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Jake, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 4378
Experience:  Experienced collision repair technician, Pulaski Tech graduate and DSM hobbyist.
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I have a second hand Xterra, with 130,000 km. In May I had

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I have a second hand Xterra, with 130,000 km. In May I had the power steering pinion and rack replaced by the local Nissan dealer. The car was fine, but after leaving her for two months, upon coming back, I found the steering a little bit harder than before, and the wheel doesn't get back completely to center after turning. It needs a little help. The fluid is ok, just checked. What can it be?
So they replaced the rack and pinion only correct?
You still have the original steering column?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't have the invoice with me right now, but the technician emailed me the following sentence before doing the job: "The part that I requested from you to replace is the power steering rack n pinion assembly or we call this as the power steering gear box assembly in old times. Yes it’s a bit costly because this is the main part of power steering. The pipes are still in good condition, not necessary this time."

Thanks, ***** ***** exactly what was done.
When turning the wheel do you notice any popping or anything weird like that?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not really. I have tried also this morning, with the car still and engine on, but I didn't hear any strange sound.

So is it just difficult to turn?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, a little bit difficult, and after turning the wheel needs 'help' to go to the center again, which doesn't feel like normal

Thank you, ***** ***** last question before we proceed it this.

Did you have a 4 wheel alignment done AFTER the new rack was installed?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This I don't know, I have to ask the dealer and/or get the paperwork...which is somewhere home. I'll check and let you know.

Thanks, ***** ***** new rack was installed and there were not wheel correction problems before hand. The two main things that need to be checked are the wheel alignment and the steering column lower joint.

If the lower joint too tight and will not pivot properly at the joint the wheel will kind of "lock" and need you to help it correct appropriately.

If you have further questions feel free to let me know. Thanks.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Jake,

thanks for your time. I really appreciate it. I got hold of the invoice and indeed there is written 'perform wheel alignment', so it seems they did it. Then it could be the lower joint too tight.

I have a last question, actually two:

- could the 2 months of car stop have something to do with the problem?

- can driving the car (while I wait to go to the dealer) do some damage to the power steering?

Thanks again,


First off the car sitting for a few months can cause some little issues like flat spotting on the tires or stiff suspension from the lack of driving the vehicle. These things should be a non-issue though after you put a few hundred miles on the car. So unless there is a leak or something I don't think the sitting was a significant issue.

Driving the car won't really hurt anything as long as your not getting any excessive noise from the power steering pump or popping while turning.

Your most welcome.

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