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2005 Camry Replacement of Power Steering Rack & Front Struts

We have a 2005 Camry XLE, with 102,00 miles on it. It has been very well cared for, and only serviced by our Dealer.

We would like to keep the vehicle for another 50,000 miles.

We have had an assessment of the vehicle done by the Dealer, because our brakes were very soft.

He found a great deal of air in the lines and flushed them out.

He also found:

1.) Leaks in the power steering rack, which he graded as a level 8 severity on a 10 point scale. Repair estimate is $1100 to replace and align.

2.) Both front struts are cracked and graded for sverity as an 8 on a scale of 10. Estimated replacement and alignment cost is $800.

What do you think:

A.) Are these safety issues ?

B.) What are the consequences of delay ?

C.) Are these problems indicative of other likely problems ?

D.) Is it a fair price ?

E.) Is it better to have a Dealer perform the repairs ?

Thanks for any advice you can provide.


I would be firs concerned about how air got in your brake lines. The usual way is for the reservoir for the master cylinder to get low on fluid because of a leak. It is possible that if the master cyl was not full when the last brake job was done, wearing of the pads or shoes could drop the fluid but that probably means you need a brake job.
I would take the car to a good independent shop for evaluation and/or repair.
My experience with two different Toyota dealers recently is that they are overselling like mad.
Even if both repairs are needed, they will be cheaper at the independent. Do not go to a chain tire, muffler, transmission, auto parts, or department store for repairs.

The repairs you need are not unexpected. Those are serviceable items that don’t last for ever. However…it does sound like you may drive the vehicle a little too hard…Cracked struts are not very common.

I’m also with OldTimer…How the heck is air getting in the brake line?? Air can be introduced when you replace a caliper…but air just doesn’t find it’s way in - it’s a sealed system.

I see two possible scenarios

. The dealer is a crook…and he’s taking you for a ride. The air in brake line is awfully fishy. I’d think the rest of the repairs are suspect. While steering racks to need replacement from time to time…they can also easily last the life of the vehicle. My wifes first Honda accord - we ended up replacing the rack about 300k miles. The struts should last longer…unless you’re a very aggressive driver and drive over a lot rough roads.

. The dealer is OK…and those repairs are still needed.

If you do need these repairs…I’d think about finding a good independent shop. Front struts for $800 is extremely high. A good independent should be able to do the job for less the half that with good quality struts that are as good or better then the OEM struts. Same thing with the rack.

Do yourself a favor and shop around.


Please show us pictures of this leaking rack and the cracked struts

FWIW . . . I have a 2005 LE Camry V6. The rack bellows are greasy, indicating that the rack isn’t 100% anymore. Yet I don’t have to top off the fluid. So I’m talking a very slow leak.

My front struts are also pretty greasy. Yet my cars rides very nicely.

My point is this . . . perhaps your rack leak is leaking very slowly.

I have a hard time believing your struts are cracked. Strut mounts, on the other hand . . .

Okay, I have a 2005 LE with 102K miles. The rack is fine, I just drain and refill the power steering fluid periodically. Not sure if yours is loosing fluid or not, if not then I would not bother with a new rack at this point.
The struts on these cars have some seepage and this is by design (there is a Toyota TSB somewhere about this), but most any shop would try and sell you new struts. I don’t believe youu ar would have cracked struts without any noticeable symptom. If it is not bouncing all over, handles well, then just get a second opinion.

Your car is getting old, stop going to the dealer and find a local reliable shop.

I think the OP means the strut springs are cracked.

If they are, you have to get this fixed. If a broken coil comes in contact with a tire it can cause sudden failure of the tire.

This tire came off a Camry.


So your struts are dry, not leaking any fluid? But they have cracks? Can you provide a little more info on what part of strut is actually cracked?

If this dealer found a great deal of air in the brakes and cured all by flushing the air out as it was referred to, then maybe you need to get another opinion on everything.

Seeing as how the question was posed about consequences for delays, it raises the point about how noticeable any symptoms are.

Any past history at this dealer of being sold repeated induction cleanings, fuel injection cleanings, or windshield washer fluid flushes? (The last being satirical in nature.)

First, I don’t believe the brake lines had air in them. When the pads and/or the caliper slide pins become rusted and/or seized, this will cause a low pedal feel. The brakes need disassembled and cleaned. Second, I think you mean that the front “springs” are cracked (I’ve never seen a cracked strut). THAT is very important to get fixed properly. or whatever reason, those years (02-06) break springs, and you can have an instantaneous tire failure, as shown above. Very important! Third, as far as the Rack and pinion goes, have you been adding fluid? My Camry rack had been slightly seeping for years. It was only when the right inner tie rod seal blew out and I was adding a quart a day, that I fixed it. Not all dealers are created equally. I’d take it to another dealer for a second opinion. Don’t go to an independent shop. If you think the dealer is hosing you, you should see what kind of bs indy shops try to sell customers, and then they bring their cars to us (I’m a Toyota Master Tech) to honestly, and properly fix. My dealer was the first in Northeast Ohio to open up, back in the early 70’s, when no one wanted a Toyota. We worked for years to build our customer base through trust, and “fix it right the first time” mentality. Also, not all technicians are created equally. Some are cheats. Take it to another TRUSTED Toyota dealer for a second opinion, and if you need to, another for a third opinion. In the end, with the findings, you’ll be able to see who’s being honest. Just don’t tell the other dealer TOO much, or they’ll try to sell you the same stuff, potentially. The springs are about $300.00 for the pair, now…do you replace the struts and mounts while you’re in there? I would! The labor is the same. We get 3.0 hrs labor for the pair. If you go to an indy shop, you’re playing roulette. They use lower quality parts, and often have installation issues (Toyota struts have an index notch that many aftermarket shops tend to mis-align, causing a knocking noise, and eventually the notch to be smashed, and now you need new struts again! Maybe I’m biased, but a Toyota tech fixes the SAME products everyday. You DO get factory trained techs, and that means something. Now, just find out which dealer is cheating, exagerating, or being honest. At times, they’re al guilty of one or another. Cheers.