What is a steering rack?
A steering rack is a solid metal part that connects to your wheels and allows them to move when you turn the steering wheel. Since the steering rack is connected to the car wheels, when it moves left or right, so will the wheels.
Steering rack replacement costs
The average cost to replace a steering rack is between £300 and £500 based on WhoCanFixMyCar data. Compare steering rack replacement and repair quotes from garages near you.
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The average cost of a steering rack repair booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £352.84. A steering rack is an integral part of your car’s suspension system that helps convert the rotation movement of the steering wheel into linear movement for the car wheels. If you’re struggling to steer properly, you may need a steering rack repair.Can include
- Inspection and diagnosis
- Steering rack repair
- Steering rack replacement
The average cost of a car diagnostic booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £48.
Car diagnostics testing involves plugging your vehicle into special software that can reveal issues with its engine, electrical system, transmission, braking, exhaust system, and more. A specialist will run tests on your vehicle to expose the cause of any problems you're having with your car.Can include
- Full diagnostic testing
- Recommended repairs
Power steering repairs
The average cost of a power steering repair booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £97.11.
Power steering fluid helps with smooth and safe steering. After a while, the fluid can become contaminated or start to leak. A leak will need to be repaired and dirty fluid replaced to keep your car’s power steering working correctly.Can include
- Power steering repair
- Power steering fluid flush
- Power steering fluid change
Which steering rack service do you need?
Your steering rack is a crucial part of the steering system in your car. A car with a damaged, faulty or failing steering rack will not be safe to drive. It means you may lose partial or complete control of the car’s steering wheel which can lead to severe accidents. It’s best to have any problems with the steering rack checked as soon as possible.
The service you need from a garage in relation to a steering rack will differ depending on the type of steering rack your car has.
Steering fault diagnostic
Steering fault diagnostics is specifically carried out by garage technicians to find out the main causes of knocking, stiffness and general faults associated with the steering mechanism.
Most likely, the garage technician will look at the joins and mounting components, the tie rods, the rack itself and the column. They may even check your Electronic Control Unit if you are driving a car with electronic powered steering.
Steering rack replacement
It's best to replace a faulty steering rack rather than repair it. This is because the cost of a replacement steering rack will be significantly cheaper than repairing it in some cases. Often, this is the case when numerous components of the steering rack are damaged and therefore the cost of repairing those parts will be more than the replacement. One such example of this is if the steering rack is leaking and oil is seeping out from several places, rather than just one small place. Rather than dismantling the whole steering rack system which takes considerable time, it might be better to replace it, as it will be cheaper to do.
Steering rack fluid leak repair
A steering rack fluid leak problem happens only to hydraulic power steering racks because non-power assisted steering racks and electric power steering racks do not require any power steering fluid.
The easiest way to check the level of fluid is to look at your steering fluid reservoir. Is it within the optimal fluid level as recommended by the car manufacturer? If it’s not within the minimum and maximum level indicator on the reservoir then it will need to be examined by a technician.
Steering rack repair
If you are experiencing steering rack problems and take your car into a garage for a diagnostic test, they may suggest parts of the steering rack need to be replaced or repaired. The garage will advise you further on the repair they would recommend for your vehicle model.
Damaged tie rods
You may simply need tie rods replacing. Tie rods are directly joined to the power steering rack. They wear quite often and need to be replaced around the 75,000-100,000 mile mark. The technician will check both the inner tie rods and outer tie rods for excessive wear. If they think they have worn down, they will recommend that you have them replaced.
It is common for owners to think that they have a bad steering rack when, in actual fact, the tie rods are the issue which is far more affordable than having to replace the entire steering rack.
Symptoms that your steering rack needs to be replaced
Steering wheel vibration
Unresponsive steering wheel
Unevenly worn tyres
Knocking or clunking in the steering
Tight or stiff steering wheel
A smell that resembles burning oil coming from your vehicle
Steering wheel not returning to its original position after turning
Common steering rack problems
Dirty steering fluid
Many cars on the road today drive with power steering systems. These cars need power steering fluid, which helps to move the steering rack, and acts as a lubricant and coolant. However, as time passes, the steering fluid may accumulate dirt and debris causing a hindrance in the performance of the steering rack.
A fluid leak is generally noticeable as a red/brown puddle beneath your car. Again, check your power steering fluid level to see if it is at its optimum. Steering racks usually develop leaks at the place where they are connected to the tie rods.
Steering dead spot
As the steering rack gears correspond to your steering wheel’s neutral position most frequently, it is not surprising that a common problem with the steering rack is a dead spot right in the centre position.
Is a steering rack replacement necessary?
Developing steering rack problems and not being able to properly guide your car in the direction it should go is not something you can ignore. A faulty steering rack can pose a risk to your safety and others on the road, as it limits your car’s manoeuvrability.
A faulty steering wheel should either be repaired or replaced immediately, as the longer you leave it to chance, other components of your steering system may become damaged, leading to more expensive repairs.
Find local garages to get your steering rack fixed
Looking for car steering rack replacement or repair specialists near you? Find car garages who can fix your steering rack problems with WhoCanFixMyCar.
With us, you can compare several garage quotes for steering rack repairs or replacement before committing. You can also read reviews from previous customers.
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What does the steering rack do?
The steering rack is situated in the front of your car and is a system of parts which converts the turning movement of the steering wheel into a longitudinal movement of the tie rods. These, in turn, are attached to the wheel, helping the vehicle move from left to right as you steer.
What are signs of a steering rack failure?
Failure of the steering rack could be due to mechanical damage or due to a leak. Some warning signs to look out for include:
Clunking, hammering or cracking noise when steering
Stiff steering wheel
Oil puddle under the car
It is more difficult to drive in a straight line
One side of your steering wheel is more responsive than the other
The steering wheel vibrates
Take your car to a local garage as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms.
Can I still drive with a faulty steering rack?
No - absolutely not. It can lead to fatal accidents as you have less control over your car and its mobility. At the first sign of a faulty steering rack, you must book into a garage.
How long does steering rack replacement take?
Dismantling and installing a steering rack can be very labor intensive, (between 5-8 hours is a general guideline) which is why it is not uncommon for the garage to keep your car in their workshop for one or two full days.
Is replacing the steering rack part of warranty?
Some comprehensive warranty plans may cover the steering rack as part of the warranty, but in our experience, it is not a common part to see in your warranty cover.
Are steering rack replacements covered by insurance?
Replacement of the steering rack due to normal wear and tear of the car is not covered under a standard plan.
How much does steering rack replacement cost?
From our experience, and quotes from garages on WhoCanFixMyCar network, steering rack replacements cost between £285 and £529 depending on your car make and model.