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Noise in front end?

have a 2002 Civic with 75K miles on it. single owner. started hearing soft ‘thud’ noises when steering (one thud per turn), especially at low speed. can replicate same type of noise by quickly turning the wheel L&R (with vehicle stationary) by about 1/4 turn.

mechanic checked out the front axle and says all parts are tight, and nothing should be making noise.

was told noise comes from within rack&pinion assembly, which is in need of replacement.

does it make sense? is diagnosis correct (at least approximatively)? is 700$ the fair price for this repair?

Possible; especially if the steering unit leaked and ran out of or very low on fluid. However, you need a competent front end mechanic (second opinion) to tell you exactly what it is.

If it is indeed the rack & pinion unit the $700 is not out of line; is this for a NEW or a rebuilt unit?

I would get this fixed soon; driving with a steering defect can be suicidal!

never had any sign of fluids leaking from this car.
did not ask about new vs rebuilt; price as quoted was about 350$ for parts and about 300$ for labour.
will check level of fluids tonight.