By November 7, 2007 3 Comments Read More →

Rack and Pinion Replacement Cost

Hey Austin,


A friend of mine owns a Nissan Maxima. He has a bad rack and pinion and wants me to do the job of installing a new one. I have never installed one before but I have been researching and feel confident that I could, being that I have done suspension/steering work before.

I actually have done a wheel alignment by hand on my old Saturn (I know Jesus was with me on that one) which surpisingly worked out beautifully. My question is, on this model car, how would you rate the difficulty and is the rack and pinion on this car located behind the cross member? I am a basic DIY’er that learns very quickly but I do not have the tools to raise an engine.

On another note, I own an old Nissan Altima with 108k miles on it. I’m pretty sure the tierods are shot and I need a wheel alignment which I plan to take care of very soon but while I was making a u-turn the other day about 3/4 of a full right turn the wheel ‘fell in’ pulling hard to the right. I remember reading about a problem like this before and I can’t remember if it’s due to a bad strut/spring or if it were just bad tierods or what. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again and by the way, do you take donations? This is probably the second e-mail I sent to you and I really enjoy the quick and informative responses from you and would like to contribute however possible. Anyway, let me know.




Howdy Jose,

Hello again, how are you? I would rate the rack and pinion at a 6-7 out of a possible 10, 10 being the hardest. Working on your back in a driveway is going to be the hardest part. I don’t remember if you have to raise the engine, but if you do it will just be slightly and you can use a floor jack. I don’t really recall anything too wild and crazy about the repair…it will take about 5 -6 hours though.

On your other question, I don’t recall anything special about that problem either. I would look very closely at the mounting bolts for the rack and pinion, as sometimes the whole rack will move from side to side either do to worn out bushings or an internal problem in the rack itself.

I don’t know if I would replace the tie rods unless you can positively say they are worn out. I have not seen very many worn tie rods on these vehicles….at least not in my shop anyway. So, don’t jump to conclusions and start replacing parts.

Just visiting my site and thinking of me is more than enough donation…..but thank you anyway.


Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Rebecca Midkiff Huff

    Hi. I did a search for troubleshooting rack and pinion on a 96 Maxima. I sent my daughter to get her car aligned today as it was pulling to the left a bit in a straight stretch. They dragged her into the garage and told her that she needed new lower control arms and a whole new rack and pinion before it can be aligned. They scared her to death and quoted $1500 to do the job. She’s only 16 and I’m thinking maybe since I (being a woman) made the appointment perhaps they’re taking advantage. On a side note, my husband just replaced both cv joints. Is there something I’m missing here?

  • Austin Davis

    Thanks for your comment Chuck, nice work. Should have a smooth riding Maxima when you are all finished. The rack should be pretty easy compared to everything else you have done so far.

  • chuck

    hello i stumbled on this site while looking up replacing rack/pinion on 93 maxima ve.
    replaced struts an strut bearings control arms an lower ball joints, an now need to replace the rack… the control arms i found were pretty easy worst part is cutting off the inner metal part of front bushing, even that wasnt bad.