Ford Ka Steering Rack

Just picked my Ka up from its 40k mile service - the car is 2.5 years old. The ford mechanic told me it needs a new steering rack at a cost of around 500. According to him it must the damage (too much play?)
has been caused by "kerbing" or potholes. Obviously I have driven over potholes but I have never "kerbed" my Ka. Are they having a laff - 500 is over 10% of the value of my vehicle? Is this a part that should be under warrenty still? How should I proceed. MOT is due in December and the mechanic said that it would fail as is.
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It can be a weakness of the Ka, but it's usually caused by leaking seals rather than excessive. 500 is also waaaay too much!
I think it's time to get a second opinion...
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The DervMan
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The 500 quote included fitting. I'll shop around maybe get a reconditioned rack watcha reckon?
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Well, yes, but I'd not be happy with this chap's explanation...
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Got the rack fitted today - the guy inspected the old one and said it was the seals - he says a design fault but not one Ford would put their hands up to - he is going to write a letter confirming his diagnosis and I shall be complaining with a view to compensation.
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