In this paper, a reliability sensitivity analysis methodology for the kinematic accuracy of rack-and-pinion steering linkages (RPSLs) is developed. The direct linearization method is applied to obtain the kinematic accuracy errors of planar linkages due to link-length variations. The RPSL widely used in many types of vehicles is chosen as an example to propose an analytical model for reliability analysis of the kinematic accuracy of planar linkages. Furthermore, reliability sensitivity analysis of planar linkages, which is the main focus of this paper, is used to compute the reliability sensitivity of the kinematic accuracy of steering linkages with respect to the statistical parameters (e.g., mean, standard deviation, or higher moments) of the basic errors of random variables. Finally, the practicality and efficiency of the proposed method are demonstrated by a numerical example.

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