5 Special Steering Tools and Why You Need Them
Steering tools are tools that make replacing and fixing different parts of a vehicle’s steering system easy, safe, and less time-consuming. They’re specialized tools that are not always found in the regular toolbox collection but that can make effortless the work of technicians and DIY vehicle owners. Here’s a list of these steering system repair tools and their purpose.
The Steering System
The steering system is made of many parts that work together to turn the wheels. These parts are mostly hidden, or they may contain pressed-on parts that are difficult to take out or install. To work on the system, you need special tools that can help you do the job quickly and efficiently.
Steering tools are designed to save time and money by making it easier to fix the steering system. They can help you reach inaccessible parts, remove old parts, and install new ones. Most are manufactured as kits, allowing you to use them to fix different types of vehicles.
Steering Tools Meaning
Specialty steering tools are necessary if you want to repair the steering system without damaging other parts or getting injured in the process. To the technician, they help save precious time, and to the vehicle owner, they help save money.
However, not many people are conversant with these tools. So we compiled a list of the most important types of conventional and power steering repair tools that you can use to get started. Most are also inexpensive but can make a big difference in the efficiency of your work. Check them out below.
1. Steering Wheel Puller
The steering wheel is mounted to the steering column with a nut or bolt. To remove the steering wheel, this nut needs to be loosened or removed. But because the steering is usually firmly held on the shaft, it can be difficult to remove without special steering wheel tools.
A steering wheel puller is a tool that helps to remove the steering wheel effortlessly by applying pressure to dislodge it from the shaft. The puller is typically a two-armed yoke with a central pressure bolt and holes for pulling bolts on the sides.
During use, the steering wheel removal tool is mounted above the steering wheel with the central bolt resting on the shaft and the pulling bolts in the corresponding holes on the wheel. The pressure bolt is then turned. The resulting force will cause the steering wheel to come out.
The steering puller tool is usually manufactured as a kit containing a set of bolts of different sizes so that it can be used with most steering wheels. Despite the piece of equipment being one of the most important steering tools, it’s also one of the most inexpensive.
2. Steering wheel Lock Plate Tool
The steering lock plate is a metal plate located just behind the steering wheel. In order to access the steering column, this plate needs to be removed first. But the plate is installed with snap rings, and removing it can be quite a task without the proper tool.
A steering wheel lock plate tool is a specialized steering tool that helps remove the snap ring holding the steering lock plate in place so the locking plate can release. The tool consists of two parts: a fork-shaped yoke that fits over the plate and a center bolt that’s turned to apply pressure on the plate.
Once the steering wheel lock plate remover has compressed the plate, it becomes easy to take out the snap ring holding it in place. Like many other specialty steering tools, the steering wheel lock plate removal tool comes as a kit that includes different sizes of bolts to fit most steering columns.
3. Steering Pump Puller Kit
The steering pump is a hydraulic component that helps the movements of a power a steering system. It’s usually mounted to the engine with bolts and it has a pulley that’s connected to the engine crankshaft via a belt.
To remove the steering pump, the technician needs to first disconnect the electrical connector, then remove the pulley and finally unscrew the bolts holding the pump in place. However, the pulley is often press-fit onto the shaft and, therefore, tricky to take out. Here is where you need the steering pump puller kit.
The power steering pump puller kit comes with a pulley remover and installer, as well as a set of different sized bolts to fit most steering pumps. The pulley remover itself works like most pullers in terms of extraction method. As you can guess, these power steering repair tools also remove the alternator pulley.
4. Inner Tie Rod End Tool
The inner tie rod ends are the ends of the tie rods that connect to the steering gear. They act as a link between the steering wheel and the wheels, allowing you to turn them. The inner tie rod ends are usually held in place with a ball joint and boot.
The inner tie end rod is one of the most difficult steering system parts to service. The inner tie rod end tool is supposed to make the job easier, making it one of the most crucial steering tools.
The tool is basically a long socket with an extension that allows you to reach the inner tie rod end nut. The design of the tool varies, but most have a ratcheting mechanism to help loosen or tighten the nut.
In order to help you handle many different sizes and designs of inner tie rod ends, the tool usually comes in a set that includes different sized SAE as well as metric adapters. These pieces of steering tools will also come in a molded plastic case.
5. Front End Service Kit
The car’s front end makes part of the steering system and includes various components such as the Pitman arm, idler arm, drag link, and a series of ball joints. These parts are connected to the steering gear or parts via a series of rods and joints.
With all these moving parts, it’s not surprising that front end wear and tear is inevitable. As a result, these parts need to be inspected and serviced from time to time — safely without causing damage or requiring a lot of effort.
A front end service kit is a set of steering tools designed to help you remove and install the various parts of the front end steering system. The kit usually includes a Pitman arm puller, tie rod lifter, tie rod end puller, tie rod end lifter, and ball joint removing tool.
These steering and suspension tools are designed to make it easier and faster to service the front end steering system. The kit also comes with a set of different sized adapters to fit most vehicle makes and models.
The five steering tools we’ve mentioned above are essential if you’ll need to service a car’s steering system, or if you’re a professional mechanic looking to make your work easier and tasks quicker. They are designed to make the job easier and help you avoid damaging the parts. And while you can find most of these tools individually, it’s usually more economical to buy them in a set. A set also ensures that you have all the necessary sizes and adapters for the job.