2008 Lexus IS 250 - steering locks up on nannie in cold

2008 Lexus IS250 AWD

Hey yall, so our live in nanny has a this car… and we live in Maine. Whenever it gets super cold, like below 30 degrees - the cars steering locks up. It only starts working well after the car warms up, it still feels kind of tough when steering, we took it to the shop, and they said no codes, no clue!?

You need a better mechanic. My guess is the belt for the power steering pump is slipping. The steering rack might be failing, putting extra stain on the pump when cold.


Good nannie car. I’d try to work through that with a good mechanic.

Sounds like the power steering motor is weak or failing in cold weather. A new steering rack is $2,500 for that car so I wouldn’t want to guess, you will need to leave the car at the shop for diagnoses during cold weather. No belt or hydraulic pump involved with this car.

I wouldn’t install a new R & P assembly in a 12 year-old car.

I’d install a remanufactured unit.



I know you are not from Maine from the hey yall and the fact than no one from Maine thinks that 30 degrees is cold.

Ignore the comments about the belts or pumps. As tester has pointed out, your car has electric power. steering.

I didn’t know those parts were so expensive. I may be rethinking how long I will keep my 2012 Camry.

Well, after taking the car to two shops we isolated the problem to the steering rack. Everyone is confused on the issue, since apparently they’ve never seen a steering rack fail. I’m debating doing it since now it works fine, and only causes issues when it’s extremely cold.

I’m debating getting a remote starter, so that our au pair can warm the car up from inside the house. Of course my wife is leaning toward riding the rack.

The quote we got for a refurbished unit was 2500 installed.

What do y’all think?

No sure what you mean by that. Yes, steering racks do fail and if it seizes it will do it at the worst possible time . So get a few repair prices and fix it.


Has no one looked at the power steering fluid and pump yet? Because I’m guessing it’s not “locking up,” but that the power steering isn’t working and it therefore requires a lot more force to turn the wheel.

2006 and newer IS 250/350 Lexus vehicles have electric power steering, no pump or fluid to check on the vehicle.

There is a recall for the power steering assemblies on the 2006 and 2007 Lexus IS vehicles for failure/replacement of the power steering rack assembly but the 2008 IS is not included.

Warming up the car will not warm up the rack. Having a nanny drive a car you know has a defective steering rack andput you at risk for extreme liability damages from an accident. As it should.

1 Like

Quite right, my mistake. For some reason I was thinking the electronic PS came on later.

In that case, the motor needs to be checked, especially for loose connections that might separate when cold.

I am scheduling the fix ASAP. I can’t in good conscious let them drive in that car. For 2500, I crunched the numbers and its worth fixing rather than buying a new car.

Thanks for the help everyone. Happy holidays.

Fixing the rack*