Q: What are the signs and symptoms of a leaking rack and pinion?

asked by on October 22, 2016

I went to do MVA inspection and was told that my rack and pinion is leaking, I have had the car since February and i never had to put power steering fluid into the reservoir and my steering seems fine, i haven't had a problem. What are some signs and symptoms of a rack and pinion leak. he is telling me that it's going to cost 2200 dollars to get that repaired, that's a lot of money to spend without getting a second opinion so any help that you can provide is really appreciated.

My car has 103500 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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Motor vehicle safety inspections in almost all U.S. jurisdictions do not cover maintenance and ordinary wear and tear, including de minimus "leaks", unless the "defect" found creates an immediate, obvious, and direct impact on the safety of the vehicle or the level of exhaust emissions.

If you have a de minimus leak of fluid from the steering system, that is, a leak so small that you are not regularly refilling the power steering fluid reservoir, it has no meaningful immediate impact on the safety of the vehicle. To detect a leak of the type you are referring to, you would look for visible fluid on the rack, rack ends, interconnecting pressure and return hoses, or the power steering pump.

Of course, it is preferable to have zero leakage, but it is also a priority that you know your rights when it comes to dealing with motor vehicle inspection facilities. The bottom line is they would have to show you a meaningful leak in order to have the right to refuse to issue an inspection sticker. If there is a meaningful leak, you should get a second opinion as to the cost you were quoted.

I recommend having a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, inspect for any leaking fluid and determine if any repairs are needed.

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

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