When you are driving your loving car on the road while listening to your favorite music, the feeling is unparalleled. You feel like all the stress and worries of your life just disappeared for a moment. Yeah, I know all the car owners out there are familiar with such feelings.
But when you are enjoying those, you would also want your car to follow your command and not to hit the poor cow passing by, right?
So, when it comes to making sure of that, do you know what part of your car plays the most significant role? Yes, It's the tie rod. In this article, we will learn what a tie rod is and what it does in your vehicle. So, let's get started.
The tie rod in your car is an essential part that links the vehicle's steering knuckle to your steering rack on the front wheels. And the tie rods outer and inner ends surround an adjusting sleeve. When you rotate the steering wheel of your car, it enables movement all around the system.
The wheel turns by the push and pulls activity of the rods. You know, it would be impossible to drive your vehicle if you are unable to turn the steering wheel unless you are some superheroes. Therefore, it's understandable how essential the tie rods are in your vehicle.
How Do Tie Rods Work?
You already know that a tie rod is a significant part of your vehicle's steering system. I guess the name explains its purpose pretty well. Yes, it ties the steering rack of your vehicle to the steering arm.
And the steering arm is connected to your wheel. You will find 2-types of steering systems in a vehicle one is re-circulating ball steering and another rack-and-pinion steering. Here's how they function:
The rack and pinion follow a very simple mechanism. When you turn your vehicle's steering wheel, the pinion gear connected to the steering shaft will start to roll along with your steering rack.
And the steering that is connected to both your front wheels will move by following the way you turn the wheel. Tie rods are also in charge of transmitting the force to the steering rim from your steering rack and move them to the wheel.
●Re-Circulating Ball Steering
The re-circulating ball system is a bit complicated compare to the rack and pinion system. It incorporates a gearbox. When you turn the wheel, the steering shaft will arrange multiple gears in motion. And that pitman arm will move your steering rack following the way you steer.
This system is also attached to the tie rods and, they are connected to the steering wheel just like the rack and pinion system. And those are also attached to the steering arm.
The main connection between your steering system to the wheel is the tie rod. Tie rods are like the backbone of your steering system. You cannot imagine your steering system without your tie rod.
If you have heard about pivot points that stay between the steering arm and steering system, then that's exactly the tie rods. Your outer tie rod end comes with an adjustable feature.
So, if you have to fix the alignment, you can do that just by changing the length of the tie rod. Tie rods let you move your wheel and make the vehicle turn. I hope you have no more questions about its essentiality.
What Happens If Your Tie Rod Breaks?
So, what would exactly happen when this significant part of your vehicle breaks? Well, you know, what would happen if you leave your gun at the barrack when going to the battlefield. Likewise, it would be best if you never went to the road with your vehicle when its tie rod is broken.
But no worries dear, you know they say, "every problem comes with a solution." Yes. So does this one. You can get to know the condition of the tie rod just by doing a quick test. Most of the time, it's your outer tie rod ball joints that go bad. When your tie rod goes bad, you will lose the ability to steer the wheel on the side where the tie rod is damaged.
The moment your tie rod breaks the wheel where it's attached will lose all control from the steering assembly. It will just flop around be based on the tire wear, vehicle speed, pressure and road condition, etc. To be more specific, when the tie rod will fail, you lose your usual ability to steer the vehicle.
When Does the Tie Rod End Need to Be Replaced?
As a responsible person, you should regularly check the steering system of your vehicle to ensure your and your family's safety. When driving, if you notice wandering, pulling, or any trouble in steering, you should immediately inspect the steering system.
To do that, firstly raise the front end of the vehicle and try moving the front wheel back and forth. If you feel free to play or excessive movement then, you should check the tie rod ends.
When the vehicle is parked, try turning the steering wheel back and forth and, if it makes any thudding or clunking noise, it's probably your tie rod ends that got worn or loosen. Another two big signs of bad tie rod ends are front end vibration and noise.
And if you can't return your steering wheel to the center, then it's time to inspect your tie rod ends. If you can manage to do these early maintenances, you would be able to get rid of any further damage and driving risk.
How urgent is an Outer Tie Rod End Replacement?
You know that you won't be able to drive your vehicle without a working steering system, right? At the first stage, your tie rod may not cause any serious trouble. But when they will get damaged completely, you will have no control over the steering. And you know what happens next.
How long do tie rods last?
Your vehicle's tie rods could survive for years and years. And you would surprise to know that some vehicle owners rarely get to replace it. However, how long your tie rods will survive depends mostly on your driving condition. Driving through bad road conditions, potholes and, even encountering little accidents can cause serious damage to your tie rods.
How to Prevent Tie Rod Issues?
Your tie rod won't go bad that easily. They can give you a lifelong service if you handle it with care. If you are caressing a speed breaker or any other obstacle, do slow down your vehicle for maximum safety.
Try not to hit any pothole or curb. If you ever notice any bad alignment in your car, inspect it with an expert as soon as possible. And when driving, if you notice shaking, clunking noise, or unresponsive steering, it's high time to have a look at your tie rods.
What are the Repair Costs to Fix a Tie Rod?
Tie rod replacement will cost you around 70$ to 200$.
So, I guess you have already got your answer for what a tie rod is and what it does in your vehicle. Suppose you have read this far. And it's quite pointless to describe its importance again and again. But I would like to emphasize the consequences of avoiding a damaged tie rod end.
When you are driving the car, your life and your family's life is in your hand. And the safety of your vehicle depends a lot on your steering system. You already know that a tie rod is a significant part of that system.
So, as soon as you notice any sign of a damaged tie rod end, please inspect the vehicle by an expert immediately and replace the tie rods if needed.