How Much To Replace A Steering Rack

How Much To Replace A Steering Rack

We've asked our expert mechanics all about steering rack replacements. Knowing the estimated cost of a steering rack replacement can help you plan and budget appropriately when it comes to maintaining your car. 

We'll also cover other factors influencing the price such as labour costs and parts availability. By understanding more about what goes into replacing a steering rack, you can help look after your car's lifespan, avoiding any more expensive repairs.

steering rack

What is a steering rack?

A steering rack is an essential part of a car’s steering system. It helps translate the driver’s input from the steering wheel into action, allowing them to control the direction and speed of their vehicle.

The steering rack itself consists of two main pieces: a pinion gear that connects directly to the steering wheel, and a tie rod assembly which links the pinion gear with both front wheels. Various other components such as bearings, seals and bushings help maintain its performance over time.

What does the steering rack do?

A steering rack's primary role is to convert the rotational motion of the steering wheel into linear motion, which in turn moves the wheels left or right, allowing you to steer your vehicle. It works by having the pinion gear attached to your steering wheel that meshes with teeth on a rack bar, causing it to move laterally when turned.

For this process to work correctly all the other components like tie rods and ball joints must also be correctly aligned and functioning properly as they are responsible for transferring movement from the rack bar onto the wheels themselves. Additionally, power-assisted mechanisms may be present in some cars that use hydraulic pressure or electrical force motors to make turning easier as these systems will provide additional assistance when needed.

What is the average life of a steering rack?

The typical lifespan of a steering rack is around 80,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on a few factors such as the type of vehicle and how it is driven.

Off-road driving can cause the steering rack to be overloaded and prematurely fail. Driving at excessive speeds or cornering hard can stress the components of a steering rack, leading to premature wear and tear. Additionally, lack of maintenance such as inadequate lubrication or leaving power steering fluid levels low can put additional strain on the system which could lead to early failure.

There are some ways to extend the life of your steering rack though; ensure you get regular servicing and keep up with any necessary replacements when recommended by your mechanic. You should also be sure to drive sensibly and avoid using too much force when turning corners or going over bumps to reduce wear and tear on the system.

wheels in a mechanics

Bad steering rack symptoms

The most common symptoms of a failing or worn-out steering rack are:

  • A grinding noise when you turn the wheel
  • A feeling of resistance to turning,
  • Increased play in the wheel.

These can all have an impact on your car's performance as they make it harder to control the vehicle and can cause vibrations that reduce your handling abilities. Additionally, if left unchecked for too long, these issues can lead to further damage such as seized-up components or even complete failure of your steering system. It is important to address any signs that indicate your steering rack may need replacing before serious damage occurs.

Can I drive with a bad steering rack?

Please don't drive with a faulty steering rack in the UK. The risks associated with this can be severe and can include loss of control of your vehicle due to lack of responsiveness from the steering wheel, or even sudden failure at speed which could result in a serious accident.

Furthermore, if you are caught driving an unsafe car on public roads by the police then you may face charges for doing so.

If your car cannot be driven safely due to a bad steering rack, there are alternative methods of transportation that should be considered, take a bus or a taxi until your car is repaired.

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Bumper offers car repair finance to help you split the cost of car repairs with interest-free monthly instalments, find a trusted partner here.

Steering rack replacement cost in the UK

The average steering rack replacement cost in the UK is between £300 and £450. We've rounded up the average costs for replacing the steering rack depending on your car make here as well:

  • Average Audi Steering Rack Replacement Cost: £400-450
  • Average Ford Steering Rack Replacement Cost: £300-375
  • Average Vauxhall Steering Rack Replacement Cost: £300-350
  • Average VW Steering Replacement Cost: £300-350
  • Average Citreon Steering Rack Replacement Cost: £300-375
  • Average BMW Steering Rack Replacement Cost: £450-525

The cost of replacing a steering rack can vary significantly depending on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the labour hours required to complete the job. It is important to research how much replacement parts for your specific vehicle will cost to get an accurate estimate.

When shopping around for a mechanic to perform the repairs it is also recommended that you compare prices from multiple sources to find the most competitive rate.

If you're very experienced with cars, you could potentially do some of the work yourself, such as removing and installing parts or disassembling components to save money on labour costs.

Can I replace a steering rack myself?

Replacing a steering rack on your own can be both an economical and rewarding experience. However, it is important to consider both the pros and cons of doing this yourself before making any decisions.

One of the biggest advantages to replacing the steering rack yourself is that you will save money on labour costs since you won't have to pay someone else to do it for you. Additionally, it can be a great learning experience as you get more hands-on knowledge about how cars work and gain valuable mechanical skills. You may even find that after completing the job successfully, you can tackle other car-related projects with ease!

1. Start by obtaining all the necessary parts and tools for the job. This will include the new steering rack, mounting hardware, special lubricants, wrenches, sockets and other tools needed to access hard-to-reach areas of your vehicle.

2. Jack up your car so that you can safely work underneath it while also having enough space to manoeuvre around components like tyres and suspension arms to gain access to the old steering rack.

3. With all necessary items in place and ready to go, begin by disconnecting any electrical connectors attached to the old steering rack as well as freeing it from its mounting bolts or brackets (if applicable). Also, make sure that any fluid lines connected are properly disconnected before the removal of the part itself begins.

4. Begin installation of new parts starting with prepping them according to their instructions – apply lubricant where required etc., followed by installing them into place using the same methods used when removing them. 

5. Securely fasten all connections back up following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Is it worth fixing a steering rack?

Yes, although the cost of repairing or replacing a steering rack can be quite expensive. Depending on the make and model of your car, this could easily add up to hundreds of pounds. But if the problem is left unchecked for too long, it could lead to further damage that would require more extensive repairs and potentially higher costs than just fixing the steering rack itself.

Final Words

Think your steering rack might need replacing? Search for a local Bumper partner garage on our website and benefit from 0% interest and pay monthly car repairs on your exhaust repairs. 

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