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Q: Steering is extremely tight. Moreso when not moving or moving slow. Rack and pinion was suposedly done

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I bought a 2003 Nissan Altima s 2.5. The guy said he (or someone?? he's a hack dealer with no warranties) replaced the rack and pinion and tie rod or tie rod ends? The steering is extremely tight when started in park or moving slow. Steers OK when driving. But otherwise really tight. He said the steering fluid was black so he changed that. I can see it flowing while car is running and its clean. Any ideas what is causing this?

My car has 132000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. It sounds like something is mechanically binding and/or you are not getting full power assist. If it is mechanically binding, one cause would be defective strut bearing plates (top of strut in wheel well). You can evaluate that by jacking up car and having an assistant turn the wheel left and right (car does not have to be on since all of the weight is off of the wheels).

You should not see the strut jumping or binding as you turn the wheels from side-to-side (remove wheels from car as it will be easier to see the range of motion). It is also "possible" that the rack is damaged (i.e., bent and thus gear inside does not operate smoothly.) Another possibility is the hydraulic assist not functioning fully due to a power steering pump issue, or hose or valve issue. Pressures in the system could be tested to see if that is a cause. Apart from the just described visual inspection of how the strut bearings are functioning, your best bet is to have an expert, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the steering and suspension in order to pinpoint the issue.

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