The national cost for an inner tie rod end replacement in 2023 is between $101 and $493 with an average of $227​

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National average cost of a an Inner Tie Rod End Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is an inner tie rod end and how does it work?

An inner tie rod end is a component of the steering system in a vehicle, the inner portion of the tie rod assembly.

Your vehicle comes equipped with either a traditional steering gear box or a rack and pinion (a more common type of gearbox used on late model passenger vehicles) that is designed to transfer the movement of the steering wheel to the actual wheels on the ground. When you turn the steering wheel, you are actually turning a shaft that reaches through the vehicle body. The steering shaft moves gears in the gearbox or the “steering rack” that, in turn, actuate a set of metal rods, the “tie rods”, to the left or right.

Whereas the outer tie rod end is connected to the steering knuckle to which the wheel hub and wheel are bolted, the inner tie rod end is connected directly to the steering rack. In the case of a vehicle with a traditional gearbox, the inner tie rod end is fastened to the center link (“drag link”) that is, in turn, connected to the Pitman arm on the gearbox.

The relationship between the inner and outer tie rod ends allows for adjustments to the steering system.


How do I know if my vehicle needs a new inner tie rod end?

While outer tie rod ends tend to be more susceptible to wear and tear than inner tie rod ends (especially when it comes to rack and pinion steering systems), it is possible for the inner tie rod end to fail. That is usually the result of an impact, such as with a pothole or a curb. Signs of a bad inner tie rod end include:

Your vehicle pulls to one side when driving

The steering wheel is not centered properly

You hear strange sounds when you turn the steering wheel

You feel vibrations, clicks, or pops in the steering wheel

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How is a an Inner Tie Rod End Replacement done?

The procedure to replace an inner tie rod end depends on the type of steering system used in your vehicle. Since the rack and pinion system is most commonly found in late model passenger vehicles, this description relates to the tie rods used with a steering rack, where both the inner and outer tie rod ends comprise the tie rod assembly.

To replace an inner tie rod end, a technician must first raise and support your vehicle in the air for access. With the tire and wheel removed, the technician will carefully mark the location of the outer tie rod end on the inner tie rod (the length of the tie rod) so that the new component can be installed in the same position as the old one. From there, a technician will perform the following steps:

  • Loosen the lock nut on the tie rod
  • Remove the cotter pin from the outer tie rod end ball stud (if applicable)
  • Remove the castle nut or other retaining nut
  • Using a special tool, separate the outer tie rod end ball joint from the steering knuckle
  • Remove the protective boot on the end of the steering rack
  • Unscrew the inner tie rod end from the steering rack and install the new tie rod end
  • Reinstall the protective boot with a new boot clamp
  • Transfer the measurement of the old tie rod to the new component
  • Screw the outer tie rod end onto the new inner tie rod end to its original position
  • Reattach the tie rod end to the steering knuckle and torque to manufacturer’s specification
  • Replace the wheel(s) and tire(s)
  • Perform a wheel alignment to adjust the new tie rod(s)

Other questions customers ask

Can you replace just one inner tie rod end?
While it is generally recommended to replace tie rods in pairs, especially when the outer tie rod end needs replacement, it is possible to replace only a single inner tie rod end if it has been damaged from impact.
Can you drive with a broken inner tie rod end?
No. If an inner tie rod end is broken, you will be unable to steer your vehicle. The affected wheel and tire will not respond to the steering wheel. The same thing happens if an outer tie rod end breaks while you are driving.
Can a pothole damage the tie rod ends?
Yes. It is not uncommon for a tie rod end, whether the inner or the outer tie rod end, to become damaged as a result of an impact. That impact can be from a curb, a collision, or a pothole.

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