2007 Suzuki XL7 • 6 cylinder 4WD Automatic • 100,000 miles

I own a 2007 suzuki XL7 and I have been getting this weird squeaky sound when I steer. I went to suzuki today for check-up and they said it is the rack/pinion problem and told me it would cost me about 1300 dollars + labor. Is it worth it to replace the rack/pinion or if I don't mind the squeaking is it okay to drive with the old one? Is the price that they are giving me is good price or too expensive? Since the dealershop does give expensive price for fixing cars.
April 7, 2011.

You can have the same job done three times at a Chrysler dealership for that price! There are a few designs that have mounting brackets riveted on with rubber bushings that can squeak, but other than that, mechanical squeaks aren't typically caused by the rack assembly itself. I would suggest getting a second opinion and if possible, have them bring you right under the car to show you exactly what is making the noise.

There is also a tool called the "Chassis Ear" that can be used to identify the source of the noise. It is a set of six microphones, a switch box, and head phones. You clip them on suspect points, then switch between them while driving and listening. Be aware that many mechanics have never seen or even heard of that tool. I can post a link to one tool vendor if necessary.

If you can make the squeak occur while standing still, have a helper turn the steering wheel while you poke your head next to each wheel and listen. Tight ball joints and upper strut mounts would be more likely suspects but it's impossible to second guess your current mechanic since we aren't right there to see it for ourselves.

Some cars also have a problem with the rubber seal around the steering shaft where it goes through the firewall. It makes a rubbing-type noise when turning, more so when it's cold. A little grease from a spray can will solve that for a couple of years.

As for the price, I would hope for that much money they were installing a brand new rack and pinion assembly. Other than for warranty repairs, that is rarely done. It is standard practice to install a rebuilt rack when the vehicle is out of warranty. They cost about one quarter as much as a new one and in the case of many original racks, they have some major improvements to increase their life. This is very important on GM cars.

The most expensive COMMON rack I ever installed cost less than $250.00 for a rebuilt one. Yours might be more for a relatively new and a less-common car. Really difficult ones might take four hours to replace, then an alignment will also be needed. You can do the math. Good dealerships have to charge close to $100.00 per hour labor to pay all the bills. You can't deny them a profit but I'm pretty sure you can get a better price from an independent repair shop. If I'm wrong, there is probably something about your car I'm not aware of that is the reason for the high price.

Apr 7, 2011.
Wait a minute. $1300.00 PLUS labor! Explain to them you only want the rack and an alignment, not a new car! Had I read your post correctly the first time I would have replied with a few more exclamation points!

Apr 7, 2011.