Detecting Problems in a Pontiac Montana Steering Rack
The steering rack in your car's rack-and-pinion steering system can last up to 150,000 miles. However, wear and tear due to continuous vehicle usage may shorten its lifespan. When you notice that your car doesn't naturally drive in a straight line, it's important that you start inspecting for damage immediately. Below are some of the common steering rack problems and their corresponding detection tips.
Steering wheel vibration
Your steering wheel may vibrate while you're driving at 40 mph and above. To verify if your steering rack is the one causing the vibration, go out for a test drive. If the steering wheel vibrates as you drive, then it's probably time to replace your steering rack. But if the steering wheel vibrates only when you brake, then it might be caused by a warped rotor, and not a worn steering rack.
Steering stutter or stiffness
A difficulty in steering may be caused by a leaking power steering rack. To check for leaks, inspect your Pontiac Montana steering rack. Look for visual signs of damage such as cracks and holes. If upon inspection, you find the power steering rack to be punctured or damaged, replace the rack immediately.
Grinding noise when turning
Listen for thudding, clunking, or grinding noises as you drive. These sounds are common signs of steering rack damage according to The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Confirm steering rack damage by jacking the car up and getting the tire off the ground. Shake the tire with one hand on the tire's top and the other at the bottom. A damaged steering rack will produce clunking or clicking sounds when you shake the tire off the ground.
Car pulling to one side
Observe the feel of the steering wheel while driving. One sign of a worn steering rack is when you feel looseness or slippage in the steering wheel. This may cause the car to excessively pull to one side or the other. Monitor the steering wheel continuously as you drive. If it doesn't automatically correct itself after making a turn, then you may need to check the steering rack and repair or replace it.
Steer-riffic Driving: Tips on Keeping Your Pontiac Montana Steering Rack in Top Condition
As an important part of the rack-and-pinion steering system, your car's steering rack needs to be taken care of just like any other car parts. There are a number of ways to avoid premature wear and tear in your vehicle's the steering rack. Aside from prolonging the rack's life, maintaining the steering rack in its best condition keeps your driving experience smooth and hassle-free. Here are a few tips on keeping your Pontiac Montana steering rack in optimum condition:
- Exercise precaution when installing the steering rack. Though not all car manuals state this, it is important to unplug the battery cables and clamp the steering wheel so that the wheels are kept at straight center. Aside from giving you the ease of raising and supporting the car's front end, it also ensures that the wheels don't get misaligned and unbalanced. Moreover, doing this keeps the steering rack from getting damaged during the installation process.
- Schedule a periodic inspection of the steering rack. Your car's steering rack needs regular checkup in order to keep it in top condition. To inspect the steering rack, ask a friend to shake the steering wheel while you check for play or looseness. Another way to test the health of the steering rack is to use the dry park method. This means rocking the steering back and forth. Any wobble would indicate that the steering rack needs to be repaired or replaced.
- Keep the steering rack clean. The rack-and-pinion steering system gets covered with a lot of grease due to its continuous movement. The grease that accumulates tends to pick up dirt and debris naturally. Spray only a high-quality degreaser directly on the rack-and-pinion steering components. Rinse it off by hosing the parts with clean water. If the steering system is covered with severe dirt and grime, you can try using a stiff-bristled brush. Gently scrub off the unwanted pieces, taking adequate caution while brushing.
Other maintenance tips Due to continuous vehicle usage, the seals in the steering system may get worn, causing minor steering rack leaks. To prevent this, check the seals regularly and look for signs of wear and damage such as brittleness and shrinking. You may use a power steering stop-leak product. This softens and swells the seals in order to fix the leak.