How to Adjust the Rack & Pinion on a Honda Civic

Written by helen akers
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How to Adjust the Rack & Pinion on a Honda Civic
The rack and pinion steering system should be checked periodically. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The rack-and-pinion is a steering wheel design that controls the motion of a car's wheels. The pinion is a gear that responds to the turning of the steering wheel. As the pinion spins, it causes the rack to move, which in turn causes movement in the wheels. Rack-and-pinion steering is used in both manual and power steering systems. Adjusting the rack-and-pinion on a Honda Civic requires checking the steering wheel settings, removing the rack guide screw, and re-tightening the screw once the rack has been moved accordingly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Spring gauge
  • Wrench
  • Torque wrench

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  1. 1

    Raise the vehicle so that it is safely supported and there is enough crawl space between the ground and the vehicle underbody. Check the steering wheel rotation by making sure the centre Honda emblem is positioned upright. You should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from the top of the dashboard through the centre of steering wheel and its emblem.

  2. 2

    Check the steering wheel's reading by turning it with a spring gauge. Ideally it should be 1.5 Kilogram. If the reading is above or below this, then an adjustment is needed. Make sure that the front wheels of the vehicle are in a forward position. The wheels should be in the same position that they would be if the vehicle was travelling straight ahead.

  3. 3

    Loosen the rack screw locknut underneath the vehicle using a wrench. The adjustment procedures vary slightly depending on the Civic model year and trim level. Most require tightening the rack screw until its spring becomes compressed and it is sitting against the rack guide. Once the rack screw is against the rack guide, turn it backward 40 to 60 degrees. Then tighten the locknut on the rack guide screw to a setting of 18 foot-pounds using a torque wrench.

  4. 4

    Test for loose or tight steering by turning the steering wheel several times in alternate directions. Use the spring gauge to take another steering effort reading. It should not exceed 15 Kilogram. Lower the vehicle and check the distance the steering wheel can be turned before the wheels respond. The front wheels should be aimed straight ahead and should not be turned when measuring the distance. The steering wheel turning distance should measure 0.4 inches or less.

  5. 5

    Recheck the steering wheel components if the turning distance measures more than 0.4 inches. Repeat the readjustment procedures as necessary.

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