Tip & How-To about Toyota Avalon

Improve power steering when rack and pinion starts binding.

One of the things you can try on your car before replacing the rack and pinion if your steering starts to bind or hard steering is to treat your PS fluid. I bought a 12 oz. container of Lucas oil, drained the exising PS fluid from my resevoir with a kitchen baster and replaced the fluid with the container of Lucas oil. Within a few days, the steering improvement was quite noticable. I did still need to replace the rack and pinion since it was worn and binding up but the Lucas oil really improved the steering ease and performance. I'd suggest this step first before any major part replacements, like PS pump or the rack and pinion. It may help save $$ The bottle of Lucas oil was $11.00 at a local auto parts outlet.

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2 Answers

power steering hard


Hey Kumar,
Does the steering get easier when it gets hot? If it get easier when hot, its the rack and pinion gear. The valve body (actually a teflon composition ring(s) o-rings/valve bore housing are getting worn to the point where they are not controlling the fluid flow when its cold,, when the rack and pinion gets hot, the valve bore expands and "corrects" the clearance which in turn, controls the fluid flow. The valve body bore in the rack and pinion housing is worn where the teflon rings ride against the bore.
This is nothing that can be fixed except by replacing the entire rack and pinion gear. Drain ALL the power steering fluid from the pump also and fill with fresh new fluid.

Aug 01, 2017 | 2005 Nissan Altima

1 Answer

Whining noise from power steering pump, have ftted new pump noise still there


It is possible that your PS fluid is the wrong type or has broken down. There are differences in the composition, not all PS fluids are alike. Chrysler, for instance uses something different than Ford and the pumps will whine and fail if the wrong fluid is used. This may be true with Mercedes.

Check with Mercedes for specs for your requirements. It is possible that the rack and pinion which moves the front wheels has issues and is either leaking internally or is binding. Binding requires the pump to work harder. The output of your new pump can be pressure tested as well as the rack and pinion.

A transmission shop would have hydraulic testing gauges or Mercedes will. It may be cheaper to try and bleed the old fluid out of the system, front wheel off the ground. Then disconnect line to rack and pinion and work rack side to side to bleed fluid. Then install new fluid and see if it helped.

Feb 01, 2012 | Mercedes-Benz Cars & Trucks

6 Answers

I have a 2002 KIA Sedona that has an issue with it's steering. When making turns, the steering wheel seems to hit 'rough' spots as if I were turning a polished wheel against a smooth surface where the wheel has small patches of roughened areas on it, causing it to almost 'hesitate' when turning. The fluid level is fine in the power steering reservoir, and the serpentine belt seems to be in good condition. Any ideas?


This sounds like textbook steering rack failure. If the internal seals wear out the rack will leak fluid internally, causing the exact symptoms you're describing. These can be rebuilt, but it's hardly worth the effort. It's less headache and only slightly more expensive to replace it.

Aug 08, 2009 | 2002 Kia Sedona

1 Answer

is there an adjustment on a ford rack and pinion


could you have a binding tie rod end or ball joint?  Yes there is adjustment on the rack and pinion at the tie rod ends. 

Oct 21, 2008 | 1994 Ford Mustang

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