We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Pitman Arm?

By Paul Scott
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Pitman arm is the steering box transfer linkage in a Pitman type vehicle steering mechanism. It is the component in the system which translates the radial motion of the steering column or shaft into the linear motion to turn the wheels. The Pitman arm is the first of three angular rotation linkages that transfer the steering box inputs to the track rod which in turn moves the left and right tie rods and their respective wheels. The other two linkages are the idler arms which are attached to the ends of the track rod as stabilizers. The Pitman arm is a crucial part of a vehicle's steering system and, when worn or damaged, can cause potentially catastrophic loss of steering control.

Pitman steering systems are most commonly found on older vehicles and heavy trucks. Most newer models feature variations of rack and pinion type steering mechanisms. The Pitman system is, however, robust and reliable when maintained correctly. These systems typically consist of a rod that runs from the steering wheel, through the forward firewall, and into the engine compartment. Here it enters a steering box where the axis of its movement is turned at 90 degrees to drive a short transfer shaft by means of a worm gear and nut or roller arrangement.

The Pitman arm is a flat, off-set lever which is attached to the transfer shaft at one end and a ball joint on its other. A linkage arm attaches to this ball joint and a similar joint on the track rod. The track rod is, in turn, attached with ball joints to a set of tie rods on either end. The tie rods then connect to the wheels via articulated steering arms. When the steering wheel is turned, the shaft moves the Pitman arm through a short arc which then pulls the track rod to the left or right.

When the track rod moves, so do the tie rod/steering arm assemblies which cause both wheels to turn in the same direction and steer the vehicle. The track rod is also supported at either end by a pair of idler arms which keep the track/tie rod assembly stable and at the correct height. The Pitman arm thus represents the main actuator for the linear steering movement in Pitman steering systems. It then goes without saying that a worn or damaged Pitman arm will cause a loss of steering sensitivity or worse, i.e., a total loss of directional control over the vehicle. This makes the regular inspection and maintenance of this critical linkage a must for any vehicle maintenance regimen.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.