What Does A Steering Box Do?

If you asked even an experienced driver: what does a steering box do? Many will not be able to answer this question. Most people know that there are gears that help your engine to transfer power to the wheels, but don’t know the exact function. Find out more below!

Do you ever wonder what a steering box does? The steering gearbox is known to be one of the significant parts of the vehicle since it assists the driver in controlling the car appropriately.

Due to the steering box, your vehicle stays in proper alignment in the direction you are heading towards. 

We have mentioned the functions of a steering box and the signs and symptoms of a wrong steering box. If you notice any such issue or signs, you need to get your steering wheel checked and after that.

Let’s have a look at the functions of the steering box. 

What Does A Steering Box Do

What Is A Steering Gearbox?

The steering gearbox consists of different gears. This gear transfers the steering input applied by the driver. This is transferred to the gears due to which the wheels rotate. There are various types of steerings. 

One of the widely used steerings in almost all cars is rack and pinion steering. In this kind of steering, the pinion gear is moved, due to which the rack moves and turns the front wheel. 

Certain cars also consist of circulating ball systems where ball bearings are used and mounted upon the steering gear. 

You might like to read: What Gears For 35 Inch Tires?

The 4 Parts Of A Steering Box In Vehicles

#1. Steering gearbox

The steering gearbox is a crucial part of the vehicle as the gear is known to pass on the steering effort applied by the driver to the steering linkage.

Due to this linkage, the wheels of the steering box move in the direction you want to move it. Due to this, the front wheels move more than the steering wheel as the driver’s steering changes are multiplied. 

#2. Power steering pump 

The power steering pump functions as per the few rules. A slotted rotor is useful to assist the cylindrical cam. The rotor is placed inside the cam wall due to the two side plates. 

The cam will rotate, and the fluid moves into the pump. After that, the vanes are moved into the house’s walls because of the hydraulic pressure. 

What Does A Steering Box Do

Also read: Service Variable Effort Steering Meaning

#3. Steering rack

The steering box plays a vital role in controlling your vehicle. If the box doesn’t work adequately and gets damaged, it can affect the functioning of the steering as it doesn’t work correctly. If the steering rack gets damaged while driving, it can turn out to be dangerous for you. 

It can lead you into a dangerous situation. You can prevent this by checking out a damaged steering box or a bad one. 

It will help you save your time as you won’t get stuck anywhere while driving, and due to this, you can drive adequately without the risk of accidents due to a lousy steering wheel. It will also help you save money. 

#4. Central unit

With the help of central units, the signals and inputs are received from the steering column and steering wheel, and it is passed further to the steering shafts. Due to this, you can drive smoothly and take a turn safely in either direction. 

You might like to read: 4 Wheel Drive Locks Up When Turning – 2 Ways To Solve This Problem

4 Warning Signs Of A Damaged Steering Box 

Let’s understand the science of a damaged steering box. This could be a severe problem in your vehicle that you need to tackle as soon as possible.

#1. Damaged gearbox

A damaged gearbox usually occurs due to no lubrication, lack of service on time, when you do not repair it and leave it as it is, and when you cannot drive the vehicle smoothly.

If you do not take your vehicle for the servicing, you may hear a loud grinding noise coming out of your car due to the friction, the metal on metal contacts. 

This leads to loud noise when you rotate the steering wheel. It doesn’t work correctly when you do not lubricate your steering system adequately.

When do you listen to these sounds? This usually occurs when you pass by an uneven road surface or hit a pothole alongside the highway. The grinding noise becomes understandable when you are not traveling from a smooth surface.  

Don’t wait for a more extended period if you hear the grinding noise coming out of your steering box, as it can hamper your vehicle’s performance. Try to contact a mechanic immediately so that the person can quickly understand what the problems are and fix them. 

Also read: Blue Top Vs Red Head – Which Steering Box to Choose?

What Does A Steering Box Do

#2. When something smells like burning oil

A clear indication of a tight steering wheel is that burning smell. It impacts the steering box and your vehicle negatively. Due to this, you won’t be able to drive your car properly. The color of the oil which spills out of the steering wheel is always red or pink. It has a powerful smell. 

The pungent smell of burnt oil may be due to the steering fluid which leaks out of the vehicle. Another indication is that the steering box turns out to be very heated. If you suffer from any signs and symptoms, you will be able to recognize them easily. 

You might like to read: 6 Reasons Your Car’s RPM Goes Up When Pressing Brake

#3. Leakage of power steering fluid

When the power steering fluid leaks, it can cause damage to the gearbox and result in stiffness in the steering wheel. If you suffer from stiff or tight steering, then the power steering fluid levels may be less.

Nowadays, since all the steering boxes are powered hydraulically, the fluid levels won’t reduce until and unless it is leaking out into the vehicle. If you come across leakage of the power steering fluid, you may suffer from a huge problem, and you must fix it as soon as possible. 

It is essential to take action and overcome this problem as soon as possible as the other components of the steering box, and steering rack can develop heat. This leads to the breaking of the elements present in the system. The color of the power steering fluid is either pink or red. 

What Does A Steering Box Do

#4. Stiff steering wheel

The stiffness of the steering wheel can be due to heat that is built up or when the hydraulic pressure is lost. These two reasons can be the prominent ones causing stiffness in the box.

 Regardless, the reason behind it is essential to fix it. The solution to this problem is simple. All you need to do is add the power steering fluid into it, and if the issue still sustains, contact the mechanic. 

What Happens When Your Steering Box Goes Out?

If the internal steering gear parts are damaged or worn out, it can result in other issues in the vehicle. It may happen that your car is pulling, and the damaged steering gear is forcing the car to turn in one particular direction. You will feel that your steering has turned out to be loose, and you cannot control your car adequately.

You might like to read: 4 Wheel Drive Jerks When Turning – What to Do?

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Steering Gearbox?

The average cost required to replace the steering gearbox is between $870 and $1000. You also need to pay the labor cost, which will lie in the range of $160 to $200.

The steering box parts will charge you around something $717 to $850. This amount doesn’t consist of the tax and fees. You may have to pay some extra amount if certain repairs and servicing are needed.

Can You Drive With A Broken Steering Box?

It is not recommended to drive with a broken steering box because you won’t be able to control your vehicle and keep it aligned in one direction.

Your vehicle can turn out in any direction on the road. This can lead to a dangerous situation for you and the other drivers. It may result in an accident; thus, repairing your broken steering box is essential.

You might like to read: What Does Brake Retarder Prohibited Mean?

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. How do I know if my steering box needs to be replaced?

There are sure signs and symptoms of a bad steering rack or gearbox. We have mentioned all of them in this article. If you notice the following signs, then it is essential to replace your steering box.

  • stiff steering wheel
  • The smell of burning oil from your vehicle
  • Loud grinding noise when you jump your vehicle over the pothole.
  • Leakage of fluid through power steering.
What Does A Steering Box Do

#2. What is the replacement cost of a sample steering box?

On the other end of the spectrum, the replacement cost of a sample steering box in luxury vehicles is $1926. The parts may cost you around $1645. The estimated labor cost can be about $300. 

#2. Can you drive with a bad steering rack?

It is not recommended to drive with a bad steering rack as it can be dangerous, and you won’t be able to control the vehicle appropriately. Contact the mechanic and get it treated instead of avoiding the issue.

You might like to read: What Does Brake Retarder Prohibited Mean?

A Few Final Words 

The steering box plays a significant role in the smooth functioning of the vehicle. You can understand the mechanism of the steering box, the central unit, and the steering rack. 

Your steering box may get damaged. This can hamper the efficiency of your vehicle, and it may lead you into certain dangerous situations. 

We have mentioned the signs and symptoms through which you can understand the deteriorating performance of your car. You need to be aware of the conditions discussed above, as prevention is always better than cure. 

Thank you for reading the article, we hope we have covered all of your queries. You can write your comments, suggestions and queries to us in the comment box below.

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment