The steering rack does what its name suggests; it steers the wheels in the direction you turn the steering wheel. Geographically, it’s located at the front of the vehicle, and it looks like a long metal tube. If it malfunctions, it will affect your drivability because you won’t be able to steer the car effectively in the direction you need to go.
Not to mention that a faulty steering rack can cause damage to other car parts, leading to an expensive repair in the process. So, it’s better to repair/replace the steering rack at the earliest to prevent it from causing harm to other vital car parts.
How Much Will I Pay For Steering Rack Replacement?
For most cars out there, the steering rack replacement cost can be expected to be around $600 to $1500. The labor cost will most likely be between $150 to $400, and the part would cost between $325 to $1000.
Needless to say, expensive cars will bear expensive parts, which is to say that luxury or sports car owners should be prepared to spend more than usual for steering rack replacement. The good news is that power steering racks usually last for a car’s lifetime in most cases. So, it’s not going to be a frequent or recurrent expense for you.
Important Pointers: Make sure that your car is attended by trusted and experienced car technicians who are able to quickly find faults in the car’s steering system. Plus, they should be able to find and fit the necessary parts, which can stand the test of time. Of course, their pricing should be fair as well.
Causes of Steering Rack Failure:
Made from steel, the steering rack is a pretty strong car component. However, it’s exposed to a lot of elements that can cause it to go bad at some point. For instance, it’s exposed to high temperatures due to its location. Not to mention that constant hits from road bumps can damage some of its internal parts, causing it to leak.
The worst part is that there’s not a lot you can do to prevent it from going bad. However, it’s important that you keep changing the power steering fluid whenever it’s due for a change so that the steering rack lasts long.
Signs of a Failing Steering Rack:
How will you know if there is a problem with the steering rack? If your car is experiencing one or more of the symptoms discussed below, the chances are that your steering rack has malfunctioned.
- A faulty steering rack can cause power steering fluid to leak from underneath the car.
- You will also find it difficult to turn the car, which can, of course, compromise your safety.
- The steering wheel would feel unusually light. You will notice that it’s hardly making any effort to move the steering, which signifies a weak connection.
- A worn or damaged steering rack will also result in strange noises coming from the steering system.
Should I Repair or Replace the Steering Rack?
Frankly speaking, the steering rack is usually not repaired. The fact of the matter is that it may not be repairable in some cases. Whether it’s repairable or not, the mechanic will still suggest you to replace the old rack and not repair the existing one.
This is because it will prove to be a cheaper affair in the long run from the standpoint of both time and labor. Believe it or not, the chances are that the repair cost might exceed the price of a new steering rack. Not to mention that repairing the existing rack might require you to come back to the shop for additional repair sooner or later.
The shop may not have the time or desire to repair a damaged steering rack. For all these reasons, it’s better to get the steering rack replaced.
Steering Rack Replacement Procedure Explained:
Steering rack replacement is not a very physically demanding activity. But then, you need to carry out the required steps correctly so that the repair/part lasts long. Also, you should bear in mind that the steering rack replacement procedure may vary from one car to another.
In some cars, you may have to remove the front subframe or the driveshaft. In others, the steering rack can be easily removed from the car’s chassis, requiring less labor in the process. So, the labor cost will vary based on the amount of labor required for the work.
Your best bet would be to have a word with the mechanic to find out the expected duration, cost, and the kind of work involved in the process.
As far as the steering rack replacement procedure goes, the mechanic will first locate the steering rack and drain the entire power steering fluid from it. Once the fluid is drained, he will remove the hoses and outer tie rods from the steering knuckles. Then, the electric connections and the steering rack will be removed.
The new steering rack will be fitted in place of the old one. Of course, all the components that were unbolted will be put back in their respective place. Finally, the car technician will refill the power steering fluid, and take the vehicle out for a road test.
Needless to say, the sooner you get the part replaced, the better you will be able to protect your car from further damage.
How to Save Money on Steering Rack Replacement Cost?
You can save the labor cost by performing the job yourself. As hinted earlier, it’s not a very complex procedure. Of course, a person with zero prior experience may not be the right candidate to do this job. You should have some mechanic background or experience to perform this kind of repair or else you might cause more problems.
If you don’t have any prior mechanical experience, you can still save some money by comparing prices from different mechanics in your area. By comparing prices, you can choose someone who provides the best price for this job.
Basically, it helps to look around if you want to secure the best deal.