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Home >   How To >   How to Repair Steering >   What is a Rack and Pinion?

What is a Rack and Pinion?



What is a rack and pinion? Power Steering Rack Diagram




The Rack and Pinion is the assembly in a vehicle that rotates the wheels from side to side when the driver turns the steering wheel. This set up is usually found in lighter vehicles and will be replaced by a steering gear box in heavier applications. This is due to the gearbox's ability to handle the increased stress due to the weight. The rack and pinion consists of a main body which houses the rack piston, a notched rod which moved left and right when pushed by the power steering fluid. The rack is controlled by the input shaft or steering column which transfers the driver's input from the steering wheel the rack assembly. A replacement rack will generally be sold with the inner tie rods and boots already attached.


What is a rack and pinion? Rack and Pinion Diagram


A rack and pinion may be blamed for many steering issues but many times it is not the culprit. When a vehicle is hard to turn in one direction or if it is leaking it may be the rack at fault. Many times the blame for all around tight steering is put on the rack when most likely the steering pump is failing. Leaks are also mis-diagnosed often since the rack is at the bottom of the car any leak will run down to the rack. Before replacing a rack be sure to have a licensed mechanic inspect the vehicle. Knowing the true source of a leak or failure is key to avoid unnecessary auto repairs.


Are you looking for a rack and pinion for your vehicle? If so, visit our Parts Search section to get started on shopping for your part.

The replacement of a rack and pinion can get a bit complicated, for more help refer to the Repair Steering Parts section of our website.

We also have a detailed buyer's guide to walk you through the buying process: How To Buy A Steering Rack  



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