Steering rack briefly

The steering rack is one of the controls of the car. This system helps the car to move in the right direction, as well as turn left and right.

The role of the steering rack is to create a connection between the steering rods of the two front wheels of the car. It turns the steering wheel into a linear movement of the rack, which helps to turn the wheels to the right and left, respectively.

The stability of the car when turning and its straightforward movement depend on the proper operation of the steering rack. It also provides excellent maneuverability on the road, minimal lateral wheel sliding in corners and minimal effort for the driver to move.

Car steering system

The steering mechanism consists of a steering column, steering rack and parts that allow you to connect these two mechanisms, as well as attach the wheels to the system (so that they rotate). By their way of working, the steering racks can be reinforced and mechanical.

The steering rack is a mechanism located in a closed metal pipe. Each end is attached to the steering rod, which, in turn, is connected to the wheels of the car.

At the top of the rack, a steering rack is attached, which connects to the car's steering wheel. The steering rack is equipped with a gear (also called a comb). Its role is to convert the rotational movement of the steering wheel to linear, and thus the wheels turn.

The rack and pinion steering system is the most common in modern car models. There are 3 types of steering racks:

  • Mechanical - commonly found in older cars.
  • Hydraulic - efforts when turning the steering wheel are facilitated by the operation of the hydraulic pump.
  • Electric - a kind of reinforced rails that work with an electric drive.

Most modern cars have a hydraulic or electric steering rack. This significantly reduces the physical effort on the driver’s side, which is used to turn the steering wheel. In the first case, a hydraulic unit powered by hydraulic oil is used.

In the second case, the operation of the rotary mechanism is enhanced by an electric motor. The cost of this type of steering rack is usually higher, because it is driven by hydraulics, and the hydraulic system is included in its device.

Power steering is equipped with a system that helps to easily turn the steering wheel in place and at low speed. When cornering at high speeds, the steering wheel is harder to turn, and the amplifier helps the driver control the car in turns.

The price of a new steering rack is relatively expensive. A 12 month warranty is usually given. One of its advantages is that it can be repaired. External and internal steering tips are those elements that are always replaced with new ones.

How to determine that the steering rack needs repair?

For proper steering rack repair, knowledge and experience are required. In view of this, it is recommended to trust professionals to replace and repair the rail if we do not have the necessary tools and skills.

Repair includes disassembling the rail, its cleaning and grinding. The steering racks are ground to avoid unnecessary bumps or residual particles. If necessary, the rack is replaced with a new one. Along with it, seals and Teflon rings are also changed.

After we removed the rail and disassembled it, we check the level of wear of the teeth of the rack. If corrosion or scratches are found on it, they are removed with sandpaper. All bearings and seals are replaced.

After assembling the mechanism, it must be tested on a bench to detect leaks and check the working pressure.

A damaged rail, in addition to unpleasant noise, has a polluting effect on nature, since hydraulic fluid can leak out of it. Heavily damaged steering racks pose a risk of sudden wheel locks, which can lead to an accident.

For these reasons, it is necessary to regularly check and replace this important part of the car and keep it in good condition all year round.

The most common signs of damage to the steering rack

  • Knock or noise in the steering wheel when turning;
  • It is difficult to turn the steering wheel in one direction and it is too easy to turn in the other. This may be caused by low hydraulic fluid levels;
  • Leakage of hydraulic fluid on the steering rack;
  • Unusual noise or knock during diagnosis.

Useful Steering Wheel Care Tips

  • Frequent damage to the steering rack can be caused by driving on low profile tires and turning the wheels when the machine is not moving.
  • Avoid (or minimize) traffic on rough and broken roads;
  • After replacing the steering rack, it is advisable to make a test run in a closed section of the road (for example, a platform near the garage);
  • After replacing the steering rack, it is recommended to adjust the front axle of the machine;
  • It is necessary to regularly monitor the fluid level in the hydraulic tank. If it is too low, the power steering pump may be damaged;
  • Periodically it is necessary to change the hydraulic fluid;
  • It is necessary to constantly monitor the formation of increased backlash (more about why steering backlash appears, described in a separate article);
  • It is good to regularly check the suspension;
  • Try not to turn the steering wheel all the way, and do not turn it while the machine is stationary. This also leads to additional tire wear;
  • It is recommended to adjust the clearances in the mechanism only following the manufacturer's instructions.


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