The steering rack

Would someone please tell me how I can tell that the steering rack in my car needs replaced? Thanks!!!

Usual failure mode is the power-steering fluid leaks out of the rack…Or the car does not steer properly and the cause has been isolated down to the rack…

What are your symptoms?

The racks fail typically by leakage through the bushings or by the spool valve failing, making it hard to turn one way.

There is some crackling type noises going on near the dashboard when I go over some bumps…I originally thought it was something with my dashboard, but a repairman at my local dealership told me otherwise, but told me that at that time that it wasn’t really worth it to replace the steering rack.

Another symptom of steering rack problems is intermittent “binding” while turning the wheel.
Sort of a “now it’s there, now it’s not” feeling.

I have to say that I have never heard of “crackling type noises going on near the dashboard when I going over bumps” being a symptom of a bad steering rack. I would suggest that you have this situation checked by an independent mechanic, just to be sure of the condition of the steering rack and other front-end components.

A worn-out steering rack is a genuine safety issue, so this is something that you need to be sure about, rather than just ignoring it.

I’ve never heard of a crackling noise complaint on a steering rack. It is possible that if the ball sockets on the inner tie rods are worn out that a fast rattling or knocking noise may occur when hitting a bump or pothole.
If the tie rods are worn out (assuming both sides) you’re better off replacing the entire rack as the cost of new tie rods and boots may approach the cost of a rack.

I don’t understand the comment about the rack not being worth replacement, but if this comment came from a service writer it may be understandable as few of these people have any mechanical aptitude.

If one takes this crackling noise complaint literally, is it possible that this noise is not the steering rack at all and is simply an exhaust heat shield rattle? It’s something to consider.