When you get behind the wheel of your car and start driving it around, you spend a lot of time turning your steering wheel to get your car to move in the direction that you want it to go. But you probably don’t put a whole lot of thought into what your car has to do to make it possible for you to make turns, switch lanes, etc. There are, however, a series of parts that work in tandem to ensure that you’re able to turn your steering wheel and control your car’s wheels with it. The rack and pinion steering gear is one of the most important parts in this process. It’s why you should look out for signs of trouble with your rack and pinion system and schedule rack and pinion replacement as necessary. Find out more about what rack and pinion does and how much it’ll cost to replace it below.
What Is a Rack and Pinion?
First things first: Before we can get into talking about how exactly rack and pinion works and what it costs to have rack and pinion replacement done, it’s important for you to know what it is. You may have heard about it before, but there’s a good chance that you don’t know the first thing about it. We’re going to start there when it comes to discussing rack and pinion.
The rack and pinion in your car is a steering gear that is designed to push or pull your wheels in the right direction based on which way you turn your steering wheel. It’s a relatively new car part in the grand scheme of things, and it’s lighter and more versatile than many of its predecessors. It can be either hydraulically or electrically assisted. It’s found in most cars, trucks, and SUVs that are out on the road today.
How Does Rack and Pinion Work?
Now that you know a little bit more about what a rack and pinion actually is, it’s time for us to talk more about how it works. As we mentioned earlier, it plays a very vital role in your car and makes it possible for you to drive your car in the right direction when you’re behind the wheel. Without a fully functioning rack and pinion, you’re going to struggle to get your car to turn the way you want it to.
Your car’s rack and pinion steering gear is situated towards the front of your car in between your two front wheels. It serves as the bridge between these two wheels and your steering wheel. There are inner and outer tie rods that are a part of your rack and pinion system that connect it to the tires on your car. When you move your steering wheel one way or the other, your rack and pinion moves the various components inside of it to one side or the other to push or pull your wheels. By doing this, it helps you to maintain control of your car.
How Long Does Rack and Pinion Last?
Unlike some of the other parts in your car, your rack and pinion is built to last. More often than not, you should be able to squeeze up to 100,000 miles out of it, if not more, before it will need to be replaced. It’s a high-pressure system that will be subjected to a lot of wear and tear on a regular basis, but even still, you shouldn’t have to think about doing rack and pinion replacement under you climb up over the 100,000-mile mark.
That being said, you will want to maintain your rack and pinion and your power steering system as a whole to ensure that you don’t have to do rack and pinion replacement ahead of schedule. You can do this by making sure that you have fresh power steering fluid in your car at all times. You can also do it by eliminating contaminants from your power steering system. You should consult the owner’s manual for your car and follow the maintenance schedule that your car’s manufacturer suggests to keep your rack and pinion in tip-top shape.
How Do You Know If You Need a New Rack and Pinion?
Your rack and pinion is obviously not going to last forever, no matter how hard you work to maintain it. There is going to come a time when your rack and pinion system is going to go on you, and rack and pinion replacement will be your only option. You should look out for any signs of trouble with your rack and pinion so that you know when you need to seriously consider replacing it.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you need to have rack and pinion replacement done is that your power steering fluid will start to leak on you. For those of you who haven’t ever seen a power steering fluid leak, the fluid that comes out of your car will usually be red. This sets it apart from many of the other fluids found in your car and makes it almost impossible to miss.
There are also some other signs that will show you that it’s just about time for rack and pinion replacement. If, for example, your car starts to make a clunking sound almost every time that you turn your steering wheel, that is usually a strong indication that rack and pinion replacement is going to be on the horizon. And in a worst-case scenario, you’ll find that you will have a hard time steering your car when you’re driving it at low speeds when your rack and pinion is on its way out and needs to be replaced.
Generally speaking, you should always take your car in for service if you ever have any trouble steering it. You could need to have rack and pinion replacement done, or you could have another issue with your power steering system that needs to be addressed right away.
Can You Drive With a Rack and Pinion Problem?
When you first recognize that you might need to schedule rack and pinion replacement, you might be tempted to continue to drive around in your car. After all, how much damage could a bad rack and pinion do to your car? In some instances, it won’t do a ton of damage at all. If you only have a small power steering fluid leak, that’s not going to prove to be problematic right away.
But if you have a larger power steering fluid leak, that’s when you’re going to need to worry. You can try to top up your power steering fluid yourself, but a big leak is going to leave you with very little fluid in your system. This could eventually lead to damage being done to your rack and pinion. It can also result in damage to your fuel pump if you’re not careful.
You could also put both yourself and other drivers at risk if you’re unable to steer your car properly due to a bad rack and pinion. You should pull over your car slowly if you’re having steering problems and have it towed to the nearest auto repair shop to see if you need rack and pinion replacement.
What Should You Do When You Have a Bad Rack and Pinion?
If you suspect that you have a bad rack and pinion, you should, as we just alluded to, have your car towed to a mechanic’s shop so that it can looked at. You should either use a mechanic that has worked on your car in the past or look for a mechanic who specializes in working on rack and pinion systems. This will increase your chances of getting a proper diagnosis for your vehicle so that you can do rack and pinion replacement if necessary.
When a mechanic is inspecting your car’s rack and pinion, there are a few repairs that they might suggest. They might tell you that you need to replace your rack and pinion altogether. They might also recommend taking on a smaller job like a tie rod replacement or a steering gearbox replacement. It all depends on what kind of condition your car’s rack and pinion is in.
It’s good for you to know what your mechanic might recommend going in so that you don’t experience any sticker shock when they tell you that you need to have rack and pinion replacement done. It can be a pretty costly repair job that can set you back quite a bit while you’re having your car worked on. But it’s a repair that will need to be made if you plan on continuing to drive your car around like normal.
How Much Does Rack and Pinion Replacement Cost?
Since many people aren’t super familiar with a rack and pinion system and what it does, they don’t have the slightest clue what they might have to pay as far as rack and pinion replacement is concerned. This can, unfortunately, lead to frustration for some people because rack and pinion replacement is one of the costlier auto repair jobs that you’ll face if you ever need to have it done.
The exact price that you’ll pay for rack and pinion replacement is going to vary depending on the make and model of your car, the rack and pinion system that your mechanic installs, and more. But on average, car owners typically pay somewhere between $1,530 and $1,860 for rack and pinion replacement. And there isn’t a whole lot of flexibility on price when you consider that the parts alone can cost upwards of $1,500 in some cases. The labor can also run you up to $400 based on which mechanic you hire to do the job.
Additionally, doing rack and pinion replacement is often a job that’s done in conjunction with other repairs. That means that you could end up paying for rack and pinion replacement and more when everything is all said and done. We don’t say that to scare you, but we do say it to put the potential price associated with rack and pinion replacement on your radar so that it doesn’t catch you off guard. It’s not an auto repair that you should take lightly at all.
Is the Rack and Pinion Replacement Cost Worth It?
By now, you know what it’s going to cost you to have rack and pinion replacement done. And you might be asking yourself whether or not it’s worth paying just under $2,000 to get a new rack and pinion replacement put into your car. That is a question that only you can answer, but you should think about some things before you make the move to do it.
Prior to scheduling rack and pinion replacement, you should look up the value of your car and see what it’s worth at the moment. If it’s only worth a few hundred dollars at most, it might not be worth spending thousands of dollars to fix it, especially when something else could very well go wrong with it next week. It might also not be worth it to fix it if you know that you’re not going to have the car for much longer. The rack and pinion replacement cost isn’t going to do anything to bring the value of your car up.
It will, however, be worth replacing your rack and pinion system if you have a newer car that you plan on keeping for a while. Once you do rack and pinion replacement, you shouldn’t have to concern yourself with doing it again anytime soon. By replacing your rack and pinion, you’ll make your car safe again and put some life back into it.
What If You Can’t Afford to Pay for Rack and Pinion Replacement?
If you decide that paying for rack and pinion replacement doesn’t make sense or if you simply can’t afford to shell out thousands of dollars for it, you might wonder what in the world you can do with a car with a bad rack and pinion system. The solution is simple. You can sell it to junk car buyers for top dollar.
Cash Cars Buyer will help you steer clear of having to do rack and pinion replacement by paying you cash for your car. We don’t care if your car has a bad rack and pinion system or if it has other issues. We’ll put cash into your pocket for you and take it off your hands. Give us a call today to get an offer for your vehicle.