Steering Rack Bushings
Also called a rack-and-pinion bushing, a steering rack bushing is a steel component that is connected between the steering rack and the frame of the car. Its purpose is to dampen the vibrations caused by shifting in your suspension as you complete turns and steer your vehicle. These vibrations cause a fair amount of wear on the steering rack bushing, so it is important to ensure that it gets inspected whenever your suspension is serviced or you get an alignment done.
Signs of Bad Steering Rack Bushings
It is important to note that a bad steering rack bushing will exhibit similar signs of wear as other suspension and steering components. Before deciding to inspect the steering rack bushings, it is wise to inspect the rest of your front suspension system and steering components before checking on your steering rack bushings, as the problem may lie there. That being said, here are the signs that your steering rack bushing may be going bad:
- Jerking while turning – It makes sense that wear on a steering component would impact your car’s steering. A bad steering rack bushing can allow excess movement in the steering rack that causes these noises.
- Noise when going over bumps – Excessive movement of a loose steering rack caused by worn steering rack bushings can cause an audible clunk while going over bumps. You may also start to notice your steering wheel feeling bumpier. This is a sign of increased stress on your suspension as a whole and needs to be addressed by a vehicle inspection.
- Shaking steering wheel – Your steering rack moves with the suspension while going over bumps in the road and if your steering rack bushings are worn, your steering wheel will start to feel the vibrations from these bumps.
- Too much free play in the steering wheel – Free play refers to the small area in your steering where turning the wheel doesn’t appear to impact the steering. Under normal conditions, free play should be minimal, but you may notice more free play if your steering rack bushings get too worn.
- Inconsistent steering resistance – This is a serious problem and is a good indication that your car needs to be seen by a mechanic immediately. As your steering rack bushings go bad, your steering rack will start to bind in one direction but allow looser and more free movement in the other.
- Improper alignment – As with any suspension or steering component, bad steering rack bushings will make it difficult to get your vehicle aligned properly, causing your wheels to wander a bit while driving. You may feel as if your alignment is shifting while you drive.
- Leaking power steering fluid – Worn bushings will create additional pressure on your vehicle’s steering rack which may result in a fluid leak.
If you notice any of the above signs, it is best to get to mechanic right away to inspect your steering rack bushings and front suspension. Book your auto maintenance through CarAdvise and pay less than retail price for any service guaranteed!