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What Is a Steering Rack?

The steering rack is the unit referred to when we talk about where the steering rack and pinion are enclosed together. It is connected to the steering wheel through a set of shafts and u-joints. As you turn the steering wheel, the pinion is moved and prompted to push this part of the vehicle to either direction (left or right). The steering rack's ends are connected to the front wheels of your vehicle; hence, any input on the steering rack moves your front wheels either to the left or right.

Steering Rack
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For power-steering vehicles, the rack uses an engine-driven pump to feed high-pressure hydraulic fluid when you turn the wheel. Although it becomes easier to pivot the steering rack, it entails seals, hoses, o-rings, and other tiny parts just to contain the hydraulic fluid. For modern vehicles, having a good supply of power is a must to prevent leaking. A steering rack with a leaky power source results to difficulty in steering and maneuvering your vehicle.

How Does a Steering Rack Work?

The steering rack is usually paired with a pinion. They are a pair of gears that contributes in converting linear motion from being rotational motion. On a flat bar or rack, the circular pinion engages its teeth. The rotational motion applied to the pinion will make the rack move to the side to the limit of its travel. The steering rack and pinion gears are found in the steering mechanism of steered vehicles. Although they provide a lesser mechanical advantage compared to other mechanisms such as the recirculating ball, it can provide a greeter steering feel especially at high speeds.

When to Check Your Steering Rack

To keep you vehicle in topnotch shape, you need to be sensitive with even the slightest noticeable change in your vehicle. Pay particular attention to unusual noises made by the engine or other vehicle parts. Look out for drips or leaks, although some drips are normal such as the water dripping out of your vehicle because of your air-conditioning system. Still, you need to be keen about the maintenance and replacement needs of your car to avoid spending a bigger amount for repair. Before you decide to replace your vehicle parts, have your car thoroughly checked by an authorized automobile repairman or expert to ensure that the sounds or leaks are not just caused by loose screws or wirings. Below are the usual signs that tell you that something is wrong with your steering rack or the other vital parts attached to it.

  • When your wheels seem to be uncontrollable and wiggles rapidly back and forth, you should check your tire inflation level and the balance of your wheels. You should also inspect your tires as they may be needing replacement, and pay particular attention to your steering rack as its tie rods may already be worn out due to excessive use.
  • When your steering seems to be slipping every time you try to steer it to a particular direction, it could be a case of a leaking power steering rack and may be in need of a replacement.

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