Symptoms of Bad or Failing Steering Rack Mounting Bushings

By definition a bushing is engineered to absorb impact or provide stability between two supporting joints. The steering rack mounting bushings may not be a household mechanical component, but without them, smooth driving would not be possible. However, if these bushings wear out completely, it can cause additional vibrations to occur, loosening other mechanical components and potentially causing an unsafe driving condition.

Unlike other mechanical bushings, the steering rack mounting bushings are engineered to move side-to-side as they are attached to the power steering rack and the vehicle frame. Its frequent movement causes additional wear and tear; and when not properly maintained or serviced, can wear out prematurely. In order to avoid this situation, it's recommended by all automotive manufacturers to have your steering rack mounting bushings inspected during any suspension related service.

There are a few warning signs that if noticed, should inspire you to contact an ASE certified mechanic so they can inspect your vehicle for potential damage to your steering rack mounting bushings.

1. Clunking sound in the steering column

When you're driving and you hear a "clunking" sound coming from the front of your car, it's typically caused by a loose or worn out bushing. This sound is common with worn out stabilizer bar bushings, upper control arm bushings, and the steering rack mounting bushings. The "clunking" sound will be noticeable when driving over a speed bump, cracks in the road or cement seams typically found in bridges and tunnels. You can also feel this clunking sound in the steering wheel as a rough or aggressive "bump".

If you hear this sound or anything similar to it, contact a mechanic as soon as possible as it indicates something in your suspension or steering is coming loose and needs to be repaired immediately.

2. Inconsistent steering or jerking movements in the steering wheel

Occasionally you'll notice that your steering wheel will make jerking movements or sudden turns to the left or right when not directed by you. This is typically the sign of loose bearings in the steering rack and the result of the steering rack literally moving without input. Obviously this is a potentially dangerous situation that could lead to an accident, so if you notice your steering wheel moving on its own, contact a local ASE certified mechanic as soon as possible.

3. Clicking or popping sounds while steering

Another common symptom of a broken or failing steering rack mounting bushing is a clicking or popping sound when you turn the steering wheel to the left or right. When the bushing is worn out, it creates travel or "free play" in the steering column, which can twist or misalign the steering box and supporting components. This can cause the joints in the steering box to make a "popping" sound. You'll also notice this "pop" in the steering wheel. If this happens, it's commonly associated with bearings that have completely worn out and can lead to significant suspension component failure. You need to have your steering rack mounting bushings replaced if this occurs.

Get the bushings replaced while a mechanic inspects the suspension system

The most common symptom of a problem with the steering rack mounting bushings is when a mechanic is completing maintenance or service on your front end suspension including suspension alignment, CV joint or boot replacement, replacing struts or shocks or replacing the power steering booster. If the mechanic informs you that the steering rack mounting bushings are worn out, please permit them to replace them while they are completing the other work. This will save you time and a lot of money in the long run.

Anytime you hear or notice any of the above symptoms we've described, you should contact your mechanic as quickly as possible. Worn out steering rack mounting bushings can be easily replaced without having to fix or repair other steering system or suspension components. However, when they break, it can cause multiple parts to break along with them. Be proactive about your steering system integrity and maintenance, as it could reduce the potential of accidents or additional parts damage.


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Richard

13 years of experience
601 reviews
Richard
13 years of experience
BMW X5 L6-3.0L - AC is not working - North Las Vegas, Nevada
A/C Compressor
Scion xD - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Las Vegas, Nevada
The entire experience with Richard was very pleasant, and I feel confident that my wife will be safe and free of mechanical issues driving her car when he finished. As other reviews mentioned he was a little early and had completed his preparatory work before his appointment time. I decided to work from home so I could be available if needed. I was a bit late meeting him outside due to my obligations. He let me know that he understood and had a calm demeanor that felt very sincere. My wife went to meet him before I was available to confirm the scope of work requested. After hearing from her why we wanted to have the brake pads (both drum and disc) replaced, he let her know that drum brakes often wear more efficiently and require replacement less often than disc. He told her that he would drive the car for a little while and inspect all of her brake pads to determine if we really did need all of her pads replaced. By the time he had returned I was able to meet with him and ask some further questions and let him know I was also very interested in any other potential issues he may find. He let me know that an inspection was a part of the service confirming what I had read on the website and that he would be diligent in looking over the car. As we conversed he was beginning to remove the wheels and hubs to expose the drum brakes in the rear. As we neared the end of our short conversation he had the brakes exposed and was able to show me with his brake pad gauge that the pads were not in critical need of replacement, possibly saving me the cost of parts and labor on this visit if I wanted to do it closer to their end of life. I asked what the minimum recommended pad thickness was and he was able to respond without hesitation. Since the drum brake pads were about midway to requiring replacement, I decided that it was best to do them during this appointment while I had the help of someone knowledgeable and with the proper tools. After this initial exchange he let me know he would inform me when the job was complete and review anything he found that required attention. He worked quickly and quietly from that point, and I passed by him on the way to run an errand. His attention was entirely on the task at hand and his work space showed the signs of organization that comes as a result of experience. After he informed me that the work was complete, he apologized that it took him longer than he had expected. If he had gone past our scheduled end time it was by a very narrow margin and I had not noticed. At no time did he seem to lose his composure while interfacing with us, or seem as though he need to hurry to be somewhere else. He was very focused on providing the proper care for our vehicle and wanted to see that the job was done correctly. He was sure to inform me of the results of the inspection as well and directed me to review my email for a more detailed report. Since he had given our car a good bill of health his overview was brief but touched on the important parts of his inspection. The detailed report was what I had expected, a breakdown of what areas and components he reviewed and a specific score he listed to represent their condition. I wanted to leave a detailed review of my experience so people could make an informed decision about Richard. My opinion is that Richard is the type of professional that the service industry needs more of. I dread the search for a reliable, friendly, and technically proficient mechanic every time I move. This is the easiest experience I have ever had finding the right person to care for my family's vehicles. If you are looking for the same combination of traits in a mechanic to service your vehicles and value not having a logistical nightmare trying to arrange work at a shop, potentially having a difficult time getting to one, I would recommend you request Richard. He is an excellent exemplar of his trade and a reminder to the service industry of the trust and values that build repeat business. I will be requesting Richard as long as I remain Las Vegas for any service I require.

John

36 years of experience
434 reviews
John
36 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.4L - Steering Inspection - Sacramento, California
John was very professional, knowledgeable. We drove around the block and he pen pointed the problem after hearing and a few questions. Definitely want John back for follow ups and and car issues.

Dustin

8 years of experience
65 reviews
Dustin
8 years of experience
Lexus IS250 V6-2.5L - Steering Inspection - Spring, Texas
Highly knowledgeable and very professional. Dustin had dealer-quality diagnostic equipment and I'm confident of his assessment. Will request him again when needed.

Michael

9 years of experience
28 reviews
Michael
9 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Steering Inspection - Tehachapi, California
Michael showed up on time. Was very knowledgeable, courteous, and thorough. He pin pointed the problem and shared his recommendations. I would definitely call him again

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