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Sorry to hear about your vehicle issues.
A rack and pinion is a pair of gears which convert rotational motion into linear motion. The circular pinion engages teeth on a flat bar - the rack. Rotational motion applied to the pinion will cause the rack to move to the side, up to the limit of its travel.
The rack and pinion arrangement is commonly found in the steering mechanism of cars or other wheeled, steered vehicles. This arrangement provides a much less backlash and greater feedback, or steering "feel" then other mechanisms.
If the rack and pinion were to fail, this could lead to accidents by preventing the driver to steer correctly. A failed rack and pinion will cause the steering wheel to become extremely stiff to turn, bind up while turning and cause loose play in the steering wheel. If the rack and pinion were too completely lock up, or not be present on the vehicle at all, this would render the vehicle useless, as you would have no way of steering the vehicle left or right.
The failed power steering pump is the component that pumps appropriate fluid through the power steering system. Without the fluid, the power steering assistance is completely useless. This, too, will cause extremely stiff steering especially at lower speeds.
I hope this helps you.
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Friday, December 5th, 2008 AT 7:25 PM