What’s In A Steering Column: Heated Steering Wheel

What’s In A Steering Column: Heated Steering Wheel

As vehicles are becoming more advanced, we are finding technology where it never was before. Sometimes it is in plain sight, such as infotainment systems, GPS, and a head-up display. However, sometimes it is concealed in places one may not expect.

Steering columns have gone from a basic shaft used to transfer movement from the steering wheel to the front wheels, to a highly complex part of the vehicle. Today’s steering columns have steering angle sensors, airbags, clock springs, heated steering wheels, and controls for multiple systems. Let’s take a look at heated steering wheels.

While not new, they are becoming more common on a wide range of vehicles. These systems typically consist of a heating element, control switch, temperature sensor, and a control module. These may be separate components or they may be combined. The switch and temperature sensor can be combined in one part or, in some cases, the control module may not be a dedicated unit, but integrated with the heated seat module.

The steering wheel often gets power from the clock spring. In the event of an air bag deployment, there may be damage to the steering wheel connectors or wiring.

Due to the complexity of the system, the functions are computer controlled. This means diagnostics and repairs are more in depth. However, this also means that DTCs may be set if there are any malfunctions. A scan tool may be required to pull these trouble codes and diagnose any issues.

It is important to know if a vehicle is equipped with these features, what parts are used in the system, and where they are located. This will enable you to check for proper operation to ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair.

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