Signs of a damaged or bad rack and pinion include loose steering, persistent knocking, excessive vibrations, difficulty steering, unusual tire wear and leaking fluid. Rack-and-pinion steering converts the force of the steering wheel and allows the vehicle to change directions.
A bad rack-and-pinion system causes the steering wheel to feel loose. This issue also causes the vehicle to wander on the road and travel slightly to one side instead of moving in a straight line. Clunking sounds and persistent knocking are warning signs of a bad rack-and-pinion steering system. Unusual tire wear is another common symptom, which is noticeable when tires are worn on either side of the tire.