One of the main differences between rack-and-pinion steering and other types – mostly recirculating-ball steering – is the direct connection of the components. Recirculating-ball systems transfer steering forces through a series of gears and ball bearings that tend to diminish the feel of the tires on the road. That feel is transmitted better by a steering rack. (Recirculating-ball steering systems are better suited to heavy-duty vehicles, because they can be engineered to bring greater forces to bear for turning the front wheels.)
Rack-and-pinion steering also is more precise. A small degree of movement with the steering wheel brings immediate results on the road. Other steering systems tend to have some play in the steering wheel when traveling straight down the road. The rack-and- pinion system has proven more active and fun to drive.
Plus, the simpler rack-and-pinion steering systems are easy to service, which contributes to a lower cost of ownership.
Important things to note about steering system care and maintenance:
- When checking fluid levels under the hood, don't overlook the power steering fluid reservoir. (Check it monthly.) Markings on the reservoir indicate maximum and minimum levels for the fluid when hot or cold.
- Do not hold the steering wheel at the fully locked position (left or right) for more than five seconds, because it may damage seals within the system.