Tie Rod End
Tie rod ends, also informally known as simply “”tie rods””, are a key link between your vehicle’s steering system and steering knuckles. Mounted on those steering knuckles are your wheels and tires so that when you turn your steering wheel, your tie rod ends will turn with it, thus allowing your wheels and tires to turn.
To fully grasp the function of the tie rods, it is important to understand a car’s steering system as a whole. There are two types of steering systems: conventional steering gear and rack-and-pinion. If you drive a newer vehicle, it most likely utilizes a rack-and-pinion steering system.
Components of a conventional steering gear system:
- Steering gear – the main component of the conventional steering gear system is the steering gear itself. It connects the pitman arm to the steering column. As you turn your steering wheel, the steering column will shift the gears in the steering gear, which will transfer the motion onto the pitman arm.
- Pitman arm – The pitman arm links the steering column to the steering gear.
- Center link – the center link connects the pitman arm to the tire rod ends – continuing the transfer of motion.
- Idler arm – the idler arm’s purpose is to support the right and left ends of the center link so that they are even with each other.
- Tie rod end – the final component in the steering system transfer of motion, the tie rod end connects the center link to the steering knuckles. There is also an outer tie rod end for each side of the car.
Components of a rack-and-pinion steer system:
- Rack-and-pinion assembly – The rack-and-pinion assembly replaces most of the components found in the conventional steering gear system. The rack-and-pinion gear links up to the inner tie rods to transfer the motion from the steering column.
- Tie rod ends – A rack-and-pinion steer system will include both inner and outer tie rod ends. The inner tie rod ends act as a link connecting the rack-and-pinion assembly to the outer tie rod ends. The outer tie rod ends complete the transfer of motion from the rest of the steering system to steer the car, just like in a conventional steering gear system. There is also an outer tie rod end for each side of the vehicle, just like in a conventional steering gear system.
Signs of a bad tie rod end
Tie rod ends will eventually wear out and need replacement, regardless of the type of steering system your vehicle uses. The only way to fix a failing or broken tie rod end is to have it replaced by an automotive professional. You can easily book a tie rod end replacement through CarAdvise and pay a lower price than at the shop!
Here are the signs that your tie rod ends aren’t up to snuff:
- Uneven tire wear – the tie rod ends are a key part in your car’s alignment. A worn tie rod will impact the angle of the alignment, causing uneven tire wear
- Shimmy on the front end – Extremely worn tie rod ends will cause your front tires to shimmy a little bit. This will cause a a small loss of steering control and can be dangerous.
- Loss of grease – You may have grease dripping out of tie rod end rubber boot if it has been torn due to wear. Grease is necessary to keep the ball-and-socket component lubricated, so if it is dripping out onto the surface below, you will need to get your tie rod ends replaced.