The steering rack is located between the two front wheels on regular cars. It consists of a central cylinder of aluminum and two large rubber boots on each side - both called a steering rack gaiter. The gaiter protects the steering rack inner joint from dirt and water, keeping it clean and well-functioning. A rod is mounted on each end of the rack.
On top of your car's steering rack, the steering column is mounted. This connects the steering wheel to the steering rack, and subsequently to the front wheels on each side. Inside the middle part of the rack’s cylinder you’ll find a long row of teeth. A small pinion gear spins whenever the driver turns the wheel, moving along with the teeth in the rack. This mechanism is called rack-and-pinion steering. This way, the steering wheel's rotational movement converts into a linear motion needed for the car’s wheels to turn.
A car can have one of two types of steering rack installed, depending on your power steering system: hydraulic or electric.
In hydraulic power steering, a set of pipes connects to the rack and supplies power steering fluid via a pump. When you turn the steering wheel, the pump activates and fluid runs down into the rack where pistons create hydraulic pressure. This happens at the same time as the pinion gear moves across the rack of teeth. Hydraulics help this movement so you do not have to pull hard on the steering wheel to turn. A number of components are installed outside and inside the cylinder, forming a closed system, which makes turning the steering wheel easier.
Electric power steering works by attaching a motor to the rack that helps the small pinion gear move from side to side as you turn the steering wheel.
A rack in an electric power steering system therefore does not have a piston installed, but otherwise works in the same way as the hydraulic version where an auxiliary system supports the steering.
There will always be a fault code associated with a defective electric rack. If you have access to a diagnostic tool yourself, you can connect it to the car or you can have your nearest mechanic check the fault codes for you.
There can be several causes for a defective steering rack, and there are several ways you can spot whether you have steering rack problems.
Unfortunately, replacing a steering rack is not a cheap repair. The spare part itself is relatively expensive, and it does not matter whether you have to replace a hydraulic or electric rack.
There are ultimately three options for a steering rack replacement:
Therefore, if you experience symptoms, and you suspect you need a steering rack repair, it might be worth talking to the mechanic about spare part options. It may also be a good idea to ask for quotes on the repair from Autobutler’s garages. As mentioned, there’s a lot of money to be saved!
|Make||Avg. price||Min - max|
|Audi||£ 165||£ 106 - £ 271||Get quotes|
|Citroën||£ 140||£ 84 - £ 199||Get quotes|
|Ford||£ 149||£ 85 - £ 258||Get quotes|
|Kia||£ 96||£ 54 - £ 134||Get quotes|
|Nissan||£ 154||£ 84 - £ 232||Get quotes|
|Peugeot||£ 180||£ 130 - £ 243||Get quotes|
|Renault||£ 169||£ 117 - £ 234||Get quotes|
|Toyota||£ 184||£ 108 - £ 256||Get quotes|
|Vauxhall||£ 171||£ 84 - £ 346||Get quotes|
|Volkswagen||£ 132||£ 84 - £ 175||Get quotes|
The prices are based on all quotes sent via autobutler.co.uk, and may contain errors or vary. Please create a job if you would like detailed quotes for your car.
Get a complete service with a stamp in accordance with the manufacturer’s and dealer's specifications. You can save on avg. 30% by comparing quotes with Autobutler.
Interim car service for a fixed price - only £79. Includes oil and filter change with up to 4 liters of quality oil and a complete review of your car based on a 25-point checklist.
Order an oil change for only £49. This includes up to 4 liters of quality oil, installation of a new oil filter, and resetting of the oil service indicator.
Save money on your pre-MOT with Autobutler. Get quotes on vision checks, periodic inspections or rectification of defects after inspections, and save on avg. 20%.
Right now, you can book your vehicle in for an Air Con service for just £59. Have your system checked for any leaks and re-filled with up to 150g of refrigerant.
9 out of 10 car owners don’t know if their brakes are safe. Get a professional assessment of your brakes for free.