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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > For All You Car Geeks Out There: Rack & Pinion Break After Maintenance

For All You Car Geeks Out There: Rack & Pinion Break After Maintenance
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NormPhillips
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Feb 8, 2015, 05:57 PM
 
Hello,

I know this is a weird spot to make this post, but MacNN Forums has been a longtime online BB hangout for me so I figured I'd give this question a shot here.

On Monday, January 12 I took my 2011 Nissan Altima 2.5s in for an oil change and tire rotation at a Sears Auto Center. The car had approximately 82,500 miles at the time and has been extremely well maintained in the past. They performed the oil change and tire rotation and reported 0 problems. in fact, they said the tires had decent remainining tread and the alignment was in fantastic shape.

However on Friday, January 16 when on a road trip down to Memphis, TN from the Chicago metropolitan area, the car became very difficult to steer. Upon inspecting the power steering fluid reservoir I found there was no fluid in there. I refilled the reservoir and continued driving. Again later in the drive the car became difficult to steer. Finally, I found a leak. After barely arriving in Memphis, both a Nissan dealer and a auto repair shop claimed the rack & pinion system had a leak and that it had to be replaced. The total repair cost ~$1,700.

Here's my question: is it possible either Sears missed something when doing the oil change, tire rotation, and inspection? Or worse, is it possible they broke something upon rotating the tires or ensuring the car had a decent alignment?

Please let me know.

Thank you.
     
reader50
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Feb 8, 2015, 06:13 PM
 
It might help if you have a picture of where the leak is. The devil is in the details, as they say.
     
NormPhillips  (op)
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Feb 8, 2015, 10:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
It might help if you have a picture of where the leak is. The devil is in the details, as they say.
The car's already been repaired, actually... The reason I'm asking is I'm wondering if Sears Auto Center is guilty of negligence...

Either way, it was a leak in one of the seals if that helps any...
     
turtle777
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Feb 8, 2015, 10:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by NormPhillips View Post
The car's already been repaired, actually... The reason I'm asking is I'm wondering if Sears Auto Center is guilty of negligence...
You probably signed some fine print that absolved them from any responsibility for overlooked items.

I'm not a car expert, by I leaky seal doesn't sound like something that Sears would have broken.

-t
     
Thorzdad
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Feb 9, 2015, 09:44 AM
 
It's just coincidence.
82,000 miles is ridiculously early for the steering rack to have to be replaced, though. I didn't start to have leaks in the steering system in my '01 Maxima until I was far, far into 6-digit mileage. I did eventually have to replace the rack as well as the high-pressure fluid hose. I take it you're out of warranty, based on year? You're certainly inside the mileage limit.
     
NormPhillips  (op)
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Feb 9, 2015, 10:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
It's just coincidence.
82,000 miles is ridiculously early for the steering rack to have to be replaced, though. I didn't start to have leaks in the steering system in my '01 Maxima until I was far, far into 6-digit mileage. I did eventually have to replace the rack as well as the high-pressure fluid hose. I take it you're out of warranty, based on year? You're certainly inside the mileage limit.
The warranty is for 3 years or 36,000 miles, either way out of the warranty.
     
imitchellg5
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Feb 13, 2015, 01:38 PM
 
I highly doubt Sears could have done something to damage the steering system with the simple work they did on your car. I see you're in Illinois, do they salt the roads where you live? I'm guessing the salt ate through Nissan's horrifically cheap plastics or rubber somewhere in the system.
     
NormPhillips  (op)
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Feb 13, 2015, 02:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
I highly doubt Sears could have done something to damage the steering system with the simple work they did on your car. I see you're in Illinois, do they salt the roads where you live? I'm guessing the salt ate through Nissan's horrifically cheap plastics or rubber somewhere in the system.
They do salt the roads, a lot. That's a good point.
     
phantomdragonz
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Feb 15, 2015, 01:48 PM
 
highly unlikely that sears is at fault.

the components used during an oil change are usually far apart from the steering rack. it's coincidence.
     
NormPhillips  (op)
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Feb 15, 2015, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by phantomdragonz View Post
highly unlikely that sears is at fault.

the components used during an oil change are usually far apart from the steering rack. it's coincidence.
Well...

They did check the alignment and did a tire rotation, which is why I asked...
     
phantomdragonz
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Feb 19, 2015, 08:00 PM
 
You said nothing about checking the alignment. You said they rotated the tires.

As long as they did not adjust the alignment (and assuming they ACTUALLY put it on an alignment rack, which is unlikely) it's still coincidence.

Even then, if it did break due to an alignment adjustment, it needed replacement anyways.
     
   
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