not without a reason. It makes the ride much smoother, safer, and, therefore – much more enjoyable. However, it is also a hefty investment.

Therefore, switching from manual to power steering is not something you should take lightly. Here are some things you should know about this upgrade before taking your car to Orange County CA classic auto restoration specialist.

What is power steering powered by?

To answer this question, first, we have to take a step back and look at the different types of power steering systems. In general, we can separate them into two distinct categories. These are:

  • Electric Power Steering (EPS), and;

  • Hydraulic Power Steering (HPS).

From designations alone, it is easy to deduce how each of them works.

Electric Power Steering (EPS)

EPS, as the name suggests, uses an electric motor to power the steering system. An array of sensors detects the driver's input (e.g. the position and torque of the steering wheel) and sends them to an internal computer. The computer uses this information to control the electric motor, which assists the driver with steering, making it easier and much less physically demanding. This is why this type of steering is often referred to as Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS).

Hydraulic Power Steering (HPS)

HPS does the same thing as the EPS but in a vastly different manner. Whereas EPS has its own motor, the HPS uses the power of a vehicle’s own motor to power a hydraulic pump. Based on the driver's input (e.g. the force exerted on the steering wheel), said pump pushes a certain amount of hydraulic fluid to help the driver control their car with less effort.

The third category

Wait... what? But, didn’t we just say that there are only two categories of power steering? Well, that is correct. The third one, however, is the amalgamation of those two and is known as Electro-Hydraulic Power Steering (EHPS). So, what’s the deal?

In short, some smart people saw how both power steering systems offer a lot of benefits – but each has its downsides. Therefore, they did the only logical thing – combined them. This marriage ended up taking the best of both worlds but it inevitably inherited one critical flaw.

EHPS is more complicated than both EPS and HPS. Don’t get us wrong – it works and it works wonders. But, due to its intricacy, it is also harder and more expensive to maintain and/or repair.

Does electric power steering feel different?

Oh, boy, does it! Adding power steering to a classic car raises driving to a whole new level. The ride becomes much smoother. The vehicle, more responsive. It gets easier to turn, whether at lower speeds or on demanding roads, such as the one passing through Laguna Canyon, for instance. Add to that the high reliability of the EPS and reduced fuel consumption, and you’re looking at a massive drive quality upgrade with only one mod!

How much does it cost to add power steering to a classic car?

The power steering conversion process in classic cars is an intricate one. Many factors will influence the bottom line, starting with your choice of a conversion kit, the type and make of the car, whether components need additional machining, etc. Also, it is a labor-intensive process. After all, it is not changing a tire – it is replacing one of the most crucial car components.

As such, the price may widely vary from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Therefore, prior to taking this giant leap, be sure to converse with your car shop of choice. Expert advice will ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck – without overpaying.

Which Orange County, CA classic auto restoration specialist should you turn to for a power steering upgrade?

Whether you want to add power steering to your hot rod or rebuild it from scratch, Chimera Motors is the shop for you. From head to tail, we can do it all. Repairing, remodeling, modernizing, cleaning, or storage – our masterful team has everything your classic car may need and more. Simply give us a call and we’ll make your vintage dream ride live on.


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