In order to translate the rotation of a motor vehicle’s steering wheel to the turning of its wheels requires some form of steering system. All motor vehicles have one of two types of steering system; either a rack and pinion system or a steering box. The steering box system works by translating the rotation of the steering wheel as the driver turns it into the left and right movement of the pitman arm, which connects to the front wheels via a track rod or centre link, idler arm (which resembles a pitman arm and is situated on the opposite side of the car) and tie rods. Most steering box linkages consist of ball bearings that circulate in a path. As a consequence, this type of steering box system is known as the “re-circulating ball.”
In comparison to the rack and pinion system the steering box has a greater degree of free play, which means that there is a greater tendency for the parts to wear.
If a steering box is badly worn it will result in steering problems, which might include steering wheel shudder, tram-lining and play in the steering wheel. Because of the potential consequences of steering failure, a worn steering box needs to be replaced at the earliest opportunity.