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There are many different parts to your car that help it steer smoothly. One of those parts is a tie rod. You may think you need a new tie rod, or maybe your mechanic has finally convinced you that a new tie rod is necessary. Before having it replaced, you want to understand exactly what a tie rod is, how it helps your car run, and how to determine if your tie rod is really going bad or not. Here is a look at everything you need to know about a tie rod end.
What Is a Tie Rod?A tie rod connects the steering rack to the steering knuckle on each wheel. It consists of an inner end and an outer end. Between the inner and outer tie rod ends is an adjusting sleeve. When you turn the steering wheel, the sleeve transmits that direction of movement through the various steering components until it reaches the tie rods. When the movement reaches the tie rod ends, they push or pull the wheel and make the wheels turn in the right direction. Tie rods play a huge role in the overall safety of your car since turning is an important part of car safety.
A tie rod usually has a round end and has a thread bolt perpendicular to it that is inserted into the knuckle. There are bearings within the rounded end that allow the bolts to pivot freely. This end usually has a cover to keep the dirt out. While looking at the tie rod end from the outside, it may seem simple. However, every part of the tie rod end being tight is crucial for steering.
How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Failing or BadYour tie rod end usually does not fail overnight. There are signs that your tie rod is starting to fail. Here are some signals that there is a problem with your tie rod.
- Uneven tire wear: If you look at your front tires and notice the inside or outside of the tread wearing more quickly than the rest, then that can be a sign your wheel camber is incorrect.
- Squealing from the front when turning: If you notice a brief high pitch sound coming from the front of your car when you are turning, then your ball joint could be bad.
- Loose steering: It may seem like your steering is not connecting with the movement of your tires.