When it is separated from your entire steering system, the steering rack might look like a worthless metal rod. But without the steering rack, your car would not be able to maneuver through the streets. So if your steering wheel starts feeling a little loose or you suddenly notice your tires are misaligned, it's about time you replace your steering rack.
Know your steering system
Since your steering rack is part of bigger system-the rack-and-pinion assembly-the type of steering rack you need would depend on the steering system you have on your car. Most cars are powered by normal rack-and-pinion steering. The steering rack for this kind of rack-and-pinion gear set is relatively easy to spot. It's a simple, lightweight rack with differently sized metal teeth. Unlike a simple steering system, a power steering system's rack has a slightly different design and contains more parts. On the middle of the steering rack, you'll find a cylinder with a piston. This piston is designed with two fluid ports to direct higher-pressure fluid to one of its side and eventually provide the power needed to steer your car. So if your car has a power steering system installed, finding the right steering rack can be more tedious. Aside from looking at the quality and fit of the rack for a power steering system, you should also inspect the fluid ports and their compatibility with your steering system's fluid lines.
Purchase the entire assembly
Whether you have a normal rack-and-pinion system or a power-assisted one, be sure that your steering rack includes fittings for inner tie rods. This ensures that everything will fit perfectly with the entire system. This will also help you prevent leaks. Another advantage of purchasing the entire assembly instead of just one part is that there are no core changes made on the assembly. This eliminates the hassle of returning your old part for a core refund. So remember, when buying a new steering rack, don't just buy the rack-buy the complete assembly for a more direct fit and increased life span.
Check the warranty
As with any part of your car, never purchase without a warranty. This saves you time, effort, and money if the serviced part is not functioning as expected. The standard warranty for steering racks is for one year. The mileage terms will vary according to the type of steering system you have. Since a normal rack-and-pinion steering has less moveable parts (add to this the fact that it's usually used for smaller loads), it is usually covered by an unlimited mileage warranty. On the other hand, the more complicated system, like a power steering system, is more susceptible to wear. Therefore, it does not have the same warranty terms as a normal system. Distributors and sellers usually cover 15,000 to 18,000 miles.