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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

First, some context: I live in rural Maine where there are few reliable and available mechanics.

Now, here's a summary of my problem:

When I start the car, often I hear a terrible squealing, like belts slipping, and my steering is hard or binding. This typically happens the first time I start the vehicle for the day and often when it's cold or has been raining/wet conditions.

If I rev the engine a couple of times hard either in park or neutral, the squealing stops, often after intensifying a little, then the steering is smooth and correct. Also, when I get moving, often the squealing/hard steering stops.

Once or twice the steering has bound while turning driving at low speeds (super sketchy).

Sometimes I get the squealing and associated hard steering while beginning to drive but when I put transmission in neutral and rev like described, the squealing stops and problem resolves.

I did take it to a shop and they said the P/S rack needs to be changed out. I'm somewhat skeptical even though the rack does make some noise while turning the wheels while parked. But because the problem is more sporadic and tends to self correct, I have trouble believing the rack needs to be replaced entirely.

Maybe the problem is a combination of worn belts and contaminated fluid? I wanted to ask around to see what I can do before I throw money at it (mechanic's quote was quite high).

A notable detail is that on the passenger side, the steering boot is torn, so I imagine some contamination/damage to the seal on that side could have occurred.

I plan to change the belts and to flush the system to see if this resolves the problem. Is there a way to flush the entire P/S system? Are there other things to take a look at or do? I have also considered changing the rack myself as I have done a good bit of auto tinkering, but am concerned about needing an alignment afterwards.

For the record, I have parked the car until I have a chance to try a few things before biting the bullet and accepting the repair I've been quoted.
 

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If the boot on the tie rod end is torn at least the boot needs to be replaced. If you can lift the front and have the front wheels hanging try to grab one side and turn left and right to see if there's any binding. The more you drive with a torn boot the more likely you will need to replace the rack.

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Discussion Starter #4
If the boot on the tie rod end is torn at least the boot needs to be replaced. If you can lift the front and have the front wheels hanging try to grab one side and turn left and right to see if there's any binding. The more you drive with a torn boot the more likely you will need to replace the rack.

Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
Thanks for the response jzchen,

TBH, I don't know all the parts of the steering system by name, but understand what each part does. So, by grab one side, you must mean to say, you mean the rod projecting from the rack (which are the tie rods, correct)? Like, push these rods back and forth to see if there is any sticking/binding. Is this best done with the vehicle off or is it best done while p/s system is running?

That's good that the boot is sold individually.
 

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i had the same problem usually when it cold i flush the fluid improved steering feel but not with binding, i trying belt next.
 
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