Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Steering Rack/Gearbox Last?

Steering Rack/Gearbox

When you turn the steering wheel, the two front wheels also turn in the direction you want. It actually takes a lot of different components to translate the rotational movement of the steering wheel into side to side movement for the front wheels. Your steering wheel connects to the steering column, which connects to an intermediate shaft, which connects to the steering rack/gear box. The rack itself is what moves the wheels left or right, allowing you to steer.

The steering rack/gearbox is also responsible for providing the power assist that makes it easier to steer your car. Today’s vehicles weigh quite a bit, and manual steering is difficult even under the best of circumstances. Your rack is connected to the power steering pump, which pushes fluid through the lines, and into the rack, augmenting and amplifying the movement created by the steering wheel.

Your car’s steering rack/gearbox is used every time you turn the steering wheel. It’s also subjected to a lot of stress and vibration even when you’re not turning (driving on a straight section of road). Eventually, the rack will fail. However, there’s no definitive lifespan here. The more you drive, the faster it will wear. Still, most vehicle owners will never have to change their power steering rack, or will need to replace it just once during their ownership.

Given the immense importance of the steering rack/gearbox, it’s vital that you know a few signs and symptoms of excessive wear to watch for. These include the following:

  • Steering wheel feels loose, or sloppy
  • You notice power steering fluid leaks under the car, behind the engine
  • You hear a clunking noise when going over bumps or when turning the wheel
  • The steering wheel feels “disconnected” (it takes a lot of turning)
  • Steering is uneven
  • It requires a lot of effort to turn the steering wheel

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s very important to have your steering rack/gearbox inspected. A professional mechanic can inspect the system and replace the steering rack/gearbox as well as any other failed components.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...

Related questions

Q: Engine turns off when the first gear is shifted

Hello. The most common cause of the car dying once it is put into gear is the transmission torque converter or the fluid level of the transmission. If there are leaks present from the transmission, I would suspect the fluid...

Q: Loud clicking while driving

Hi there. I wouldn’t wait to have your car looked at. You may very well have a wheel coming off. A loose wheel, or a worn wheel bearing can make a clicking noise and a wobble. If you need further...

Q: Gearbox stuck in second gear

Hi there. Common causes of your particular problem are a faulty clutch, slave cylinder, shift linkage miss-adjustment, or a bad transmission. Though a bad transmission is the least likely thing to be the issue. I would recommend having an experienced...