What Are Steering Racks and Pinions and Why Do They Fail?April 7, 2021 8:38 pm Leave your thoughts
One of the first things a driver learns is that turning the steering wheel to the left makes the vehicle go left, and turning the steering wheel to the right makes the vehicle turn right. What drivers don’t learn, though, is how a steering wheel works. This post will cover how steering wheels work and why a driver might need steering rack repair in Madison, TN.
Most cars, small trucks and SUVs utilize a rack and pinion steering system. It works by converting the revolving motion of the pinion (a circular gear) into linear motion of the rack (a linear gear). While it sounds complicated, it’s actually fairly simple: it’s essentially just a gear attached to a toothed bar.
Despite being simple, though, these systems are not impervious to damage. The rack and pinion system is located under the hood, where it’s constantly exposed to high temperatures. Older vehicles often experience troubles with the system, especially if the car isn’t professionally maintained on a regular basis.
In addition to the high temperatures, these systems can fail from repeated contact with road debris and contaminated steering fluid.
Signs of failure
If there’s any good news about malfunctioning rack and pinion systems, it’s that they typically don’t just up and quit out of nowhere. These are a few of the signs that your system is going out and needs rack and pinion repair in Madison, TN:
- Tight steering wheel: Your rack and pinion system is supported by a power steering unit that allows for easy handling. If you find that your steering wheel is tight or harder to turn than usual, there’s likely an issue with the steering rack or the gearbox. Only your professional mechanic can find the true source of the problem and address it.
- Leaks: You may notice the need for rack and pinion repair in Madison, TN without even getting into your car. Puddles of power steering fluid under your vehicle indicate a leak somewhere in the line, which must be professionally addressed. Bring your car to a pro as soon as possible to find the source of the leak and seal it.
- Burning smell: When you’re driving down the road, the last thing you want is a burning smell wafting into your vehicle’s cabin. This odor may be due to burning power steering fluid in the gearbox. Pull over as soon as you smell the odor and call a mechanic. Driving with burning power steering fluid is dangerous and reckless.
- Dead spot: In some instances, the steering wheel will feel disconnected from the rest of the vehicle until you turn the wheel far enough in one direction. This is known as a dead spot, and it occurs when the gears in the rack and pinion system are worn down. Your mechanic will have to replace the system to address the problem.
Steering rack problems? Come to Rivergate Muffler & Auto Repair
As you can probably tell, steering rack repair in Madison, TN is nothing to put off. Those problems will get worse as time goes on, and they’ll only get more expensive to fix. As soon as you notice an issue, schedule an appointment with our professionals to see what’s wrong and set it straight.
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