A grease for the steering rack is necessary to ensure the rack’s optimal operation and to prolong its service life. Grease is found on all types of steering racks that are based on plastic lithium.
Specialized grease for the steering rack is more advisable to use because it works better and has a longer action, but the price is higher.
What types of grease are best to use in steering rack lubrication?
In general, steering rack greases are divided according to the substances that they contain and the price.
You can use cheap greases very well to lubricate the steering rack. Their characteristics are sufficient to ensure the normal operation of the steering racks. However, expensive lubricants provide more protection and last longer.
- Calcium or graphite. This is the cheapest, mid-range lubricant. Well suited for cars belonging to a budget class.
- Complex calcium grease. Absorbs moisture and changes its consistency and properties. However, it acts well in lower temperatures
- Sodium and calcium-sodium. These lubricants do not cope with moisture very well, although they can work at high temperatures.
- Copper. They perfectly withstand high and low temperatures but absorb moisture. They are also quite expensive.
- Barium and hydrocarbon. These are also some of the most expensive greases, but they have high-performance characteristics.
- Lithium greases. Works well in a wide temperature range. A disadvantage would be its gradual liquefaction, due to which it gradually spreads.
When do you need to use lubrication for the steering rack?
On a new car, the manufacturer adds an amount of lubricant on the steering rack before the car exits the factory gates. But, over time the grease loses its properties, gets dirty, thickens, and will eventually fall off. That’s why car owners need to change the lubricant regularly.
There are some symptoms where you need to check the grease on your steering rack.
- When driving over bumps, the rail starts to squeak or hum.
- If the steering rack does not have a power steering usually you need to lubricate it when you notice that turning the steering wheel becomes more difficult than before.
- Squeaking noise when turning the steering wheel. This is the most common symptom that is often caused by worn grease. In this case, hum sounds come precisely from the rail, usually on the left side of the car.
The above signs are also caused by a worn-out lubricant, but if you do experience them, then you should perform additional checks for the steering rack.
What are the requirements for steering rack lubricants?
If you do decide to use a steering rack lubricant, then you should consider the following
- It must protect the metal surfaces from corrosion. A quality lubricant does this job for you, to protect working surfaces of parts from excessive wear and, if possible, restore them at least you for a considerable amount of time.
- The lubricant should not harm parts made of various metals and rubber such as steel, copper, aluminum, and plastic. This is especially true for a steering rack with power steering. It has a lot of rubber seals that should work properly and withstand working pressure.
- The lubricant needs to operate at a different range of temperatures and have a constant viscosity. The grease must not change its properties, especially at low temperatures where there is a risk for it to freeze.
- A high constant level of adhesion, which practically does not change because of the conditions of its operation. This also applies to both the temperature regime and the value of the relative humidity of the ambient air.
- A good steering rack lubricant should not absorb water at all.