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I noticed a (pretty slow for now) power steering fluid leak on my Mazda 6. During regular maintenance at my dealership I asked them to take a look and they told me that that entire rack and pinion needs to be replaced. I'm not an expert in mechanics, but I don't get why fixing a leak would require changing the entire rack and pinion. The dealer asked $1800 for it.

So I went to another mechanic and they told me the same thing. But at least quoted it at $1200. If I understand correctly, they would take the existing one off and then 'rebuild' it or something like that, it wasn't clear from what the guy said.

What also sucks is that I was going to sell the car, but now potentially facing a $1200 repair makes the things more complicated. (And I don't want to sell it without letting the buyer know there's (or was) a problem like that.)

Also, searching on the web some people suggest using those stop leak fluids, but I'm not sure it's a good idea.

If anyone here has had a similar problem and found a better (and cheaper) effective solution, would be great to know.

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Rack and pinions are not rebuilt by the mechanic that is preforming the repair. Normally the replacement rack is rebuilt somewhere else (usually china) and sold to the repair shop. Once the repair shop has replaced the rack the old broken one is sent back to the part store who then sends it back to who ever rebuilt the first one to now rebuild yours, this is called a "core". This cycle repeats for many auto parts including but not limited to starters, alternators, whole engines, axles, etc...

The stop leak you are referring to is a kind of seal sweller. It's a chemical that attacks the seals and causes them to swell up in the hopes of stopping or slowing down the leak due to a worn or even damaged rubber seals. While this may slow down the leak or even stop it for a while it is only a band-aid and only delays the inevitable.

Something you may consider is if your selling the car replace the rack with a used one instead of a rebuilt/new one. Although on a Mazda 6 i'm not sure how much savings it would give you because the replacement is somewhat involved and the labor would be quite high regardless.

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  • Thank you. Yes, labor cost is one of the problems. They told me that on this model even getting to where the leak is and then putting everything back together takes ~6hrs. Which is pretty much ~$600 in labor alone where I live. – Nikita G. Aug 29 '15 at 23:00
  • The rack is bolted to the top of the cradle and that means the cradle needs removed to get at the rack. – vini_i Aug 29 '15 at 23:08

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