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Symptom: Usually when the fluid level is low it is obvious where the fluid has gone because there's fluid either dripping off the steering rack, one of the hoses has split or the power steering pump has sprayed fluid all over the engine compartment. However there is a failure where the PAS fluid has disappeared but there are no leaks. This problem affects all vehicles but particularly vehicles with rubber rather than plastic steering rack gaiters.

Cause: The main steering rack seals are worn and the fluid is leaking passed into the steering rack gaiters. Releasing the clip holding the gaiter to the rack will usually result in being covered by power steering fluid. The rack gaiters only act as a barrier to stop water and road dirt from entering the power steering rack and also hold a small amount of grease to lubricate the rack bar and gear-teeth. Any more than a 50ml of power steering fluid inside the gaiters indicates a worn/blown rack seal. Steering racks with plastic gaiters seldom show this problem. Plastic gaiters don’t seal very well to the body of the rack and fluid leaking into the gaiters will quickly end up dripping on the floor and coating the underside of the vehicle.

Solution:The power steering rack needs to be replaced. A remanufactured power steering rack has these worn seals replaced. All our power steering racks are fitted with rubber gaiters as we consider they provide a better barrier to water and road dirt.