Rack and Pinion leaks can be frustrating to deal with and hard to understand why mechanics charge so much money to fix them. Rack and Pinion steering systems are often used in sports cars and other vehicles that are low to the ground or have limited space in the front of the vehicle. Rack and pinion steering systems are used more in these situations because they are relatively compact systems and do not require elaborate linkages like the steering gear systems found in most trucks.
What is a rack and pinion?
The rack and pinion is used to transfer the rotary motion of turning your steering wheel into the linear motion your tie rod uses to push your steering knuckle in and out which causes your front wheels to turn your vehicle. It accomplishes this task and gets its name by using both a rack and a pinion. The pinion is simply a small gear at the end of your steering column that rotates as you turn your steering wheel. The rack is a flat gear the pinion rests on, and as the pinion rotates its teeth mesh with the teeth on the rack which are pushed left or right creating the linear motion needed to turn the front wheels of your vehicle. To get a better idea of what a rack and pinion looks like, check out this article on how rack and pinions work.
What happens when rack and pinion goes out?
It is important to be aware of what happens when rack and pinion goes out. When a pinion is on the verge of failure it can be very difficult to steer, however, if a rack or pinion goes out you will lose complete control of steering. It is extremely dangerous for a rack or pinion to go out because the power steering system in your vehicle uses the power steering pump to pressurize power steering fluid and send it down to your rack and pinion. This high-pressure fluid is used to help the steering rack move as you turn the steering wheel so it isn’t so difficult for you to turn your wheels when your vehicle is moving slowly or stopped. Like any high-pressure hydraulic system, the power steering system used with your rack and pinion can be prone to leaks.
How does a rack and pinion leak happen?
It is possible that one of the hoses or lines in your power steering system can begin to leak either at the connection or due to the flexible rubber section cracking. However, it is more likely that your power steering system will develop a leak at one of the seals on your rack and pinion. There is a seal where your steering column enters the rack and pinion assembly, then a seal where each tie rod attaches. Each of these seals have to keep high-pressure power steering fluid contained while allowing the steering column to rotate and the tie rods to move as well. Over time these seals can dry out, shrink, crack or become unseated causing a leak.
How to find a rack and pinion leak
To find your rack and pinion leak you can check these three seals relatively easily. The only difficult part is fitting underneath your vehicle but if you have ramps or a jack and jack stands that can be easily accomplished, just make sure your vehicle is secure before you crawl under! The rack and pinion should be one of the lowest components on your vehicle and will likely be just under your engine’s oil pan.
Why are rack and pinion leaks expensive to fix?
The reason rack and pinion leaks are so expensive to fix is that the seals are often not serviceable, even by a mechanic. Most rack and pinion leaks will require the replacement of the entire rack and pinion assembly even if most of it works just fine. The good news is you do have another alternative to an expensive replacement. You can simply and quickly restore the seals in your rack and pinion without ever removing it. Adding BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to your power steering reservoir today will start to seal your power steering leaks immediately and is guaranteed to permanently seal your rack and pinion leak within a few days of driving. BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak is specially formulated to revitalize and restore the seals in your power steering rack returning them to their original size and function to seal your leak. BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak will not harm or clog your rack and pinion and is safe to remain in your system until your next scheduled power steering flush.
How to fix a rack and pinion leak
Seal your rack and pinion leak today by stopping by one of our partnering local auto parts stores and picking up BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak! You can find BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak at any of these local auto parts stores:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
You can also purchase BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak online here: Power Steering Stop Leak
Pictures courtesy of:
“Rack and Pinion” – Alfa Romeo Alfetta Front Suspension – FoolDriver24 in “own work’ licensed by Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons Original Link
“Power Steering Reservoir” – By Surgee Phatanapherom in “Power Steering fluid leakage” licenesed by Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 – Original Link