What Are Tie Rods and When to Have Them Replaced

Steering is an important part of any vehicle. If you can’t steer, chances are you aren’t going to get very far. That’s because every time you use your steering wheel, you’re engaging the tie rods on your car or truck. Whether you’re turning left, right, or going straight, the tie rods help you stay in control of your vehicle. Here are some tips to help you keep an eye (and ear) on your vehicle’s tie rod ends.

Tie Rod Basics

In many vehicles, tie rods connect your steering gear to the steering knuckle. Tie rods are an integral part of your vehicle’s steering system that if worn can cause tire wear and handling problems. That’s why a visual inspection can be worthwhile.

Rack & Pinion steering on a car.

Symptoms Your Tie Rods are Failing

Before your tie rods wear out, you’ll likely see, feel, or hear some of these symptoms.

  • Steering wheel wandering. You might notice some ‘play’ in your steering wheel. In other words, if you feel a bit out of control, you may want to have your front-end parts checked, including your tie rod ends.
  • Unusual and uneven tire wear. Look at the tread of your tires for uneven wear. This could simply mean your vehicle is out of alignment, but could also indicate loose tie rods that should be addressed before doing an alignment.
  • Strange sounds. In some cases, if you hear quick, sharp sounds or thuds from your front wheels as you turn, you might consider having things checked out.

Get Your Free Inspection

The pros at your local Les Schwab can perform a free visual inspection of your steering and suspension components. All to help you decide if your vehicle needs an alignment or if your tie rods, or other steering and suspension components are worn.

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