But even new cars may have grease nipples and/or oil-filler holes in various parts of the system.
Their position depends on the steering system – rack and pinion or steering box – and the front suspension type – wishbone or MacPherson strut.
The car handbook will tell you where to lubricate and how often usually every 6,000 miles or 10,000 km – and the type and amount of lubricant to use.
Raise the front of the car with the wheels hanging free. Support it on axle stands set under frame members. Apply the handbrake firmly and chock the rear wheels. Put rear-wheel-drive cars in gear (`park’ for automatics).
Lubricating a rack and pinion
The rack is filled with oil or grease, but does not usually need regular maintenance. It needs re-lubrication if you remove or replace a rack gaiter, or if there has been a leak past a loose or damaged gaiter clip
If you do need to re-lubricate, consult the car handbook to see whether oil or grease is used, which kind, and how much.
If it is oil, drain the rack and use a syringe to refill it. Check how much the syringe holds, to ensure the right oil level.
Raise the car on an axle stand on one side only, so that the rack is tilted. Clean carefully around the gaiter and set a drip tray under the lower end of the rack.
Release the clip at the inner end of the lower gaiter. Pull the gaiter free of the rack housing and let all the oil drain out.
Smear a little grease or gear oil inside the gaiter to make it easier to push on. Refit the gaiter and tighten the clip. Replace a wire clip with a screw clip. Unclip and free the inner end of the other, upper gaiter.
If it is inconvenient to tilt the car, you can empty the rack on the level by undoing one gaiter at the inner end and slowly moving the steering wheel from lock to lock several times – not quickly, for that might burst the other gaiter.
Refasten the gaiter, then unclip its outer, small end. Note how far it reaches along the track rod: its exact placing is important.
Push the syringe in between the gaiter and track rod to inject the oil. Refasten the clip.
Grease cannot be removed; but when replacing a gaiter you should wipe grease off the inner track-rod ball joint to inspect the joint.
Smear the joint and all visible parts of the rack mechanism generously with grease before putting back the gaiter.
Use the grade of grease that is recommended in the handbook for the car.