5 Most Common Signs of a Bad Steering Rack and Pinion Mechanism


The Rack and Pinion installed in the steering system of your car is a highly sensitive part, one that is responsible for the actual to and fro motion you get when turning the steering wheel. The pinion converts the rotary motion of the steering wheel into right or left motion of the wheels through the rack. The same condition applies even for vehicles equipped with a power steering mechanism, the only difference being an electric motor or a hydraulic pump attached to the rack for less effort on the driver. With consistent operation, steering rack and pinion mechanisms are likely to wear and cause the steering ability of the vehicle to drop down marginally over time. However, there are many factors that affect the steering ability, including the wheels, brakes and other linkages. If your vehicle steering is responding ineffectively, and if you’re suspecting the rack and pinion to be the problem, make sure you know the signs that eventually lead to its failure. Keep an eye on the common signs of rack and pinion failure mentioned below, and replace it when needed.

Loose Steering

When the Rack and Pinion wear out, they have trouble engaging the teeth effectively, leading to a loose-feeling steering wheel. When steering becomes loose, it cannot return to its original position when turned. If this is the case with your car, the rack and pinion might be the cause.

Steering Wander

If your vehicle is dragging towards one side while moving straight or if the steering wheel becomes hard to turn back after taking a turn, the rack and pinion is a probable cause. Due to increased friction between the pinion and rack, more force applied will be required on the steering wheel.

Noisy Steering

If the rack and pinion becomes loose, it is likely to develop strange knocking or clunking sounds. If your vehicle makes these kinds of noises persistently while you drive, you should immediately look for rack and pinion wear and replace the unit as soon as possible.

Steering Fluid Leaks

Another reason for the rack and pinion to go bad could be leaking fluid, which clearly indicates that something inside the system has gone wrong. A leak of steering fluid will definitely cause the steering efficiency to decrease.

Uneven Tire Wear

A faulty rack and pinion will distribute the steering power unevenly to the steering wheels and as a result, the tires will wear unevenly, instead of wearing uniformly. Although this doesn’t always mean that rack and pinion unit is responsible for the wear, it is still a good idea to inspect the unit once you note uneven tire wear.

Looking for these signs can help plan for Steering Rack And Pinion replacement. If you notice such problems, it is vital that you replace the mechanism at your earliest convenience. You can always find the best replacement rack and pinions from the links below-

Acura Rack and Pinion
BMW Rack and Pinion
Chevrolet Rack and Pinion
Ford Rack and Pinion