Steering while stationary - Lud
I notice in another thread one or two posters complaining that their wives apply steering lock while the car is stationary. Unless they are exceptionally mean and fear that it is costing them 0.002p's worth of rubber every time it happens, why do people care about this?

Certainly it tends to be drilled into learner drivers. But I strongly suspect that the reason is driving schools fear the damage that will be caused when learners do this while the n/s front wheel is graunched tight against a high kerb. Otherwise it has to be irrational, since clutch abuse is winked at by driving instructors.

I seldom get to drive my car without having to apply steering lock while it is stationary. Very tight parking slots are often the only ones available in London. Is it really the case that other people live in some spacious fantasy world where miraculously convenient lengths of unrestricted kerb are always present where they want to stop, as they are in nearly all Hollywood movies, even good ones?

Steering while stationary - component part
My thoughts on the subject are this. I think steering while stationary should be avoided where possible, to the point where I consciously avoid doing it, natural reaction like many other good driving habits. But I'm certainly not worried about doing it when I have to, as you say, plenty of situations where it is the best or even the only way to complete the maneuver.
Steering while stationary - Lud
Agreed cp. My view exactly.
Steering while stationary - smallfish
There is a benefit to avoiding stationary steering with non power assisted cars - (a colleague of mine has a non power assisted mk3 golf - the physical effort required for her to to park using the stationary steering technique is remarkable!)

Logically steering a power assisted car while in motion should put less stress on the steering parts than when in motion but I have no idea whether this is significant enough to be worth avoiding...
Steering while stationary - ForumNeedsModerating
I must admit I feel a tinge of guilt when I have to steer stationary - just that (maybe misguided) mechanical sympathy vibe. I imagine the poor old hydraulics,valves, bushes & seals working at maximum capacity, together with the transverse scuffing action on the tyres. Mind you, I'm a bit sensitive today anyway after being billed for various steering components & having more advised as replacements on a 'standard' service.

Luckily, here in N.Wales, tight parking options are generally conifned to supermarkets only - street parking situations rarely require the slightest technique or manoeuvre & any full-lock options can be eschewed.
Steering while stationary - Stuartli
I was always taught to only turn the steering wheel when the vehicle was moving, no matter how slowly, as a form of mechanical sympathy.

That was in the days before power steering was widely available, but its now almost universal use means that drivers find it all too easy to turn the steering wheel even when the vehicle is stationary.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Steering while stationary - DrS
I am sure that the more mature amongst us will recall the days before power steering became commonplace, and "dry" steering was nigh on impossible: The merest edging forward during manoeuvering lightened steering effort beyond recognition.
My point is: Why should you subject your steering rack, track rod ends, hydraulic seals, tyre treads, etc to all of that abuse, when for the sake of simply paying attention to an obviously bad habit, you could avoid it?
It's just pure unadulterated laziness.

Look; just don't get me started on this, Lud!
Steering while stationary - DrS
And yes, I do live on a tree - lined boulevard, where almost no steering effort is required.
Steering while stationary - Lud
Why should you subject your steering rack track rod ends hydraulic seals
tyre treads etc to all of that abuse when you could avoid it?
It's just pure unadulterated laziness.
Look; just don't get me started on this Lud!


Well, you have started, haven't you... :o)

It's not abuse, it's use. The parts are going to wear anyway. Treat them as kindly as possible by all means, but why be obsessive about it?

It was indeed much harder work before power steering, but you still had to do it sometimes.

Frankly I think you underestimate the difficulty of getting into a space less than a foot longer than your car. A bit of abuse will shorten the manouevring period considerably.
Steering while stationary - Chris White
I work in a town centre and have to come in and out during the day and, like Lud finds in London, car parking spaces 2 car lengths or longer don't exist. Usually I drive round and round a few times before finding a space barely big enough and then have to use steering while stationary.

Maybe I'm lucky, but we've never had bills for steering components and I've never had any for my cars.

If you live in a busy town centre it is not something that can be avoided and it's not through laziness.

Chris
Steering while stationary - Number_Cruncher
Quite a bit of the reduction in steering effort depends upon the scrub radius - which is the distance between the centre of the tyre contact patch and where the steering axis passes through the ground. It's entirely possible for cars with a large scrub radius for the wheel to effectively roll around during steering even though the car itself isn't moving, and so the reduction in steering force due to motion isn't as large. The disadvantage of large scrub radius is that in the event of a tyre blowout at one side, you suddenly feel a lot of steering torque.

Unlike more delicate steering systems of old, I don't think any serious damage is being done - OK, you might be reducing component life a little, but in many cases, this won't affect ordinary car users, and will just give the bangernomics deviants an MOT fail maybe 10 years later.

Mechanical sympathy suggests that where possible steering while stationary should be avoided, but I wouldn't make it an unbreakable rule - I've suggested to SWMBO that I'm happier changing steering parts a little earlier than having to pay out for parking shunts while she's multitasking, shuffling the steering about whilst inching the car along.

Number_Cruncher
Steering while stationary - Lud
It's entirely possible for cars with a large scrub
radius for the wheel to effectively roll around during steering even though the car itself
isn't moving and so the reduction in steering force due to motion isn't as large.


2CVs, which have unusually marked and variable castor and camber angles too, move sideways three inches or more at the front when you wind the steering from lock to lock. Quite useful in very tight places.
Steering while stationary - Garethj
but why be obsessive about it?


What, you mean like starting a thread on the subject, Lud? ;-)
Steering while stationary - P3t3r
I've never steered my car when stationary, it certainly doesn't feel right. There's never been a need for me to steer so much that I couldn't do it when moving. I'm not too worried about the tyre rubber, but if my power steering stopped working, it costs hunreds (on my car, not all cars).
Steering while stationary - mike hannon
As old fogeys like Lud and myself are looking at this thread I will mention the Alvis TD21s I drove years ago during my long search for something different to own.
Not only would the steering wheel - one of those nice sprung Bluemel's ones IIRC - not move at all when the car was stationary, it would hardly budge when the car was on the move as well! The old drivers were made of sterner stuff than we wimps!
Now, of course, I'm totally spoiled by Honda 4-wheel steering - dunno why it never caught on...
Steering while stationary - Welliesorter
If I need to move my car only a few feet, I sometimes take off the handbrake and push it, moving the steering wheel if necessary. I do so in the belief that it's a bad idea to turn on the engine for such a small manoeuvre. Am I misguided in this?
Steering while stationary - bell boy
i probably do this twice a week weliesorter and i am only the guardians of the mechanical contraptions
no way do i or have i ever turned power steerings systems while stood (well nearly never anyway) it will indeed break something eventually or twist a bulkhead
weakest power steering on the block? almost undoubtebly the ka
be warned if wife or mistress runs one of these and shes a kerbside steerer
Steering while stationary - Lud
As old fogeys like Lud and myself are looking at this thread I will mention
the Alvis TD21s


Didn't know they had specially heavy steering. Did the Grey Lady have power steering for its slightly unsuitable wire wheels? Guess not.

American cars, and very large cars, used to compensate for the weight of steering at parking speeds by having very low geared steering, four or five turns lock to lock. Combined with sudden roll oversteer, er, not ideal.

Fifties Rolls-Royces were quite big but the steering wasn't unduly heavy and they had good road manners and could be driven quite briskly, although the engine didn't like more than a few minutes at full throttle. Nevertheless I got calluses on my palms driving a Bentley round London. Mk IX and X Jaguars ten years later had power steering that groaned comically on full lock.

These modern things are absurd, fingertip stuff and a squashy wheel at that.
Steering while stationary - L'escargot
On tarmac, turning the steering wheel when the car is stationary grinds patches off the road/drive surface. That indicates how much load it transmits through the steering mechanism. I used to live in a narrow road and you could tell which drivers turned the wheel while stationary after reversing off their drive by the number of scrubbed patches on the road outside their house. There were none outside ours!
--
L\'escargot.
Steering while stationary - Cliff Pope
I don't think that turning the wheel when stationary has any significant wear, but it just feels better to avoid it unless necessary.

What does cause wear I think is driving too fast on full lock, particularly in reverse. If I put the Volvo (240s have famously small turning circles) on full lock and go backwards too rapidly the car tends to go straight but the tyres protest horribly at being dragged sideways.
Steering while stationary - RichardW
I have changed a lot of track rod ends on cars I have bought over the last few years (all power steered - the Xantia I've recently bought is no exception - it needs both sides doing at only 50k) - possibly down to steering whilst staionary (or maybe just rubbish roads!) - I don't do it if I can avoid it: it used to make the aux belt slip on my last car, indicating the load put on the PAS system.

The 2CV steering was highly amusing as the car moved across - the angle of the wheel from outside was best though - looked like it was about to fall off! CXs with DIRAVI were even better though - let go of the steering wheel on lock with the engine running and it would self centre - even when standing still.
--
RichardW

Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Steering while stationary - Hamsafar
The wheels don't just tilt on their axis, they are shuffled too fore and aft within the wheel arch too. If you sit stationary with your footbrake on, the forces are tremendous.
Steering while stationary - Brian Tryzers
>...getting into a space less than a foot longer than your car...

Crikey, Lud - can you really do that? Just please don't do it anywhere near mine. }:---¦ (That's a wildebeest clenching his buttocks, by the way.) Even a car 13 ft long by 5'6" wide has a diagonal measurement of about 14'1", so I reckon you'll need more than that to get in without touching anything.

As an aside to all this, the Independent some years ago ran a supplement that professed to offer inside knowledge on all those things you'd envied other people's ability to do. One was parallel parking, to which I eagerly turned. It began: First choose a space at least half as long again as your car. I could have wept!
Steering while stationary - Lud
>...getting into a space less than a foot longer than your car...


Although some cars are genuinely rectangular in plan - old Volvos spring to mind - most are not, but have rounded-off corners. This makes it possible with a bit of nudging and shunting and abuse of the steering components and tyres to squeeze your car into the space, leaving no more than two or three other cars with serious body damage although slight cosmetic foxing may be visible for a radius of a mile or so from the incident.

Where do you park Wildebeest? I'll give it a try :o)
Steering while stationary - Cliff Pope
Rounded off corners might help, but it is theoreticaly possible to get into any space that is longer than the car, if you have the patience and don't care about any wear.
Stop with the rear bumper level with the start of the space, go full lock, forward half the distance, full opposite lock, forwards, stop. Full opposite lock, reverse half the distance, full opposite lock, full other lock, stop. Carried on ad infinitum, each manoeuvre leaves you parallel to the kerb but a bit closer in. Even if you only gain half an inch every time, it can be done eventually.
That's without touching the other cars. Of course as a Luddite it's much easier if you don't mind a bit of smashing.
Steering while stationary - billy25
>>it is theoreticaly possible to get into any space that is longer than the car<<

Twas the original reason bumpers were fitted, used to be quite acceptable to "nudge" the car infront or behind to assist parking.

Billy
Steering while stationary - FotheringtonThomas
Twas the original reason bumpers were fitted used to be quite acceptable to "nudge" the
car infront or behind to assist parking.


I don't think that's true, and I don't think it ever was.
Steering while stationary - Lud
used to be quite acceptable to "nudge" the
car infront or behind to assist parking.
FT has already disagreed with you billy, and I do believe you will be receiving death threats or similar from various people including a moderator for suggesting that car bumpers sometimes touch without causing expensive damage.


Of course this is partly the fault of manufacturers who put expensive cosmetic panels on the ends of their cars instead of bumpers. Owners unaccountably see these as bumpers, but bumpers that can't be used for bumping because they are so naff and expensive. They get nasty with other drivers in general instead of giving the manufacturer an earful.

It isn't a question of period, it's a question of place. If you really, really care about not having your bumpers nudged, it is quite important to avoid parking on the street in any large town.
Steering while stationary - FotheringtonThomas
suggesting that car
bumpers sometimes touch without causing expensive damage.


Of course they can, that's not in question. I do however question that it's OK to shunt other cars while parking. I've only seen one person do this, an old git in the High Street, so it's not common behaviour.

Of course this is partly the fault of manufacturers who put expensive cosmetic panels on
the ends of their cars instead of bumpers.


There are safety reasons for bumpers which deform easily, as you should know (I assume you do in fact know this), and consumer demand for "painted" bumpers.

Owners [...]
get nasty with other drivers in general instead of giving the manufacturer an earful.


The manufacturer is bound by other concerns, including legal necessity.

If you really really
care about not having your bumpers nudged it is quite important to avoid parking on
the street in any large town.


It's quite important that people can drive reasonably well and considerately.
Steering while stationary - Big Bad Dave
"but it is theoreticaly possible to get into any space that is longer than the car"

Likewise it's theoretically possible to turn a car around in any road that is wider than the car is long - see Austin Powers turning the Mini Moke round in one of those movies
Steering while stationary - madf
As this is turning into an old man's thread:-), as a student I drove a series of Rovers : 16, 75,110 all of which were cheap (under £100) and offered a lot of comfortable car for the money (and a bench seat in the front in the 75/100:-)

Significantly none had power steering. I also weightlifted (seriously). Turning when starting and parking was a real pia. Indeed the 16 which had beam axles and leaf springs put huge loads on the steering box but as the tyres were narrow they tended to move first. The 75 /110 had wider tyres and were equally as demanding.

I drove another in the 1970s ... and the steering was as heavy as an MGB.

Diabolical in town. I could not drive them now..
madf
Steering while stationary - Cliff Pope
Likewise it's theoretically possible to turn a car around in any road that is wider
than the car is long - see Austin Powers turning the Mini Moke round in
one of those movies


I don't think that is quite true, if you mean the space between brick walls. The diagonal would be the limiting factor.
But if measured between kerbs, then the car could be longer than the width of the road.
Steering while stationary - nb857
Cars are very, very light. I cannot believe that operating the power steering (ie using it for what it is intended to do) while the car is stationary while have any ill effects what soever. That is unless the steering componants are made of plastercene.
Steering while stationary - DrS
Have to disagree with you on this point, nb.
I once had one roll over my toes, and I can confirm that it was actually very very heavy.
Are you just trying to wind people up, or what?
Steering while stationary - nb857
Have to disagree with you on this point nb.
I once had one roll over my toes and I can confirm that it was
actually very very heavy.
Are you just trying to wind people up or what?


My car weighs 1200kg. My company vehicle carrys 649kg of ballast on the front axle and is not over ballasted.

cars get parked in tight spaces and it is not unreasonable to expect drivers to turn the wheel while the vehicle is stationary. Now, for what duration of time is a car having it's wheels turned while it is stationary over it's life time, a couple of minutes? Watch a backhoe/ loader (JCB) working with the front bucket. It will be turning with the front axle carrying it's capacity and turning in soft gound for hours at a time and will be expected to do so with minimum maintainace for many years.

If I was concerned that my car was incapable of being turned while not moving when required I would have bought something else.

Steering while stationary - bell boy
are you seriously comparing a jcb and its hydraulics with a power steering rack on a car? nb857
Steering while stationary - nb857
are you seriously comparing a jcb and its hydraulics with a power steering rack on
a car? nb857


What I am saying is cars are very light and the steering rack should be well within it's limitations to turn a light machine on hard ground once in a while.

Using the JCB as an example I am saying that in the grand scheme of things cars are VERY VERY light and really get an easy ride.

Steering while stationary - L'escargot
I cannot believe that operating the power steering (ie using
it for what it is intended to do) while the car is stationary while have
any ill effects what soever.


I still think that the fact that it causes the surface of tarmac to be scrubbed off indicates the abnormally high load that it transmits through the steering linkages.
--
L\'escargot.
Steering while stationary - nb857
I still think that the fact that it causes the surface of tarmac to be
scrubbed off indicates the abnormally high load that it transmits through the steering linkages.


We have an 18 tonne (little 'un) truck at work that broke the concrete where the driver has to turn his front wheels to get it parked. The steering is fine. The concrete has been dug out and replaced with reinforced...
Steering while stationary - Chris White
We use a Suzuki Super Carry as the work van and, as was demonstrated by Top Gear you can stick your head out the drivers windows and see where the front of the van is (they also demonstrated how unstable the thing is but that's another story).

I've managed to park neatly in space about 1.5feet longer than the van without much hassle.

Chris
Steering while stationary - storme
if u steer without moving, surely that puts loads of pressure on the steering rack etc??
.
Steering while stationary - Cliff Pope
No one disputes that it puts loads of pressure on the steering components. The point is a) that that pressure is well within the system's capabilities, having probably been designed that way, and b) if used only when really necessary it won't be significant anyway.

Much worse than simply turning the steering while stationary is forcing a wheel up against a kerb, or keeping it on full lock with the pump straining and the belt shrieking in protest.
Steering while stationary - L'escargot
........ having probably been designed
that way .........


Better to be safe than sorry is my maxim. I try to give everything an easy time. I even press in the button before putting the handbrake on to prevent wearing the ratchet unnecessarily.
However, chacun a son gout.
--
L\'escargot.
 

Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car