Power steering actuator

I have a 2005 Suzuki Forenza with a diagnosed problem with the power steering actuator. The repair shop told me this is not a serious problem and doesn’t effect the driving of the car. I’m not convinced, and I want to know what the actuator does and if I should be concerned.

Exactly what are the symptoms?

The system consists of a rack, which is a pinion gear that turns a flat bar with gear teeth, contained in a sealed tube, a “piston” integrated into the system that allows pressurized fluid into the tube on one side of the piston or other depending on which way you turn, a “spool valve” that controls the flow of fluid to one side or the other, and a pressure pump. There is no part called an “actuator”, but people used to nonautomotive hydraulic systems sometimes use that term for either the rack or the spool valve. I’m trying to find out what’s bad and how it’s acting.

And the answer to the question is…?