Your rack and pinion (also known as the steering rack) should be covered by your extended warranty as long as you don’t have powertrain coverage, which doesn’t cover steering components.
All 25 providers we reviewed have at least 1 plan which covers your rack and pinion.
If you do currently have an extended warranty plan, you can check below to see if you’re covered. If you don’t, and you’re searching for one that will cover your rack and pinion, scroll down to the end.
Without further adieu…
Manufacturer Extended Warranty Plans That Cover Your Rack & Pinion
Before we continue, we need to clear one thing up. If your car has less then 36,000 miles or you’ve owned it for less than 3 years (or 5 years/60,000 miles if you have a Hyundai), your car has its factory warranty, which will cover your rack and pinion.
That goes for all car manufacturers, at least in the US. If you buy your car new, or get it used before it reaches the mileage or age above, you’re covered by the factory warranty.
You don’t have to read any further if this is the case! Call the claims number in the warranty handbook that came with your vehicle, and from there you’ll be able to take your car in to get your rack and pinion fixed. an
The factory warranty isn’t what we’re covering here.
What we’re talking about here is colloquially known as an “extended warranty”, even though it’s not actually a warranty.
According to the 1975 Magnuson-Moss act, in order to be qualified as a true warranty, the warranty needs to be included in the purchase price of what you’re buying.
An “extended warranty”, also known as a vehicle service contract, on the other hand, is purchased separately.
That’s what we’re talking about here.
These are the 15 largest automotive manufacturers by sales in the US, and which of their “extended warranties” actually cover your rack and pinion.
|Make||Plans That Cover Rack & Pinion|
|Toyota||Platinum Protection, Gold Protection|
|Honda||New, Near New, Certified Additional Coverage, Pre-Owned, Sentinel Plus|
|Chevy||Platinum Coverage, Silver Coverage|
|Ford||PremiumCare, ExtraCare, BaseCare|
|Jeep (Dodge, Ram, Chrystler, Fiat)||Maximum Care|
|Subaru||Gold Plus, Classic|
|Nissan||Gold Preferred, Silver Preferred, Powertrain Preferred|
|Hyundai||Platinum, CPO Platinum|
Having looked through all of these plans, I can confidently tell you that as long as you didn’t buy the basic coverage, your rack and pinion should be covered.
By basic coverage, I mean the lowest tier plan offered by these manufacturers, which is usually a powertrain plan that only protects your engine, transmission, and drive train.
3rd Party Vehicle Service Contracts That Cover Your Rack & Pinion
A 3rd party vehicle service contract is very similar to a manufacturer vehicle service contract.
The companies listed here either specialize in insurance or vehicle service contracts exclusively, which gives you more options beyond the manufacturer vehicle service contract.
These 10 companies listed below are 10 of the largest and most reputable vehicle service contract providers.
|Company||Plans That Cover Rack & Pinion|
|Ally||Flex Coverage Ultra|
|American Auto Shield||Diamond, Platinum, Deluxe, Aluminum, Bronze|
|autopom!*||Mercury Deluxe, Royal Premium, EFG Deluxe, Royal Preferred|
|Carchex**||All Titanium Plans, All Gold Plans, Allegiance Silver|
|Concord Auto Protect||Concord Premium, Concord Advanced|
|Endurance Warranty||Supreme, Superior, Secure Plus|
|Infinite Auto Protect||Prime, Modern|
|Omega Auto Care||New Exclusionary, Used Stated|
|Protect My Car||Superior, Select|
*Mercury Platinum MBI, Royal Elite Plus MBI, Mercury Gold MBI, Royal Premium MBI, Mercury Silver, Royal Standard MBI also cover rack and pinion but are available for CA only.
**Plans from Royal Administration Services will cover the rack and pinion with an optional add on.
In other words, your rack and pinion repair will be covered by your warranty as long as you have more than basic powertrain coverage.
How To Submit A Claim For Your Rack And Pinion Repair
If your vehicle service contract covers your rack and pinion, you’ll need to submit a claim in order to have your repair paid for.
Failure to follow the correct claims process can result in your claim being denied even if your rack and pinion is covered.
Obviously that’s not ideal, considering replacing your rack and pinion can be PRICEY.
And by pricey, I mean up to $2,000 dollars.
So give me 2 minutes of your time and let me save you from a potentially expensive headache.
Sound fair to you?
The claims process will be slightly different for each provider. For specific instructions find the section in your policy booklet for submitting a claim.
- Stop driving your car immediately if you suspect something has gone wrong with your struts.
- Use the 24/7 roadside assistance provided by your vehicle service contract to have your car towed to the nearest mechanic that is covered under your policy.
- Before you authorize the mechanic to make any repairs, make sure you call the administrator of your contract. Your administrator’s contact info is listed in the policy book that goes with your warranty.
- Your administrator will determine if your strut repair is considered a covered repair. If it’s covered, they will provide an authorization (usually in the form of a code) after your mechanic sends them an estimate of repairs.
- Your administrator will then make sure everything checks out in terms of costs and coverage.
- The administrator may request an inspection of your vehicle, or to see service records prior to authorizing the repair. In my experience, this is uncommon, but you should be prepared for it.
- After the repair is authorized, the mechanic will replace your strut with a strut of the same kind and quality.
- Your administrator will then pay the repair shop directly, minus any deductible you have.
Are You Sure It’s Your Rack And Pinion That Has Issues?
First used by BMW in the 1930s, the rack and pinion started to see use in US models in the mid-1970s, with more complete acceptance by the end of the 1980s.
Dramatically oversimplifying the internal mechanics, the rack and pinion transforms your turning of the steering wheel (rotational motion) into the motion needed to turn the wheels (lateral motion). It also makes it easier to turn the wheel.
The rack and pinion system can wear over time as the gears are frequently engaged while driving and steering, although it’s generally a pretty hardy system.
But, it does get exposed to heat from the engine as well as water, dirt, and whatever else you find on the road.
The causes of damage vary. It’s possible for road debris to damage internal bushings and cause a leak. It’s also equally possible for the fluid to become contaminated which allows grit into the gears that causes damage.
Signs Of Rack And Pinion Damage
Besides the obvious signs, like low or discolored power steering fluid, or visible leaks, there are a few things you need to be on the lookout for.
1: Steering Wheel Tightness
Does your steering wheel feel like it’s suddenly fighting you for your lunch money? If your steering wheel is harder to turn than usual, there may be an issue with the power steering system – which can indicate low hydraulic pressure or other issues with your rack and pinion.
2: Leaking Red/Pink Fluid Accompanied By The Smell Of Burning Oil
Have you noticed any red or pink fluid dripping from the back of your motor? Does said fluid smell absolutely awful (like burning oil)? If you’ve sprung a leak, something is broken in your steering rack and you’ll want to take it to the mechanic as quickly as possible.
3: Your Car’s Steering Wanders To One Side
You know the feeling when you’re driving on the highway on a windy day and you can feel your car being blown around like a leaf in the breeze? If your rack and pinion is damaged, your car’s steering will act the same way. If you notice your car is pulling to one side, especially if you know your alignment is up to date, you may have damage to your steering rack.
4: Grinding While Steering
If you notice that your car is making a grinding noise when you’re taking corners at low speeds, you may have a rack and pinion issue. The grinding can be caused by debris getting into the pinion gear or low fluid levels in the steering rack. It’s also possible that your rack and pinion gear may have completely slipped out – which is serious.
5: “Dead” Spot On The Steering Wheel
If there’s a certain section of your steering wheel where you notice there’s no resistance until you turn past it, your steering rack may have become completely disconnected. Normally this means the pinion gear has become worn and is no longer connected.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, take your car to a mechanic right away to get to the bottom of what’s causing your symptoms.