Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

What causes a power steering rack leak?

What causes a power steering rack leak?

An hydraulic power steering rack develops leaks in three ways:

1) The seals have worn out due to age, heat or contaminated power steering fluid
2) Excessive pressure has damaged the seals
3) The metal hydraulic piston has worn, creating excessive clearance between the piston and the seals.

What can you do to prevent power steering rack leaks?

• Use the recommended power steering fluid
• If your vehicle is equipped with a power steering cooler, clean the fins to allow proper cooling
• Avoid turning and holding the steering wheel in its full lock position. This creates up to ,000-psi and can cause wear/worn seals to fail

How can you tell if your power steering rack is leaking?

1) You are constantly low on power steering fluid.
2) You notice oil leaks on the pavement under the steering rack
3) The inner tie rod boots are wet or filled with power steering fluid

leaking power steering rack

How to fix a leaking power steering rack

Many DIYers think they can fix a leaking power steering rack simply by replacing the end seals. That never works. You really have to rebuilt the rack or install a rebuilt rack.

Can you rebuild a power steering rack yourself?

Yes. Many factory shop manuals have complete instructions on how to rebuild an hydraulic power steering rack. You’ll have to remove the rack from the vehicle and you’ll need some special tools to take it apart and replace internal seals.

You can buy complete seal kits from powersteeringseals.com

power steering rack seal kit
How much do you save by rebuilding a power steering rack yourself?

A lot. Let’s look at the cost to rebuild a power steering rack for a 2007-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche

•A new seal kit from powersteeringseals.com for this vehicle is $49.95 plus shipping.
•A rebuilt rack for the same vehicle from rockauto.com is $372 to $501. And that’s with you doing the removal and reinstall
rockauto power steering rack prices
Power steering rack replacement cost

If you have a shop do the work and replace your leaking power steering rack with a rebuilt unit, here’s a rough idea of the rack replacement cost

Shop price for a rebuilt power steering rack $850

Shop price for new tie rod ends: ~ $90 eac = $180

Labor to remove and replace rack: 1.5 hours, plus 1-hr alignment @$140/hour = $350

Total $1,380

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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