How to Spot if a Tie Rod End Goes Out
tie rods on a car
Your vehicle’s steering and suspension system represent one of the most complex mechanisms in your car. Your steering system’s parts work together to ensure your vehicle is safe and ready to maneuver across different road conditions.
Your tie rod ends connect to the front wheels of your car and allow you to steer them safely. However, what happens when you have a failing tie rod? How does it affect everything from your steering wheel, the steering column, and even your suspension system?
Signs You Need a Tie Rod Replacement
No matter your car’s type of steering system, the tie rod represents a crucial part of your system. This piece of equipment connects your steering rack to your steering knuckle and gets used every time you turn your wheel. With tie rods experiencing a great deal of wear and tear, knowing the signs that your tie rod ends are on their last legs is an important part of your maintenance routine and can make your driving experience as smooth as possible.
Sign #1 — Uneven Tire Wear
When your steering system is in proper alignment, your tires will have a nice and even wear pattern on the treads. If the wear stays relatively even, you can match up when you have to change your tires almost perfectly to ensure it stays nice and even for the next batch of tires. However, if you’ve noticed the wear patterns getting decidedly uneven, it could result from an outer tie rod end.
Sign #2 — Your Car’s Alignment Is Off
Your vehicle’s steering linkage plays an important role in determining how well your car handles on the road. Steering issues can stem from several factors negatively affecting your steering column; however, loose or damaged tie rod ends are often the underlying cause of the improper alignment.
When you’re turning your steering wheel and feel it begin to shake or vibrate, it could represent a significant problem with your tie rod ends. Additionally, if you feel excessive looseness or play in the steering wheel that worsens when you accelerate or make a turn, it can more often than not be traced back to your tie rod ends.
Sign #3 — Strange Knocking Sounds
While the vibrations and shaking sensations might be the first symptoms you feel while driving, it’s not the only noticeable early warning sign. If you start to hear clunking, rattling, or knocking noises coming from your steering system, your faulty tie rod ends could be the culprit.
As they wear out over time, the tie rods become loose and rattle around in the joint and linkage systems. If the rubber boot protecting the lubricated joints gets torn, sand and grit can build up and make their way into the joint. This disturbs the lubrication within the joint and causes the grinding sensation you feel whenever you move your steering wheel.
Can You Test for It Without Going Into a Repair Shop?
For car and truck owners wanting to know if their tie rod ends are going out before taking the vehicle to a repair shop, there is an at-home test you can perform. If you have a jack at home, lift the front end of your car into the air and grab your front tire with your hands. Shake the wheel from side to side and then up and down.
If your wheels are fully functional and do not have issues with your tie rod end, you will only be able to rotate your wheels. However, if the wheels shift from side to side or you hear a clicking noise, your tie rod ends need some attention and most likely replacements.
Get Your New Tie Rod Ends from Metrix Premium Chassis Parts!
Now that you know that your tie rod ends have seen better days, you need to find a reliable source of high-quality parts to make the necessary repairs. Metrix Premium Chassis Parts has the aftermarket tie rod ends to help ensure the repairs you make can withstand the daily wear and tear while holding up for the long term. Browse through our online inventory to find the parts that fit your needs today!