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What Is a Rack & Pinion Used for?

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Photography taken by Mario Gutiérrez./Moment/GettyImages

The rack and pinion system is a widely-used power steering system. Its straightforward design can be implemented into most power steering systems.


The rack and pinion system assists in power steering of many vehicles including minivans, cars and some trucks and sport-utility-vehicles.

Major Components

The rack and pinion system consists of a steering rack and pinion shaft. These two major components work together in the power-steering process.

How It Works

The system works by directing power steering fluid to the correct end of the cylinder when the wheel is turned. The pressure helps move the rack to ease steering. When you turn the wheel to the right, the pinion shaft pushes the rack to the left, which in turn guides the tires in the correct way.

Other Components

Besides the obvious rack and pinion, other components make up the system. The rack and pinion are housed in separate assemblies which also house bearings, guides, screws and nuts. The two assemblies are attached together.


Rack and pinions are relatively simple and often last upwards of 100,000 miles, according to There are several problems which can affect the system, such as fluid leaks and contamination.


With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.

Photo Credits

Photography taken by Mario Gutiérrez./Moment/GettyImages