What is a steering rack/gearbox replacement?

If you think your steering rack (or gearbox) needs to be replaced, a mechanic will assess the condition of your suspension and steering system, to verify whether the steering rack is at fault, and replace it if necessary.
A steering rack, or rack and pinion system, is made up of several large components, including your car’s underlying intermediate shaft, the main shaft, and universal joints. As a unit, the steering rack—aided by a power-assisted pump/motor—functions as a means to make moving a 3000 to 5000-pound vehicle reliable and easy.
When the steering wheel is turned, it is the steering rack that transfers the motion, allowing your wheels to move from side to side.

How to replace a steering rack/gearbox

A mechanic will usually complete the following steps to replace your steering rack/gearbox:
  • Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands
  • Remove the tires and disconnect both the tie rods and steering gear
  • Replace the steering rack and gearbox
  • Fill the system with new fluid and reinstall the tires
  • Lower the vehicle off the jack stands
The steering rack is an integral component of your car, so only entrust its replacement to a professional mechanic.

How do I know if I need to replace my steering rack/gearbox?

You will need to have a mechanic replace your steering rack/gearbox if you notice any of the following:
  • Power steering fluid starts leaking from underneath your car
  • Your car makes a hard “clunk” while going over large bumps
  • If steering becomes uneven and requires varying levels of effort

How important is it to replace my steering rack/gearbox?

It is incredibly important you replace a faulty steering rack, as this is the mechanism that allows you to steer and control your car with precision. If you ignore a problem with your steering rack, it may cause you to lose control of your vehicle, resulting in the death or injury of yourself or others. Err on the side of caution and take your car to a mechanic if you begin having difficulty steering.

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