The tie rod end is located in your vehicle’s steering system. Most modern vehicles use a rack and pinion system. The tie rod ends are attached to the ends of the steering rack. As the pinion rolls over the slotted rack, they push and pull the front tires and you turn the steering wheel. Tie rods support and transmit this force from the steering rack, to the arm, and ultimately move the wheel.
Tie rod ends are used every time you use your steering wheel, so they can go bad over time due to wear and tear. In some vehicles, they can last for many years, while in other vehicles they may not have to be replaced at all. Driving conditions and hazards such as poor road conditions, car accidents, and potholes can cause damage to the tie rod ends, causing them to need replacing sooner than if the road conditions were perfect.
It is important to get your tie rod ends inspected on a regular basis. Along with that, if you suspect your tie rod ends are going bad, they will give off a few warning signs that you can also be on the lookout for. One of the most noticeable signs your tie rod ends need to be replaced is a knocking sound coming from the front of your car when you turn your wheels at a low speed.
Once the mechanic inspects your vehicle and determines your tie rod ends do need to be replaced, both the right and left side need to be replaced at the same time. Additionally, an alignment needs to be done to ensure your vehicle will drive smoothly.
Since the tie rod ends can fail, you should be aware of all the symptoms they give off before they completely stop working.
Signs your tie rod ends need to be replaced include:
Your car pulls to one side while you are driving
The tires have uneven wear on the edges
A knocking sound when you maneuver tight turns
Have a certified mechanic replace the failing tie rod end to eliminate any further problems with your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Tie Rod End Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.