Is it really the Rack and Pinion?


I’ve got a 2000 Civic sedan with a manual transmission. I got it used a few years back and every time I have it checked out they say it’s holding up pretty well.

This past weekend I took it in to an unnamed chain automotive shop and mentioned a clicking noise from the undercarriage. They claim that the rack and pinion has been leaking into a boot for a long time and needs to be replaced. The steering is still tight and doesn’t drift at all. I don’t know a whole lot about cars but the explanation just doesn’t sound right.

The clicking is pretty faint. I can hear it from the left side of the car, usually when I take my foot off the accelerator at the end of first gear. It also sometimes clicks when depressing or releasing the accelerator in other gears, just not as frequently. I had a passenger listen and he didn’t hear anything from the right side.

If I had to guess based on the noise I’d say it’s just a loose piece of metal banging around down there.

What do you guys think?

Take it to a muffler shop, and ask if they can find a loose heat shield.


The two are unrelated, but it is possible that the rack is leaking into the boot. You would not necessarily notice this at all from the feel of the steering if it is a slow leak. Get it checked out by somebody else if you don’t trust the diagnosis. If it is leaking, it’s only going to get worse over time. Eventually you will need to replace the unit.

I noticed today that it happened when I was braking, so I’m going to assume it’s sudden movements that cause it.

If we assume that the 2 are unrelated and that the rack and pinion has been leaking is it dangerous? Or will it usually present a symptom or two before becoming a real problem?

I was planning on driving a few hundred miles this weekend but if I need to put off the trip I can.

You need to go to a proper Honda mechanic and get this car sorted out. Whatever the actual problem is, it’s not something you can do youself, and for some reason I don’t trust the first shop’ inital diagnosis. Out of curiosity how many miles are on this civic?

sounds like you might have a inner or outer tie rod bad. the rack might be leaking but get a 2nd oppion.

Its a little early for the rack and pinion to go out, but its about the right time for the CV boots to go, and when they split, the CV joint itself goes bad very quickly. If the clicking noise occurs mostly when accelerating while turning, then get those CV joints looked at soon. Once they start clicking, that axle has to be replaced. You can replace them with remanufactured axles, but I have had very poor luck with remans. You can go with new Honda axles, quite expensive, or you may be able to find someone in your area that sells EMPI or GSP axles. They are made in China, cost about the same as a good reman, but are almost as good as a new OEM axle.

Here is a source if you need to get them yourself to DYI or for your mechanic. The GSP’s are available at Advance Auto Parts or were anyway.

The rack and pinion on my vehicle makes a pop clicking noise near the threaded tie-rod interface. Just be sure you track down the source of the noise before doing any repairs or you’ll end up throwing parts at the problem. You need to get under the vehicle and hear the noise yourself.

145k miles.

Thanks for the link

I don’t think the click corresponds with turning, but I’ll keep an ear out for it. Thanks for the info.