Typical rack and pinion replacement cost
Rack and pinion replacement cost varies by year, make and model as well as which engine is in the vehicle. Engine size can change pricing by quite a bit since larger engines limit the technician’s access to the rack and pinion power steering lines and retaining bolts. In fact, if your car has a V-6 engine, chances are the technician will have to lower a portion of the engine cradle to remove the rack and pinion steering gear. Any time you lower the cradle, you must perform a complete 4-wheel alignment. If the technician can remove the steering gear without lowering the engine cradle, then you only need a toe adjustment.
How to remove and replace a rack and pinion steering gear
Removal starts inside the vehicle with the technician disconnecting the intermediate shaft from the input shaft on the steering gear. First, the technician locks the steering wheel in place to prevent it from rotating after disconnection. Locking the steering wheel prevents the clockspring from turning. Next, the technician removes the pinch bolt at the base of the steering column after removing the “hush” panel below the dash.
Next, the technician disconnects the tie rod ends from the steering knuckle using a special puller tool. Then the technician disconnects the high and low pressure power steering lines from the rack and pinion steering gear.
Finally, the technician removes the large retaining bolts holding the rack and pinion gear in place and slides the entire gear through a wheel well. Installation is the reverse of removal.
Rack and pinion replacement cost
Depending on where you have the job done and which replacement parts you choose, rack and pinion replacement cost can run between $900 and $2,200. Here are some examples of rack and pinion replacement cost for three 2009 vehicles:
Rack and pinion replacement on 2009 Audi A4. Dealer labor approx. $820 plus $,1400 for genuine Audi part ($2,220). Approximately $800 for an aftermarket rebuilt rack and pinion gear.
Rack and pinion replacement on 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan. Dealer labor approx. $375 plus $500 for genuine Dodge part ($900). Approximately $350 for an aftermarket rebuilt rack and pinion gear.
Rack and pinion replacement on a 2009 Toyota Camry (V-6). Dealer labor approx. $1,125 plus $900 for genuine Toyota part ($2,025). Approximately $400 for an aftermarket rebuilt rack and pinion gear.
Additional rack and pinion replacement costs
Buy new tie rod ends: The replacement rack doesn’t come with outer tie rod ends. It makes no sense to reuse the old tie rod ends since you would incur slightly more labor to remove them from the old rack to transfer them over to the new rack.
Replace leaking power steering lines now. Removing the power steering lines from the rack and pinion gear is difficult due to the limited space. If your current power steering lines are leaking, NOW is the time to replace them.
Have the power steering pump and lines flushed and add a power steering filter: A failed rack and pinion steering gear can throw metallic particles throughout the system. All rebuilders require the installation of a filter to prevent that debris from wearing out the rebuilt rack.
How to prevent rack and pinion steering gear damage
Check the bellows at each end of the rack and replace them immediately if they’re torn or the clamps have moved.
Always use the right power steering fluid. There’s no such thing as a “universal” power steering fluid. Trust me, even if you have to buy the fluid from a dealer, you’ll still come out ahead over buying a universal fluid that can cause premature power steering pump and rack and pinion steering gear failure.
Here’s an example of how you can get into trouble with power steering fluids.
This bottle of “universal” power steering fluid from Advance Auto parts says it meets the performance requirements of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Then is lists the specifications the fluid meets:
General Motors-GM9985010 (GM part #1050017);
But GM uses two different fluids: GM specifies fluid 9985010 for most newer vehicles. But the specification for older vehicles is Dexron transmission fluid.
Ford also specifies two different fluids; ESW-M2C33 which is actually Mercon V ATF. But older vehicle use ATF Type F fluids for power steering.
Chrysler has used four different fluids over the years.
Refer to your owner’s manual to find the exact power steering fluid for your vehicle and insist the shop uses the correct fluid when they flush and install your new rack and pinion steering gear.
For more information on power steering fluid, read this post
For more information on rack and pinion steering gears, read this post
For more information on tie rods, read this post
For more information on tie rod replacement cost, read this post
©, 2017 Rick Muscoplat