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Confirmed, rack and pinion need replaced

Just finished up at third different shop having my steering inspected due to sticky, to sluggish issues with turning left. All three said the same thing, replace R&P and the high presure lines. What all three didn’t agree on was cost. Price ranges from $680 to $800. My question what is a fair cost on that kind of work.

Car: 2003 Impala 3.8 engine, 117,000 miles.

You have estimates and your area might be different from someone else in cyberspace. Choose one, have car fixed and drive on.

Which shop has the best reputation? I would choose the shop which does a lot of alignment and front end work.

The price may be partly due to the quality of the replacemt box, new oem, rebuilt or aftermarket would be worth finding out to help guide your decision.

That’s actually a pretty close range, within 15% of one another. And even the $800 seems quite reasonable.

AC Delco Rack and Pinion unit $466.98
2 outer tie rods $54.14
PS pressure line $58.38
Fluid $8.00
Labor $480.00
Alignment $89.95

Subtotal $1157.45
Sales tax$111.12
Total $1268.57

FWIW . . . I’m guessing all of those quotes are for non-GM remanned units

There’s nothing out of line with any of the estimates and one should not expect every shop to provide an identical price quote. There are simply too many variables.

Your quotes ate reasonable; I would go with the shop that has the best reputation. Those shops don’t use poor quality remanufactured parts.

Ask whether the rack and pinion is new , used, or remanufactured, and who the OEM is.

I doubt any reputable repair shop will install a used rack

And if they are doing so, they should be VERY clear about it. The language should be such, that a blind man couldn’t misunderstand it

The shop I am going with is one I have had them do other work and they only use new and do quality work. They told me over the past few years they are seeing more and more of this repair due to large pot holes tearing the R&P up. They said it’s about a 4 hour job.

I don’t see how a quality rack (new) with new tie rods, pressure hose, and alignment can be done for $800. Something doesn’t add up.

Does anyone else recall the “morning sickness” plague that afflicted power rack&pinions 30 years ago. The OP’s complaint sounded somewhat along those lines.

Don’t need the rods, just had them replaced in the past year.

Alignment is free.

@RodKnox Yes, I had the rack on my Ford Granada replaced with a rebuilt unit from Midas for $350 at that time. It functioned well until I sold the car.

Early GM racks in the 80s had poor wearing materials and many were replaced under warranty.

With the prices so similar, and assuming there’s nothing of import in the estimate break-down, it’s a coin flip. My first choice would be the shop I’d had good experiences with prior. In absence of that, I’d use the shop that had the best recommendations from friends, co-workers, fellow pub goers, etc. If I still couldn’t decide, I’d use the shop with the middle price.

Outside of saying hitting a bad pothole, what causes the Rack and Pinion to go bad?

It’s just normal wear and tear. It’s a moving part with a finite life span, like any other part of a machine.

Is 117,000 miles far amount of milage on it when it would start to fail?