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.
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.
April, 7, 2011 AT 7:13 AM
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!
February, 9, 2015 AT 3:32 PM
I have had several rack and pinion repairs. The dealership cannot seem to correct this problem and every time it breaks, there's a squealing, squeaky noise out of the steering column. There is no way this should continually happen and a cursory Google search shows it's common but Suzuki is doing nothing to address it. I'm thinking of starting a class action suit. Any interest out there? I can be contacted at dacouponmom at yahoo. Com.
February, 10, 2015 AT 3:11 PM
You have to be more specific on the type of failure. If all you're getting is a noise, regardless how irritating it might be, that is not a safety or emissions-related issue, so don't expect a recall or the involvement of any government agency. All car models have their own personalities with all of one model developing the same irritations. If you're hearing a squeaking or rubbing noise only when you turn the steering wheel, that is usually due to the type of grease used at the factory where the steering shaft goes through the rubber boot at the firewall. Chrysler had that problem in the mid '90s, and they issued a service bulletin for that. Service bulletins are not recalls. They are fixes for common problems that occur on many of one model, and are difficult to diagnose. They are meant to save the mechanic diagnostic time, and therefore, save you money. In this case, their suggested repair took about 20 minutes, and we were able to condense it down to a 30 second procedure. We commonly performed it for free on most cars during routine oil changes as a customer appreciation extra. The fix just involved applying a different type of grease for use in cold weather. If your mechanic is replacing the rack assembly for this noise, that is not the proper fix. Doing this will disturb the grease enough to mask the noise for a few weeks or months, or until cold weather shows up
If your rack and pinion assembly is physically breaking, that would be extremely unusual and there has to be some other underlying cause. A part of the frame or suspension would have to be broken causing the rack assembly to take on the role of a structural member.
When you have a problem we can help with you need to start a new post. When you piggyback on this one, only three people will see it and have a chance to reply. That's you, me, and the original person, Sun1990 in this case. No one else will see it because it will go off the list of questions awaiting an answer.
We don't promote lawsuits on this site. You're already paying a lot extra on every repair bill due to all the government regulations we have to comply with, and every time we touch your vehicle, we have legal issues on our mind. You could be paying half the hourly labor charge if we didn't have to worry about lawsuits. Also, mechanics are held to much higher standards than doctors, and too many people scream "lawsuit" when half of the complaints are due to the car owners coupled with the mechanics' poor communication skills.
As a former tv repairman, I had to worry about my repairs burning your house down. As a suspension and alignment specialist, I have to worry about overlooking a part that is about to break and cause a crash, on the one hand, and erring on the side of caution on the other hand, then being accused of selling unneeded parts. Conscientious mechanics stress over balancing the quality and reliability of the repair with your cost of those repairs.
You need to look for a forum where numerous people can add comments and can be seen by anyone. This site doesn't work that way. Here, these are ongoing conversations usually between just two people. Also, as a point of interest, about half of the problems I help solve are done over days or weeks and dozens of replies to analyze observations and test results. The other half I answer the first time because I've already run into the problems and fixes many times before. That goes to show that all car models have their recurring noises, vibrations, and other common breakdowns, which is what you appear to have. It's only the safety or emissions-related ones that warrant recalls or lawsuits, or for some manufacturers, to address customer satisfaction concerns.
Now that you are here already, it's fine to post your replies here, but consider starting a new one so the other experts can see it and have a chance to reply. There may be someone here who has run into your problem before and knows the exact part numbers and procedures for a proper repair.