What Happens When Rack and Pinion Goes Out?

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The worst thing to experience while driving is to lose control of your car. This typically happens when parts of your steering system become loose. For instance, your rack and pinion. These two components are regarded as the heart of the steering wheel system. When they perform defectively, it can spell trouble and make your steering faulty and unreliable—this is what happens when the rack and pinion goes out.

It is advised not to drive in this condition. So to help you steer away (pun unintended) from the problems this erratic setup could trigger, we’re listing down bad rack and pinion symptoms you should be aware of.

Loose or Tight Steering

Let’s start with the rack. A malfunctioning rack can cause your steering to either be loose or tight. If there’s heat build-up on the steering column, the tendency is for it to become harder to steer. On the other hand, the steering column tends to be loose when your wheels are badly aligned with your failing rack, thus making it shake and swerve to the left or right even when you’re driving a straight course.

Fluid from the Steering Rack Leak

Another symptom is a leaking steering fluid. If you notice that you have to constantly top off your steering fluid, chances are, it is dripping at the wrong places (check the ground for traces). Remember not to confuse the steering fluid with other fluids in your car. It’s the one that’s pinkish red.

Tires Wobble

Do you suspect your steering column to be getting out of alignment? That’s one more indicator of a steering system gone bad. When this happens, tire control will be rough, resulting in shaky wheels and uneven wear and tear on the tires themselves.


Usually, the steering wheel will make noises when something’s wrong it. When you turn it and you hear clunking, grinding, or thudding, that could mean your steering components are starting to get loose.

If you encounter most of the above situations, it’s a must for you to go to your trusted mechanic and have your vehicle checked immediately. Again, it is not advised to continue driving with faulty rack and pinion. Your best option is to replace them.

The average cost of replacement parts is between $700 and $2,000. Meanwhile, rack and pinion labor cost is estimated at $200, which can go up to $500, which means your expenses will surely soar!

But no need to worry because you can still save money by buying your replacement parts online. This is where CarParts.com can help you.

Check out high-quality parts sold at competitive prices in our shop. Find the best steering rack replacements here.

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