If you happen to own a vehicle with a manual steering system, then it likely features a drag link with a pitman arm attached to it. The drag link is attached to the steering arm. Another setup is that the drag link may act as the connection between the tie-rod assembly and the pitman arm. Either way it plays a role in the steering of your vehicle. To break it down into simple terms it works by translating the movement that is made by your steering wheel right into your tire wheels.

The drag links are meant to hold up well over time. They may be adjustable or solid. However, wear and tear can build up over time and result in adjustments and then possibly replacement down the road. Sometimes it's not even the drag link that needs replacing, instead it may be the junction points at the tie-rods or pitman arm. This is exactly why it's a good idea to have it checked out by YourMechanic and get a professional diagnostic.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the drag link can become damaged by debris, impact, or an accident. Once it becomes damaged, meaning broken, warped, bent, or worn, it will need replacing.

  • Let’s take a look at some common signs that pop up at the end of the lifespan for your drag link.

  • If your steering begins to feel off, meaning wobbly, it may be time to have the drag link replaced. It could just be those junction points mentioned, or it may be the drag link itself.

  • As you are driving if you find there is abnormal and excessive play in the steering wheel, this can signal the end of the drag link on your vehicle. It's best to have it looked at right away.

  • Take a look at all four of your tires, do you see any signs of uneven tire wear? This means one or more tires are more worn than the others.

The drag link plays an essential part in your vehicle’s steering system. While it’s not known for wearing out fast, it can undergo damage and need replacement at some point in your vehicle’s lifespan. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect your drag link is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book a drag link replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Drag Link Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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