In relation to my article I wrote on identifying the steering rack version in a Volkswagen Golf. One thing I mentioned was that I argue whether or not the Volkswagen steering racks should be covered under warranty or that they should be serviceable items.
After all there are a stream of articles all over the web relating to the steering rack failure with Volkswagen Electromechanical Power Steering.
What is the Electromechanical Power Steering system?
Basically the VAG group (Volkswagen Auto Group) decided in their wisdom to replace the traditional power steering system fitted to most cars. The traditional system being a pump which is driven by engine belts and topped up with fluid in the engine bay. They replaced it with an ALL electronic system, a power steering rack which links into the steering wheel and the power steering assistance is provided by an Electric Motor.
Whilst this does give benefits to the driver…. (examples below)
- Increased fuel economy
- Better steering control & input with self-centering steering
- Speed dependant driving assistance
In practical terms, it’s only so good until it fails. Steering racks on cars do fail from time to time, and they’re easy (AND CHEAP!) to replace. However the Electronic Power Steering on the VAG cars is a problem. The sensors that control everything are built into the racks themselves. Volkswagen don’t repair these they replace them when they go faulty. To replace a steering rack on a VW Golf MK5 you’re looking at around £2000 from Volkswagen, this takes the piss! Most people can’t afford to pay £2k to fix their cars when they’re realistically only going to be worth around £2k anyway
BUT – Here’s the big BUT…. when Volkswagen (or the VAG) replace the racks, it’s done on a surcharge basis they actually KEEP your old one and REBUILD it. This means the units are serviceable, if you look at the steering rack design themselves, the units which holds the motor, the sensor and the controller are all replaceable components, it’s just VW won’t do this. So when they remove your old unit, they rebuild it sell it on for another £2k job and it could fail 70k miles later and cost another £2k, a really bad con. This is why as far as I’m concerned this part should be a serviceable component that should be replaced every 70k miles on the car regardless or covered when the timing belt is replaced. It’s especially prone to failures on the MK1 steering racks. Plus a lot of customers would find a bill easier to chew if it was a £200 sensor than a £2000 rack job but then dealerships aren’t like that
I’ll be posting more photos as when I remove my old rack I’ll be removing the sensor. A common problem is the magnetic poles on them.
I’d love to know VW input on this as it’s clearly a fault, and they haven’t bothered rectifying other they’re just rectifying the problem at the customers expense
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