Fixing a Leaking Power Steering Rack

Rack and pinion steering systems are often used in sports cars and other vehicles that are low riding or have limited space in the front of the vehicle. They’re relatively compact and don’t require complex linkages like the steering gear systems found in most trucks.

How It Works

The pinion is simply a small gear at the end of your steering column that rotates as you turn your steering wheel. The pinion rests on the rack, a flat gear, that meshes it’s teeth with the pinions as it rotates. This pushes the wheels le

The rack and pinion set up is used to transfer the rotary motion of your steering wheel into the linear motion of the tie rods. The tie rods then push the steering knuckle, which causes your front wheels to turn. To get a better idea of what a rack and pinion looks like, check out this article on how rack and pinions work.

Common Problems

They’re great in terms of the design but not so much in the way of repair. Steering systems, like any high-pressure hydraulic system, can be prone to leaks. Most leaks occur at one of the three seals- one where your steering column enters the rack and pinion assembly, then a seal where each tie rod attaches. This is typically due to dryness, shrinking, or misalignment. It’s also possible that one of the hoses in your power steering system can develop a leak at a connection point, as the rubber ages and begins to crack.

Investigating a leak in a rack and pinion steering system can be tricky depending on how low your car rides. The rack and pinion should be one of the lowest components on your vehicle and will likely be just under your engine’s oil pan so it’s tough to check without a jack and jack stands, or a ramp.

While there are some “power steering stop leaks” products on the market, these only provide a temporary solution and will remain in your system until your next scheduled power steering flush. This can put you in a dangerous position, and potentially cost you more money long term, should you break down. The reason rack and pinion leaks are so expensive to repair is that the seals are not often serviceable, even by a mechanic. As such, most leaks require the entire assembly to be replaced to ensure that the system works properly and peripheral parts are not damaged.

At V&F

Service may be more expensive than a YouTube DIY, but the fix will be long lasting and you know we’ll get the job done right. At V&F, our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange

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