Most motorists, including experienced drivers, don’t have a clue about how many degrees the steering wheel usually turns. Although not knowing this information does not mean that you are a poor driver, the fact remains that the more information you know about your car, the better you will be able to handle it.
So, how many degrees does a steering wheel turn? Read this article until the end to find out.
For most road vehicles a steering wheel turns about 3 times which is about 1080 degrees from full left lock to full right lock. Racing cars on the other hand have a smaller lock-to-lock rotation with most turning 2.5 times which is about 900 degrees.
Bottom line is that the degrees that a steering wheel turns varies depending on the type of car but most regular car steering wheels turn 1080 degrees.
How many times does a driver have to perform a full steering wheel spin?
It depends on the unique needs of the driver and the environment where the driver is driving. For instance, if you are driving on a road with steep corners, then you will perform a full steering spin multiple times.
But on average, most drivers perform an average of between 3-5 full steering wheel spins per day.
Does making a complete steering wheel turn affect the steering?
Making a complete steering wheel turn multiple times a day will affect the steering, especially on hydraulic power steering. The reason why making a complete steering wheel turn is not recommended is because when you turn the wheel, the pressure rises with each turn you make.
So, the more the steering wheel turns, the higher the pressure rises and by the time you turn it to lock, the pressure will be so high and will strain the system, thus causing it to wear prematurely.
The power steering hoses will also stiffen up and the fluid will overheat rapidly, thus causing more damage to the system. So, making complete steering turns multiple times will affect the steering performance over time.
Turning your steering when the car is not moving can cause even more damage to the steering system. Turning the steering when the car is not moving is known as dry steering and can cause unnecessary wear to the steering mechanism because more force is being applied by the steering to turn the wheel.
How much should your steering wheel turn and be safe?
It is very difficult to avoid turning your steering wheel completely, especially when negotiating tight corners. However, there are some instances where you can avoid turning your steering completely, like when overtaking on a straight road.
If you are too close to the car in front of you, don’t overtake immediately, instead wait for the front car to move to give you more space to overtake it without turning the steering wheel completely.
The general rule of thumb is that you should only turn 2/3 of your steering. For instance, if your steering turns 3 times from full left lock to full right lock, then you should turn it twice to prevent pilling too much pressure on it.
Can the steering wheel get locked while driving?
YES, your steering can lock while you are driving but this is something that occurs rarely, especially for modern cars. The most common cause of steering locking while driving is if there is a problem with:
- The power steering system
- The car ignition lock system
- A failing serpentine belt
- Suspension issue
- When negotiating very tight turns
For instance, your steering wheel can get locked if the power steering pump gets stuck with debris. A failure in your car’s suspension or column may also cause the steering wheel to lock up while driving.
But a most common issue with a locked steering wheel is the breakage of the serpentine belt which is responsible for the proper functioning of the power steering system.
Does a racing car steering wheel turn the same as a regular car?
NO, racing car steering wheels usually don’t turn the same as regular cars. Racing cars have a smaller lock to lock rotation with most turning 2.5 times which is about 900 degrees.
The steering wheel turn of racing cars is much smaller compared to regular cars which have a lock-to-lock rotation of about 1080 degrees.
How do you calculate the steering ratio?
Steering ratio refers to the ratio between the turn of the steering and the turn of the wheels. It is usually calculated in degrees. Calculating the steering ratio is incredibly simple.
Steering ratio = the number of turns of the steering wheel/ number of turns of the wheel.
For example, if a single complete turn of the steering wheel is 360 degrees and causes the wheel to turn for 24 degrees, then the steering ratio will be 360:24 which can be simplified further to 15:1.
The number of times that steering turns varies depending on the type of car with most regular car models turning 3 times (1080 degrees) and racing to turn 2.5 times( 900 degrees).
Turning your steering wheel completely multiple times is not recommended because it damages the steering wheel mechanism thus increasing the chance of getting locked while driving.
If you notice any unusual change in your steering wheel performance while driving, take it to a trusted mechanic immediately for a thorough checkup.