Often referred to as the ‘steering rack,’ the rack and pinion are quickly becoming the most commonly used steering system in modern-day cars. Compared to a standard steering system, the rack and pinion steering system is highly responsive and much easier to control. It also has fewer parts to it, which reduces the overall weight of the vehicle.
For those who don’t know, the rack and pinion steering do two main things:
- It transfers the rotational motion from the steering wheel into linear motion to turn the wheels.
- It facilitates gear reduction, making it easier than usual to turn the vehicle’s wheels.
Just like other car parts, it can wear off occasionally, especially on high-mileage cars. Sometimes, it can leak as well. In any of the above scenarios, it’s suggested to fix the issue at the earliest to avoid serious jerks when driving.
What Are the Benefits of Rack and Pinion Steering System?
The rack and pinion steering system provide a better ‘road feel’ than usual, which makes driving a lot more fun. Also, it has fewer moving parts to it, so it’s repairable by trained personnel.
Since it’s commonly used in most cars these days, most mechanics are familiar with the inner workings of a rack and pinion steering system, enabling them to work on it without any fuss.
In other words, you won’t have to hire a specialist for the repair job. Your regular car mechanic will be able to fix the issue for you.
What Is The Average Price Of Rack and Pinion Replacement?
Like all other repairs, you will be paying both for the labor and the parts. The cost of the part will depend on the vehicle in question. If you own a mass-market car, you won’t have to drop a lot of money to acquire the part. If you own an exotic car, the part will cost you a lot more.
Of course, the labor cost will also shoot up. In general, the labor cost is high because it takes around 3 to 4 hours of work to fix the issue. Occasionally, it can take more time. With parts and labor included, you can expect to spend anywhere between $400 to $1800. The replacement part will typically sell for $200 to $1200.
|Mr. Tire||$600 – $1800
|Walmart||$200 – $650
|Midas||$420 – $1500
|Your Mechanic||$500 – $1650
The rest of the invoice amount will go towards the sweat equity.
When to Replace the Rack and Pinion Steering?
If you encounter these hiccups when turning the wheels, the chances are that the rack and pinion steering need a replacement.
- Reduced wheel turning ability
- Lots of jerks when driving
- Difficulty in maneuvering
- Lots of noise when riding over bumps
- Lots of noise when turning
In a worst-case scenario, the steering will stop working entirely, restricting your ability to turn the vehicle to the left or right. In other words, the car may not be in a drive-worthy condition. Of course, a repair shop will perform many diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of the issue before commencing the work.
If the rack and pinion steering are at fault, the mechanic will mostly suggest that you replace it.
Rack and Pinion Replacement Procedure Explained:
Replacing the rack and pinion steering system is not a beginner’s job. Even folks with intermediate skills may find a job of this nature a bit intimidating. In other words, your car will be best served by an experienced car technician when faced with the need for rack and pinion replacement.
If you think that you can handle the task on your own, then be prepared with wheel blocks and jack and jack stands to keep your car secure when working on it. After all, you will be working underneath the car.
For added safety, you might also need a belt to ensure that the wheels don’t move during the repair.
Having said that, let’s move on to the steps for rack and pinion replacement:
- You will begin by removing the front wheels and the universal joint coupler (from the pinion shaft).
- Then, you will disconnect the power steering lines from the rack. Next, you will separate the tie rod ends.
- The next step would involve removing the bolts from the rack and pinion brackets. Then, the assembly will be taken off through the wheel well.
- At this point, you will fit the new unit and revere the removal steps to complete the procedure.
- Of course, you will have to bleed the air from the power steering system and top off the fluid as per the car manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Once everything is done, you will test the installation by turning the wheel completely from lock to lock.
- Finally, an alignment will be conducted to ensure that all the alignment angles are correct.
How to Save Money on Rack and Pinion Replacement?
As described earlier, changing the rack and pinion steering system shouldn’t be attempted by a novice driver. Also, keep in mind that replacing this type of steering system is usually cheaper than repairing it.
Most of the experienced mechanics will suggest the same because of the time and costs that go into repairing the rack and pinion steering system. To save money, you can also obtain quotes from local garages over the phone or by visiting them personally.
Of course, settle for the best deal after comparing the prices obtained from them. That said, make sure to choose a reputable garage. After all, low-quality work will cost you more in the long run.