The center link has ball joints on either end, and connects the pitman arm and idler arm on your car’s suspension. This part is sometimes called the relay rod or the drag link. The main purpose of the center link is to move your front wheels at the same time so your vehicle can turn smoothly. As you turn the wheel on your vehicle, the steering gear pulls and pushes the center link. This push and pull motion is what causes each tie rod to turn together, and therefore the front wheels to turn at the same time. Connected to the steering gear is the idler arm, and holding the entire thing together is the center link. Without the center link, you would have problems with the steering in your vehicle.
Over time, the ball joints and center link can wear out or become damaged. Once the center link is not working properly, you will notice the vehicle starting to vibrate and wobble as you are driving down the road. It will make your car more difficult to handle and will also be a driving hazard. As soon as you notice these vibrations, or the vehicle is wobbling, it is important to have the center link replaced by a professional mechanic. Failing to do so can cause your vehicle to go out of alignment, which can affect the suspension making for a more extensive repair.
Since the center link and the parts around it can become damaged and worn over time, you should be aware of the symptoms that indicate your vehicle needs to be inspected.
Some signs that your center link might need to be replaced include:
- Wheel alignment is off
- Vibrations from the wheels while driving your car
- Your car wobbles while going down the road
- Car handles poorly while you are driving
- Steering wheel vibrates
The center link is an important part of your vehicle’s steering, handling, and your overall safety. As soon as you notice any issues, your vehicle should be serviced immediately.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Center (Drag) Link Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.