Ball Joints and Tie Rods – What’s the Difference

Ball joints are important in our lives, isn't it? It's not designed like some rocket design; it follows a simple pattern. Since the vehicle was invented, this simple bonding mechanism has been keeping the bond between us and vehicles firmly.

In a vehicle, ball joints and tie rods are some of the most significant parts. You cannot imagine a functioning vehicle without them. When it comes to ensuring your vehicle's smooth handling and stability to offer you a cozy and comfortable ride, the suspension system plays a key role.

And the ball joint and tie rods are the key components of the suspension system. But aren't you wondering, like, ball joints and tie rods – what’s the difference? No worries, if you proceed to read further, you will know exactly how these two parts differ. So, let’s get started.

Where Are Ball Joints and Tie Rods Located?

To understand the difference between ball joints and tie rods, first and foremost, you got to know their location. And in this section, that's what we are going to talk about. So, let's get started.

Tie rods and ball joint them are essential parts of your car's front suspension and steering system. You will find them between the front wheels of the car. Your steering system helps to span the total length between your front wheels and joining the two wheels together.

You might know that your suspension system is separated from the steering system. But both of these systems work collaboratively to steer the car down on the road.

They are not directly connected. However, both of them are connected to a system called the spindle. And this mechanism, named the spindle, is connected to the front wheel.

Your car's ball joint is fastened to the bottom and top of the spindle while the tie rod end is attached to the spindle. And that's how by controlling its pivot, you get to steer the vehicle.

What Do Ball Joints Do?

You know, the ball joint is a part of the suspension system. Usually, ball joints enable a pivot point to swivel each front wheel when your steering system turns the front wheels right and left as its control arms start to move down and up.

Did you know? You will find ball joints in all of the control arms of the front suspension system, lower and upper. When it comes down to the structure-type suspension, you will see only one lower ball joint attached to the control arm (lower one) at the exact point.

Those ball joint and socket type configurations let the wheel turn right and left and maneuver upright with the shape of the road surface. And at the same time, it supports the weight of your car and offers you a comfortable ride.

What Do Tie Rods Do?

Tie rod ends are also a significant part of the steering system. It establishes a connection between the spindle and steering gear system on another end. It doesn't matter if your vehicle steering design has a steering gearbox, pinion system, or rack, both of them have outer tie rod ends, and inner tie rod ends.

The outer tie rod end is attached to the vehicle each front wheel spindle and, the inner one is attached to the steering gearbox assembly or steering rack.

When the steering wheel is turned, a shaft helps to attach the steering wheel to the steering gear assembly, either a rack or steering gearbox and pinion gear mechanism.

Your gearbox mechanism is connected through a series of arms and, they connect to the tie rod ends. When you steer right or left, your steering gear thrust the steering arms and the tie rods right or left sequentially.

How do the ball joints and tie rods work together?

Tie rods and ball joints do not have any co-relation, to be honest, yet everything to do with each other. You know, in a building, what makes sure it stays farm is its foundation.

That's what carries all of its weight and keeps it stable. And when it comes to a vehicle, the ball joints are something like the foundation of a building. They support almost all the weights of your vehicle.

As you already know, the ball joints a part of the vehicle's suspension system, and while it supports the weight of your vehicle, it also enables the steering to turn right and left or up and down.

Your vehicle's ball joints can perform that task on their own, of the steering system and tie rod ends. But the tie rod requires the ball joint to hold up the weight of your vehicle. And also, enable your front wheels to pivot right and left.

Difference Between Inner & Outer Tie Rod

Now you might be curious to know the difference between inner & outer tie rods. No worries, let us explain to you.

  • Inner Tie Rod
    There's an in-line ball joint in your suspension system, and that's what really makes construct the inner tie rod. Those inner tie rods are pivot pivots and are connected to the end of the center link.
    You will find it close to the inner line of your vehicle and correspondingly named "inner tie rod." It's the first pivot point that is starting your wheels to turn.
  • Outer Tie Rod

    The outer tie rod is a construction of right-angled ball joints. The steering knuckle of the vehicle is connected to the outer tie rod. That outer tie rod is what helps you to turn the wheel. And the final pivot point starts your wheel to turn.

When Does the Tie Rod End Need to Be Replaced?

It's essential to inspect your tie rod ends regularly. When your notice your tie rod ends wear out, they will show you some signs and observe those warning signs; you have to replace the tie rod ends immediately. So, when do the tie rod ends need to be replaced?

  • You might notice your car pulling one side while you are driving.
  • Tie tires will get rough wear on the edges.
  • You may hear a knocking sound when you move tight turns.
Final Words

So, we hope you have the answer to the question about ball joints and tie rods – what’s the difference. As both of them are essential parts of your vehicle, you should replace them as soon as you notice those warning signs.

Otherwise, you may end up in a really bad situation when driving. You know there's a saying, "better safe than sorry." We wish you the best with your car. That's all for today. Drive safe.


Share your love

Leave a Reply

Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124