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Broken Rack and Pinion

Need some input. Took my girl friends car to Firestone for a popping noise. I thought it could have been CV related, but was diagnosed needing a new ball joint on passenger front. Work was completed and we noticed when driving home that the car had a heavy pull to the right. It drove fine before we had the work done. They are saying there is no way for them to cause this damage. The dealership states that if manipulated it can ruin it since it is electronic. How can I prove that it was Firestones fault???

Take it to another shop, have the alignment and the work done checked. Have them look for anything that Firestone did wrong.

Nothing more I can say considering you didn’t even tell us what kind of car this is or if your girlfriend hit anything, like a curb or pothole that preceded this need for a repair.

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If you needed a ball joint, the tire might have worn unevenly, causing the pull. If that’s the case, Firestone did nothing wrong.

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My apologies. It is a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Nothing has been hit. I have driven the car, and prior to the work the steering was correct.

Took it to a dealership service center. The work was reviewed however they didn’t say for sure that it was Firestone’s fault. The car had been at the dealership for recall service 3 weeks prior and hooked up to diagnostics. Nothing was found outside of the recall work being performed.

The delaership stated that the rack and pinion had to be manipulated without the car being on which would cause the issue. I know that working on the ball joint that mechanic turned the direction of the wheel from the rotor side. How to prove that is the question without he said she said?

It is impossible to prove.

It is also a poor design from Jeep, in my opinion, as this would be a normal thing in any front end service. I have electric steering and do this sort of thing all the time, but it is a Ford, not a Jeep.

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That’s not the only issue. You’re not only trying to prove that someone did something wrong, you’re trying to prove there is a problem to begin with, which you haven’t proved, and might be wrong about.

Let me regale you with a story.

My Honda Civic needed new struts. The car was driving fine, but when I got my tires rotated, the mechanic noticed a weird wear pattern on the tires that had been on the rear of the vehicle. He checked the alignment, and since it didn’t explain the wear pattern on the tires, he deduced that I needed new struts.

After they rotated the tires and installed the new struts, the car pulled to the right. When I looked at the front right tire, I could see why. The struts being worn out had made the tire wear unevenly, and when they replaced the struts and aligned the car, the whole uneven tread was no longer making even contact with the road.

Had I not seen the uneven tread wear on the front right tire for myself, I might have assumed the car was not properly aligned.

The tires still have enough tread left that I’m not replacing them, although I am seeing some signs of dry rot, so I won’t put off replacement much longer, but the moral of the story is that the car pulls to the right and the alignment and suspension are in perfect working order, all because of uneven tread wear that happened before the car’s last alignment.

A car’s suspension system is pretty complex, so a lot of things can happen. If you get the suspension checked out by more than one mechanic, and both of them tell you there is nothing wrong with it, the odds are they are right, and you’re reading too much into a symptom.

If this pulling is something you can’t live with, you could try rotating your tires or replacing them, or at least inspecting them, measuring the tread depth on multiple parts of the tread. That might help shed some light on what’s going on.


Some jeep cherokees have standard steering and some have elec assist steering. it does say the elec assist steering needs to be reprogrammed by the dealer if you replace it. but you did not replace it.

If the inner tie rod end is twisted off the rack without securing the rack with the proper wrench the rack housing will likely be cracked.

The 13th image shows using 2 open end wrenches to remove the inner rack. On most vehicles the correct open end wrench can hold the rack in place but a specific tool is required to turn the tie rod end. It can be a difficult procedure and many mechanics just use the long socket tool to twist the tie rod end leaving the rack to be held by the housing and often the housing cannot withstand the stress.