You know that feeling when you sit on the driver's seat of your car and grab the steering wheel. You feel so at home like someone who has a romantic relationship with the wheel. Do you think you would feel the same way if the steering wheel is square shaped or triangular? Will it be easy for you to turn or control if it was rectangular? Apparently not. But we won't want to dwell based on how the circular steering wheel feel.
Let's look at the mechanical ideas behind it. If you have figured why your tyres are circle then why steering wheels are circle in shape should work with the same mechanism. But Naijauto will be giving you a better explanation with this article to give you a better understanding.
1. The user interface is better
It might shock you to know that the first steering wheel ever made wasn't circle, it was a lever. It actually looked like your typical gear stick. You didn't have to turn it for your car to go left or right. All you needed to do is to shift the lever to the side you want your car to go. Funny enough, it was so cool to use at the time. Even though it was meticulous and very detailed, it was really easy to use. Where the steering lever didn't do well is in terms of reversing the vehicle and parking. Once you move it too much it might overdo the command. Now that's where the circle steering wheel comes in.
Just grab your steering wheel, you feel at home!
It's easy to calculate your angle or turning, parking and reverse with the circular wheel. It's worth to note that there are actually some cars that don't have circle steering wheels. Oh, its definitely not triangular either. If you watch Formula One races, you notice their steering wheels are like a half or flat circle with a rectangular look. This is because that shape makes it easy for them control while forging forward.
Racers don't need to reverse or park their sports cars so they don't need the user interface of the circular wheel or the comfort it brings. In fact, a lot of car experts argue that this comfort is the major reason steering wheels were made to be circular eventually. Keep in mind also, that the circular steering wheel is also less expensive than what you find in these racing cars.
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2. It grips the rotating shaft better
In your car, there is a rotating shaft that is attached to the steering. This rotating shaft is actually what makes the steering wheel turn better and the wheels to respond rightly. With the steering wheel being circle in shape, it grips the shaft perfectly for smooth movement. This is why when you are turning the steering wheel as your vehicle takes a sharp bend, the wheels of your car can keep rotating and turning to all the angles you can turn them to.
This is also applicable for when you wish to make a U-turn. The circle steering wheel makes it easy. Furthermore, you arms won't feel any strain while you're turning because it is fine with the round shape. But the bends on a square steering wheel (if there's ever any) can stress you a lot. Asides, the affordability and comfort that the circle steering wheel offers, you also have a better rotating shaft.
A circle shape is obviously more uniform that another. If you even compare with a square, it's likely to be heavier at the edges. This is why the steering wheel is circle. The sides are all evenly spread out and they sit just right at the spot where the wheel is located. You also will testify that the symmetry is better as well. The weight of another steering wheel shape would have made handling more difficult.
Still on uniformity, it also makes it easy for you to maintain and clean the steering wheel. If we still had those shift sticks as steering, you won't be able to easily clean it. This applies to when you want to also wear your steering wheel a cover. Wearing that over a stick steering or triangle steering will look really awkward.
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Despite innovative modifications on latest concepts, the steering wheel remains circle in shape
That said, you can tell that truly, the major reason steering wheels are circle in shape is for aesthetics and better user experience. By the way, would you have enjoyed shifting two sticks in a manual transmission car? You'll likely make a mistake with one and end up in an accident. Besides, you'll also have two transmissions to now worry about instead of one. Let's not forget that the circle shaped steering wheel also takes less space in the cabin and is less likely to cause harm if your body hits it at the side.