KR, Germantown, Md.

With speed-sensitive power steering, also known as variable-assist steering, the amount of power assist increases at low vehicle speeds and decreases at higher speeds.

Steering_wheel

Providing more power assist at low speeds makes the steering lighter and easier to turn, a benefit when squeezing into a parking space or maneuvering in tight quarters that requires quickly turning the wheel lock-to-lock. Conversely, at highway speeds, steering that is too light would make it easy to overcorrect with abrupt steering changes. Instead, variable-assist steering dials back on the power assist to make the steering firmer at highway speeds with more on-center feel.

Variable-assist steering is common, yet many drivers may not know they have it. They only know that the steering is light and responsive at parking speeds but not too light at highway speeds.

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Answered by Rick Popely on March 16, 2012 in What Does This Mean? | Permalink

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