Steering column

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Steering column detail.

The automotive steering column is a device intended primarily for connecting the steering wheel to the steering mechanism or transferring the driver's input torque from the steering wheel.

Secondary functions[edit]

A steering column may also perform the following secondary functions:

  • energy dissipation management in the event of a frontal collision;
  • provide mounting for: the multi-function switch, column lock, column wiring, column shroud(s), transmission gear selector, gauges or other instruments as well as the electro motor and gear units found in EPAS and SbW systems;
  • offer (height and/or length) adjustment to suit driver preference

Steering lock[edit]

Modern vehicles are fitted with a steering lock which is an anti-theft device. It is fitted to the steering column usually below the steering wheel. The lock is combined with the ignition switch and engaged and disengaged either by a mechanical ignition key or electronically from the vehicles electronic control unit. These locks were introduced on many General Motor products in 1969 drastically reducing thefts of these GM models,[1] and on Ford, Chrysler, and AMC products in 1970.

Regulatory requirements[edit]

In the United States, steering columns are governed by several federal regulatory requirements, notably FMVSS 108, 114 and 208.


  1. ^ "The Popular Science Anti-Car-Theft Device Competition" Popular Science", July 1969, p.70.