Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by themechanic
Every vehicle has inner tie rods, and outer tie rod ends. The inner tie rods enable the steering wheel to be turned. The outer tie rod ends are what connect the inner tie rods to the steering wheel. The outer tie rod ends suffer a lot more wear and tear than the inner tie rods because they absorb most of the stress when you pull or push the steering wheel.
For this reason, it is more likely that you’ll need to replace your tie rod ends rather than your tie rods. Although, the tie rods could end up failing eventually too. You’ll notice if the tie rods have gone bad when you turn the steering wheel and feel a minor shifting sensation as you turn. The vibrations from it will pass through the steering wheel into your hands as you hold it. You may also hear a popping or clicking sound too.
Tie Rods (Inner) Replacement Cost
It is very dangerous to drive your vehicle when you have a tie rod problem. It is recommended that you get your tie rods components replaced immediately. The cost of replacing one tie rod is anywhere from $250 to $360. The parts cost alone will be anywhere from $125 to $200, while the labor costs are anywhere from $125 to $160. There will likely be fees and taxes added onto this as well.
Tie Rod Ends (Outer) Replacement Cost
As for a tie rod end replacement, you can expect the cost of the parts to be between $40 and $100, and the labor costs to be between $80 and $100. It does not take long for a mechanic to replacement a tie rod end, so you shouldn’t rack up too much expense there. In total, the tie end replacement will cost between $120 and $200. Additional taxes and fees will be applied as well.
Symptoms Of A Bad Tie Rod End
Symptoms of a worn or faulty tie rod can manifest in various ways. Here are some common symptoms that may indicate the need for tie rod replacement:
Steering Wheel Play:
If you notice excessive play or looseness in your steering wheel, where it moves too easily or feels disconnected, it could be a sign of worn tie rods.
Vibrations in the Steering Wheel:
Worn tie rods can cause vibrations in the steering wheel, especially when turning or driving at higher speeds. This vibration may feel like a shimmy or shake.
Uneven Tire Wear:
Faulty tie rods can lead to uneven tire wear. Inspect your tires regularly, and if you notice excessive wear on the inner or outer edges of the tires, it could be due to improper alignment caused by worn tie rods.
A misaligned steering wheel is a common symptom of worn tie rods. When driving straight, if the steering wheel is off-center and requires constant adjustment to keep the vehicle straight, it may indicate tie rod issues.
Difficulty Turning or Maneuvering:
Worn tie rods can make it challenging to turn smoothly or navigate corners. You may experience resistance or a stiff feeling when trying to turn the steering wheel.
Knocking or Clunking Noises:
If you hear knocking or clunking sounds coming from the front of your vehicle, particularly when going over bumps or making turns, it could be due to loose or worn tie rods.
Pro Tip: It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be indicative of other steering or suspension issues. If you notice any of these signs, it’s recommended to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to diagnose the specific problem and determine if tie rod replacement is necessary.
What Causes a Tie Rod to Break?
Tie rods typically don’t break under normal driving conditions, but they can become damaged or worn over time due to various factors. Here are some common causes that can lead to tie rod failure:
Wear and Tear:
Tie rods are subjected to constant stress and movement as part of the steering system. Over time, the ball joints and sockets within the tie rod can wear out, leading to excessive play, looseness, and eventual failure.
Lack of Maintenance:
Neglecting regular maintenance can contribute to tie rod failure. Lack of lubrication, improper alignment, and failure to address other suspension or steering issues can put additional stress on the tie rods, accelerating their wear and potential for failure.
Impact or Collision:
A significant impact or collision, such as hitting a curb, pothole, or another object, can cause severe damage to the tie rods. The force from such an impact can bend or break the tie rods, rendering them ineffective.
Off-Road Driving or Rough Conditions:
Driving on rough terrains, such as off-road trails, gravel roads, or uneven surfaces, can subject the tie rods to excessive stress. Continuous exposure to rough conditions can accelerate wear and increase the likelihood of failure.
Overloading or Towing:
Overloading a vehicle beyond its recommended capacity or towing heavy loads that exceed the vehicle’s towing capacity can put excessive strain on the tie rods. The increased weight and stress can lead to premature wear and potential failure.
Corrosion and Rust:
Exposure to moisture, road salt, and other corrosive elements can cause the tie rods to corrode and weaken over time. Rust can eat away at the metal, compromising its structural integrity and leading to failure.
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Overall, tie rods and tie rod end replacements are not too costly. Most people only need to have them replaced just once throughout the time they own their vehicles. If you perform regular maintenance on your vehicle, then you should get several years out of your tie rods and possibly your tie rod ends too.