Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


How to Lubricate the Steering System - Vol.260

Knowing how to lubricate the steering system is important if you want to keep your car in good shape. You won't have to do it regularly, but it's good to know how to handle it yourself, so you won't have to ask a mechanic to do it for you. The rack needs to be lubricated whenever there's a leak past a loose gaiter clip, or whenever you remove or replace a damaged rack gaiter. Here's a straightforward step-by-step guide on how to lubricate a rack and pinion steering system.

1. Tilt the rack by raising the car on an axle stand on one side. An alternative to tilting the car is to empty the rack on the level by unfastening one gaiter at the inner end and then moving the steering wheel from lock to lock slowly and carefully.

2. Clean the area around the gaiter.

3. Place a drip tray under the rack.

4. Free one end of the lower gaiter. This involves releasing the clip at the end of the gaiter.

5. Pull the gaiter free from the rack.

6. Drain the oil in the drip tray.

7. When you're done, smear some gear oil inside the gaiter, to make it easier to move. Then refit it, tightening the clip.

8. Free the inner end of the upper gaiter.

9. Use an appropriate syringe or an oil can to refill the gear oil.

10. When you're done, refasten the gaiter and then unclip the small outer end.

11. Use a syringe or oil can between the track rod and the gaiter to inject the oil and then refasten the clip.

12. Smear the track-rod ball joint as well as the other parts of the rack mechanism with grease.

13. Put back the gaiter.

14. Refasten the gaiter, then unclip its outer, small end.

How to Grease Track-Rod Ball Joints
Track-rod ball joints may have grease nipples, usually located on the flat top of the ball-joint housing. Greasing them regularly is not necessary, but you should do it whenever you carry out a major service, such as when you first receive your car. It's quite easy to do.

1. Use a cloth to wipe clean the track-rod ball joints grease nipples.

2. With a grease gun inject fresh grease until it oozes from the joint.

3. Wipe the nipple clean again.

4. Repeat the procedure for every other nipple. It's important that you grease all nipples. Steering-box systems may have up to six nipples.

How to Top Up a Steering Box
Whenever you're lubricating the steering system of your car, it's good to check the level of the oil in the steering box as well. A common issue is leakage from an oil seal, which requires that you top up the steering box.

1. Check the level and filler plug at the top of the steering box. Most cars have one. But make sure you distinguish it from other screws or bolts. Note that in some cars, the filler hole is located in the side of the steering box; if that is the case, make sure that the oil level is right up to the bottom of the hole.

2. Clean the area around the filler plug.

3. Unscrew the filler plug.

4. Use a small rod as a dipstick to ascertain the level of the oil.

5. Refill the steering box with oil. If you car has a side filler hole, you may want to use a plastic squeeze bottle.

6. When oil overflows from the filler plug, stop and wipe the excess oil.

That's about it. Now you know how to lubricate the steering system. If you should ever need help or are uncertain about a step, you can always refer to this guide.