Tie Rod End : The Ultimate Guide

 

Tie Rod End BannerEvery driver expects a vehicle to move straight on when they want it to and turn when they rotate the steering wheel. Several components work together to enable that. One of them-and among the most important- is the tie rod end. Connected to the steering knuckle on one end and inner tie rod on the other, the component turns a wheel directly.

Many car owners think little about this vehicle part, often driving around with worn or damaged tie rod ends. It can be dangerous, especially if driving at high speed or on a road that is not straight. Tie rod ends are so essential that, in their absence or if they are badly damaged, you would lose control of the vehicle.

In this guide, we will look at everything that every driver or car owner needs to know about this crucial component. Understanding what the tie rod is, its function, and how to fix a damaged one is a necessity. It helps to ensure the component is always working properly, making your car safe to ride in.

Among the topics we will delve into are:

Tie rod end definition

How a tie rod looks like

How to tell a failing or worn out tie rod

How to fix or replace a damaged tie rod, and

How to buy a quality tie rod

Read on and get a deeper understanding of this part of the steering system so you can ensure proper vehicle control and alignment at all times.

Chapter 1

Tie Rod end Definition

Tie Rod End Diagram

Source: http://northroadauto.com

What is a tie rod end on a car?

A tie rod is the small steel rod that attaches to the steering knuckle on one end and the inner tie rod on the other. It connects the steering rack or linkage to the steering knuckle, allowing steering wheel movements to be transferred to the wheels.

Tie rod ends are simple components that are easy to recognize. Usually, they come in the form of a ball joint and a threaded shaft or sleeve. The ball joint section connects to the steering knuckle in the same way that suspension system ball joints do.

A tie rod ball joint allows the wheels to turn both right and left. The joint also enables vertical movement of the wheel in resonance with the suspension. That way, a driver can turn a vehicle while also driving over bumps.

The other part of the tie rod end, the threaded sleeve, links to the inner tie rod and serves to transfer movements from the steering mechanism. The threaded part also helps with setting a vehicle’s alignment angle.

Tie rods ends are used in virtually every type of vehicle from light to heavy automobiles. The components are usually found in the front wheels. Although not common, some vehicles will have tie rod ends in the rear.

Tie rod end and ball joints sample images

Source: http://www.ebay.com

What are the difference between Tie Rod Ends and Ball Joints?

When talking about a ball joint or tie rod, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. Both components feature a ball and socket joint at one end and connect to the knuckle by means of a threaded stud, castle nut, and cotter pin.

Although tie rods contain a ball and socket joint, they are not related to the ball joint, both physically and in terms of function. Ball joints are more of suspension system parts, connecting to related parts such as control arms. Tie rod ends, on the other hand, are steering components and linked to the steering system or mechanism.

Despite the two being different, they work together to ensure vehicle control. Each performs a different function from the other but cannot do so independently. A ball joint, in most cases, supports a vehicle’s weight while also providing a pivot point for the wheels and suspension. That way, ball joints allow the wheels to turn freely for smooth vehicle control.

Tie rod ends, being steering components, depend on the ball joint for wheel movement. With the weight of the vehicle on the ball joint and control arm, the tie rod end only has the up and down movement of the wheels to allow. That frees the component of excess pressure and ensures turns of the steering wheel are adequately transferred to the wheels.

Both tie rod ends and ball joints are designed to absorb wheel movements, especially when driving in harsh conditions. That is why each component features a ball and socket joint. It ensures a driver does not receive the vibration feedback from the wheels through the steering components.

Inner and Outer Tie Rod End Sample Image

Source: http://www.phase2motortrend.com

How Inner and Outer Tie Rod different?

The steering component that runs from the wheel to the steering rack or linkage is known as the tie rod. It is made up of two parts; the outer tie rod (commonly called tie rod end and the subject of this guide) and inner tie rod. The two parts connect by means of a threaded and adjustable sleeve.

The threaded sleeve allows vehicle alignment to be carried out. By increasing or decreasing the distance of the sleeve, the wheels on both sides can be set to be parallel to each other. The inner tie rod features rubber bellows around it for protection.

The part that attaches to the steering knuckle is known as the outer tie rod end or simply, a tie rod end. It has a ball joint at one end with a threaded stud to mount it on the knuckle. The other section forms part of the adjustable sleeve mentioned earlier and features internal or external threading depending on the design.

 

Rack End Vs Tie Rod

The outer tie rod connects to the steering knuckle at the wheel. The other end, known as inner tie rod, attaches to the steering mechanism components. In most modern vehicles, it connects to the rack end. That is where the transfer of steering wheel movements occurs.

Tie Rod End Location Image

Source: http://drivinglife.net

Tie Rod End Location and Function

Regardless of whether your vehicle uses a pinion and rack or linkage steering system, it will have tie rod ends attached to the wheels at the knuckle. The function of a tie rod end is to connect the front wheels on either side together. This causes the wheels to turn at the same time to follow the direction a driver intends them to.

Besides allowing for the horizontal movement when turning a vehicle, tie rod ends also help with wheel alignment. Technicians usually use the adjustable sleeve that links the outer and inner tie rods to correct alignment angle.

Being able to turn a car is one of the most important aspects of driving. It allows a driver to avoid obstacles, negotiate corners and a whole range of driving possibilities. Loss of turning ability can render a vehicle uncontrollable, which is the reason why tie rods and tie rod ends are crucial steering system components.

To better understand the design of this important steering component, it would be good to examine it in fetal; the parts that make it, the purpose of each, and the raw materials used to manufacture the component. The next chapter talks about that.

Chapter 2

Tie Rod End Assembly

 

Tie Rod End Parts

Source: http://skyjacker.com

A tie rod end comprises several parts, particularly at the end with the ball joint. In this chapter, we will look at the assembly that makes a tie rod end. Because designs vary depending on the manufacturer and the type of vehicle the tie rod end is made for, we will look at the typical assembly- the type that is used in most vehicles.

 

What does tie rod end looks like?

Tie rod ends are mostly identical in shape, with only a few differences. The component is usually a steel meal structure with one end featuring a ball and socket joint and the other a threaded shaft or sleeve. It is the sleeve part that connects to the inner tie rod.

The ball joint side is a round design with a metal stud encased in a spherical metal structure. The other part of the stud is a threaded and tapered shaft. It is the part that goes into a corresponding opening on the mounting arm of the steering knuckle.

Here is an illustration of a tie rod end showing the various parts.

 

Parts of a Tie Rod End

As we have seen, a tie rod assembly consists of two main parts: ball joint and threaded sleeve or shaft. The parts that make the ball joint section are explained below.

Zerk Fitting Sample Images

Source: http://what-when-how.com

Grease/Zerk Fitting

Most tie rod ends are serviceable and come with a grease fitting for the application of grease. Regular greasing reduces friction and extends the joints lifespan. The grease fitting is installed on the top side of the ball and socket joint. Tie rods that do not have zerk fittings are lubed for life and require no lubrication from outside.

 

Grease Relief Valve

Located on the ball and socket joint, the relief valve is the opening that allows old lubricant and contaminants to flow out. In its absence, accumulated debris, water, and other pollutants would continue to wear down the joint.

A grease release valve also helps to protect the dust boot from pressure overloads during the pumping of grease into the joint. Not all tie rod ends come with this part, though. When greasing the joints of such tie rod ends, care should be taken to avoid overwhelming the dust boot. It is advisable to stop just when the boot starts to swell.

Dust Boot Sample Image

Source: http://www.atkinsrotary.com

Dust Boot

This part prevents the entry of grit and moisture. Usually made of rubber, the boot protects the joint from wear and corrosion. Most of the time, a bad tie rod end results from a dust boot that has ruptured or worn put to allow contaminants into the joint.

Some tie rod ends allow for the dust boot to be replaced. However, that can only be a remedy if the other parts of the joint are in good condition. In cases where the boot and the whole joint is severely worn or damaged, replacing the whole tie rod end assembly becomes inevitable.

 

Upper and Lower Boot Retainer Rings

These are rings that hold the dust boot in place and prevent the entry of dirt and different types of pollutants. In a new tie rod end, the rings are intact and sturdy. With time, age and various forms of damage may affect the condition of the dust boot, causing it to come off loose. This can be  disastrous as it would cause all kinds of dirt and water to enter the joint.

Ball Stud Sample Image

Source: http://www.ebay.co.uk

Ball Stud

This is the part of the joint that features a ball. The ball is made from high-strength steel and precision machined to exact dimensions and design. The ball stud must fit the socket as required, or the ball joint will not function as expected.

If the lubrication fails, the ball stud may wear out and cause excessive movement in the socket. Should that happen, the tie rod end requires to be replaced. One end of the stud is a threaded shaft that attaches the tie rod end to the steering knuckle.

The stud also features a tapered and threaded section. This part fits into a tapered opening on the steering knuckle, producing a firm hold and that ensures sturdiness in the whole tie rod end assembly.

 

Bearing

Mostly polymer our steel bearings allow the joint to operate at low friction levels. Plastic bearings do not require any lubricant for the entire lifetime of the tie rod end. Others require the application of grease and the tie rod ends with such bearing feature a zerk installation for greasing purposes.

Over time, wear causes the usefulness of the bearings to wane, and the tie rod end to need replacing. That can take years, though, as these auto parts are usually made to last a long time. Although they require you regularly lube the joint, serviceable tie rod ends allow you to control the rate of wear at the joint.

 

Support Spring

Located in the socket and at the end of the ball stud, the zerk installation provides compensation for wear and keeps the joint operating as required. The support spring is very powerful. As the joint wears with time, it pushes on the ball to keep the joint shock resistant. As a result, the tie rod end also remains tolerant to wear for a long time. The ball joints of some tie rod ends do not have this part.

Castle and cotter pin sample images

Source: http://www.est1946.com

Castle Nut and Cotter Pin

On the threaded end of the ball stud is a castle nut. Castle nuts derive their name from the shape that looks like a castle. Due to the grooved design, the nut allows a cotter pin to be inserted. This creates a firm hold and prevents the castle but from coming undine or unfastening.

With the crucial function that tie rod ends perform, this type of fastening is highly necessary. The castle but and cotter pin are used to mount the tie rod end to the steering knuckle.

 

Steel Shaft/Sleeve/Body

Away from the ball socket joint, the other part of a tie rod end is a metal sleeve or shaft. Depending on the type of vehicle, the sleeve can be threaded on the outside or internally. A mention in the preceding chapter, the threaded sleeved is used to adjust the alignment angle of the wheels to match manufacturer specifications.

Equipped with knowledge about the tie rod assembly, you are now in a position to tell if the component is faulty or not. That is because damage affects one component or the other, sometimes several of them. The next part of this guide looks into the ways to tell if a tie rod end is faulty.

Chapter 3

Symptoms of a Failing or Worn Out Tie Rod End

Sample Image of a Tie Rod End

Source: eBay.com

Tie rod ends are made from high-strength steel. This makes them resistant to wear and damage. Despite that, constant use, impact, rough driving conditions or even age can have a damaging effect on these components. Often, wear happens gradually, producing some slight movement in the joint. This happens without showing signs since the movements are too small to detect.

With time, wear reaches a point where it becomes noticeable through various symptoms. Immediate action to fix or replace the affected tie rod end is then necessary, or you may risk losing control of the vehicle while driving.

Because tie rod ends are not linked to a vehicles electrical system, mechanics rely on physical signs to detect fault. As a vehicle owner, understanding these indicators of failure is crucial for your safety when driving. You will know when install new tie rod ends in your car.

 

What are the symptoms of failing tie rod end?

Most signs of wear are tie rod end ball joint symptoms. Because the joint cannot be repaired, an indication that it is damaged warrants the installation of a new outer tie rod assembly.  The symptoms include the following.

Alignment Sample Image

Source: http://www.hotrod.com

  1. Vehicle Falling Out of Alignment

Apart from moving the wheels to follow the turning of the steering wheel, tie rod ends work together with suspension components to ensure proper alignment. When worn down and loose, a tie rod end moves too much in the joint, which means the front end alignment will be off. This can be felt when driving. The vehicle tends to drift from a straight-on direction, pulling to the right or left.

The Steering Wheel sample image

Source: http://www.reference.com

  1. Shaky or Loose Steering Wheel

A tie rod end is meant to connect the two wheels on either side and ensure solid movement. When new and operating within specifications, there is little play in the joints. The wheels turn left and right smoothly, and the vertical movement is firm and in unison with the suspension.

Excessive wear of the joints causes tie rod ends to lose firmness. The ball stud moves in the joint too loosely, transmitting the movements to the steering wheel as vibrations. Whenever you accelerate, you may feel the steering wheel shake or feel loose.

This symptom could also result from a broken part of the suspension, imbalance at the wheels, or faulty braking system. Therefore, inspect the tie rod end to confirm if indeed the vibrations are coming from there.

Uneven and excessive tire wear

Source: http://www.jaguarforums.com

  1. Uneven or Excessive Tire Wear

When properly aligned, tires wear evenly and gradually. Poor alignment angle throws the wheels off balance. The result is tires that wear too much in the inner or outer edges. Although other problems can cause the problem of uneven tire wear, a bad tie rod end could be the culprit if worn down. The best thing to do would be to check the for play or dust boot rupture the very moment you notice this symptom.

 

  1. Drooping/Sagging Wheels

Although tie rod ends are more of steering system components, they contain a ball and socket joint to pivot the wheels. Bad tie rod ends will not support this up/down movement. They will also not hold the wheels firmly, leading to a sagging of the suspension and the wheels tilting inwards or outwards. If you notice the wheels not maintaining a perpendicular orientation with the ground, check the condition of your vehicle’s tie rod ends.

Although rare, a tie rod can bend due to impact. A bent tie rod symptom can come in the form of tilted wheels, which can be slight or severe depending on level of damage. If you just hit a curb or pothole, it would be advisable to check for a tie rod break or bend. Replacing the whole rod assembly is recommended if you find any form of damage.

 

  1. Steering Problems

A worn outer tie rod or bad inner tie rod can affect alignment and cause your car to drift from right to left. This happens even when you have pointed the vehicle in a straight direction. Worn tie rod ends also lead to other car control problems. You may feel like the steering wheel is tilted at an angle and the vehicle not steering according to your wish.

A delayed response when steering the car could indicate worn tie rod ends that are allowing too much play. While poor vehicle control could be as a result of a loose pinion rack or bad suspension components, a worn tie rod end is one of the main causes.

 

  1. Unusual noises

Tie rods ends consists of a ball joint at one end. If the joint runs out of lubricant or if there is too much wear, it can lead to the parts inside the joint touching or knocking against each other. It would cause the joint to produce sounds, especially when turning a corner or accelerating.

Tie rod noise while driving can be a squeak, clunk, or any other sound of metal parts coming into contact. On examining the tie rod end, you may notice the dust boots broken to allow contaminants such as sand, grit, and moisture. Moving the component from side to side would reveal excessive movement.

Other Failure opf tie rod end

Source: www.ford-trucks.com

What causes tie rod ends to go bad?

A tie rod end can go bad for many reasons. It can be normal wear as the component ages, or damage due to neglect and bad driving. With time, which is after many years, a vehicle requires new tie rod ends. That is because the component inevitably wears due to constant usage.

Tie rod ends that feature a zerk fitting require special grease applied regularly. Failure to grease tie rod end joints leads to rapid wear. Within time, you may find that the joint produces a shriek or squeak. Unless lubricant is applied as required, the wear can cause you a tie rod end replacement.

Sometimes, it may not be about forgetting to apply grease but a broken dust boot. This is the part that keeps out grit and other contaminants. Physical impact can cause it to tear, and harsh conditions such as heat can cause it to break down. When this happens, damage to the joint occurs. Some dust boots can be repair or replaced. Others, when damaged, require the whole assembly to be changed.

Bumps, potholes and other road conditions can cause damage to tie rod ends. However, it is often rough driving that accelerates this. Hitting a pothole at high speed and with a loaded vehicle can shorten the lifespan of this steering system component. Sometimes, it can be so severe that it results in breakage.

A broken or badly worn tie rod end is a disaster in waiting. It can cause the wheels to break free from the steering system and the steering wheel to lose usefulness. In such scenarios, driving safety can be lost in an instant.

How do you check to see if the tie rod ends in your vehicle are in good condition or bad? Let us see.

Inspecting Tie Rod

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How can you check your tie rod ends?

With the car safely jacked and the wheels suspended in the air, hold the wheel in the 10, o’clock position in one hand and 9 o’ clock position with the other. Move it from side to side by pushing it in and out with both hands. If there is too much movement, the tie rod end might be worn down or damaged in another way. A damaged joint would also squeak when you move the wheel quickly from side to side.

Next, locate the tie rod end. It is the ball jointed component just behind the brake rotor and next to the ball joint and control arm. Examine its dust boot. If still intact, the tie rod end may be fine. Most often, the boot will show signs of damage such as a tear, gush, or wear. On further inspection, you may find that it has allowed the entry of grit or even water into the joint.

The last procedure involves checking the tie rod end by moving it. Hold its shaft or sleeve in the hand and try to wiggle it. Normally, the tie rod end should not move or should show very little movement. If it feels loose in the joint, it is time to replace it. The joint is most probably worn to the point that presents a driving risk.

 

What to Do

Unless you intend only to replace a damaged dust boot, you should consider installing a new tie rod end. These components are too important in a vehicle to ignore, and immediate action is necessary the very time you notice them failing. How do you replace a tie rod end. Find out in the next chapter.

Chapter 4

Tie Rod End Replacement

Replacing the tie rod end

Source: http://diy-auto-repair.wonderhowto.com

Tie rods are steering system components and do not have much weight to support. They can, therefore, last a long time. In fact, some car owners may not even replace tie rod ends for the entire period that they own the vehicle. However, that largely depends on many factors, such as the road conditions, how careful they are when driving, or how well they maintain the component.

Nevertheless, you may find yourself having to replace a bad control arm. Then, you would have two options: to do it yourself or seek professional services. And while finding a mechanic for the job is highly recommended, replacing a tie rod end is a simple task that requires no skill. It also takes a very short time-usually less than an hour to change a single tie rod end.

When to replace a tie rod end?

Source: ricksfreeautorepairadvice.com

When should I replace tie rod end?

Tie rod ends need to be replaced as soon as they start to move excessively at the ball and socket joint. Regular check-ups can help you catch damage early enough. Doing so helps to avoid cases where you drive with a vehicle whose steering efficiency is compromised and driving it unsafe for you and other road users.

When you have missed detecting damage or wear, replace the tie rod end if you notice the signs of failure such as steering issues, sounds, loss of alignment, steering wheel vibrations, and others. Also, when the dust boot is broken and allowing grease out and contaminants in.

 

How do you replace tie rod ends?

If you know how to replace a ball joint, changing a tie rod end should not present any challenge. The two are closely related both in construction and mounting. To remove the component, you only need to lift the vehicle, access the mounting points, and use a few simple tools to loosen it up.

Tie rod ends are usually attached to the steering knuckle by means of a castle nut that is held in place by a cotter pin. The other end connects to the inert tie rod using an adjusting sleeve and a jam but. Once the joint on the steering knuckle is removed, disconnecting it from the inner tie rod is a straightforward job.

Installing a new tie rod end is pretty easy. It is the reverse of the removal process and should take you even lesser time. It is usually recommended to replace tie rod ends in pairs. That is on both sides. If one is worn, it is most likely that the other one is also failing.

 

What factors need to be consider when replacing A Tie Rod End? 

How to fix tie rod end

Source: http://www.funnydog.tv

As we have seen in the earlier chapters, a tie rod helps with more than pushing and pulling the wheels during steering. They are the components that ensure proper wheel alignment angle. During replacement, you need to take extreme care not to change alignment but let it remain as it was. To ensure proper removal and installation of this component, here are the tie rod end removal tricks.

  • Find a work area that is spacious as you will need to move around the vehicle. For easy access when removing toe rod ends, rotate the steering to increase the working space behind the wheel hub.
  • Apply penetrating fluid to the nuts you will remove prior to unfastening them. It helps to reduce the force required to remove them. You can also use oil for the same purpose if penetrating fluid is not available.
  • Use a tie rod removal tool when removing the ball joint from its mount on the wheel side. It will make the process easy for you. Sometimes and depending on the situation, you may not have this tool. That does not mean you cannot replace the tie rod ends in your car. Use the available tools such as as a mallet to force the joint out.
  • Before beginning any work to on the component, ensure you have the right replacement part. While there is no universal design for tie rod ends, it is advisable to ensure the one you buy is compatible with what your car needs. Ensuring the size and design of the new one matches the old tie rod end can help.
  • Do not change the jam nut position on the adjusting sleeve. Only loosen it a bit then fasten it to its original position before removing the tie rod end. Better still, indicate its position with a marker.
  • Have the vehicle’s manual from the manufacturer with you throughout. You will need to consult it for various pieces of information, such as torque values for the nuts. That is because wrong torque can result in installation problems.
Replacing tie rod end

Source: http://www.cargurus.com

How much does it cost to replace tie rod ends?

This varies depending on car type, local rates, and other factors. On average, the amount lies between $100 and $200. To cut down on the expenses to change a tie rod end, you may choose to do carry out the replacement yourself. It will only cost you the amount to pay for a new tie rod end, which is usually less than $100.

To avoid multiple labor charges, it is advisable to replace every component that requires changing during this time. Tie rod replacement cost, for example, would be lower than replacing the outer tie rod in one visit, and the outer tie rod in another. But that would require you to know when to replace tie rods as there are times when only the tie rod end is bad.

After replacing a tie rod end, ensure you get wheel alignment done. It avoids the usual toe problems after tie rod end replacement, and which can cause steering issues. While you may take extra care throughout, the process often results in alignment going off. And even if it did not, the bad tie rod end will most probably have affected toe angle.

Like every other replacement part, finding a quality tie rod end to install in your vehicle can be an uphill task. Quality is determined by many factors, such as material composition, manufacturing process, design, and more. Next, we look into how to ensure the tie rod end that you buy suits your expectations.

Chapter 5

How to Buy a Quality Tie Rod End

Quality of a tie rod end sample image

Source: http://skyjacker.com

When shopping for a tie rid end, you want to choose a quality one. You also want the right one for your type of vehicle. A quality tie rod end guarantees an extended lifespan and exceptional performance throughout its lifetime. This essential considering that these components determine the level of vehicle control. The right tie rod end, on the other hand, avoids compatibility issues. In this last chapter, we will discuss what to look out for in a replacement tie rod end.

A new tie rod end sample image

Source: http://www.kingswoodcountry.com.auMore

What are the factors to be consider when buying good quality of tie rod?

They are several. Each severs a purpose in ensuring both quality and suitability for your type of vehicle, its year of manufacture, and other requirements. The considerations include:

 

Vehicle Type, Model, and Year of Manufacture

Tie rod end compatibility usually depends on your type of vehicle and model. Older car often require tie rod ends that match their design, which is different from that of modern one. You will need to be armed with this information before deciding on the tie rod end to buy. At physical auto parts stores, the salesperson can help you get the right design and model for your car. If shopping online from the website of a popular auto parts manufacturer, there will be boxes to fill the vehicle details. Doing so would help you find the exact tie rod for your needs.

 

OEM or Aftermarket?

While this is often a matter of personal choice, knowing what to expect can help you make the right decision. OEM tie rod ends come with features to match the original ones. That can cushion you from compatibility issues and make your selection easier. However, OEM parts usually do not offer additional features and benefits. Aftermarket parts do, and choosing them for your tie rod can bring several advantages. A quality aftermarket tie rod end can last for long as it is likely to be made from damage and wear-resistant materials,

A sample image of tie rod end

Source: http://fliph.tk

Sealed or Grease-able Joint?

Sealed joints feature a nylon bearing that requires no greasing over the entire lifetime of the tie rod end. While that relieves the vehicle owner of maintenance obligations, it can mean having to replace the component earlier than the grease-able type. Serviceable tie rod ends feature a zerk fitting for the injection of lubricant. Regular greasing minimizes the rate of wear, and tie rod ends with this kind of joint can last for long. Aftermarket tie rod ends are often the grease-able types.

 

Brand and Price

Choosing a reputable brand can help you avoid regrets. These manufacturers make quality parts that last for long, which is what you expect of your tie rod ends. That does not mean choosing the big companies, though. There are smaller auto parts manufacturers who produce quality components and sell them at an affordable price. With the exception of high-end cars, a tie rod for the average vehicle usually costs less than $100. Higher prices can be exploitative, while those that are extremely low can be a sign of poor quality. It is advisable to choose a fairly-priced tie rod end.

How to grease tie rod ends

Source: http://www.suspension.com

Caring for Tie Rod Ends After Installation

After you have bought and installed new tie rod ends, knowing how to prevent or minimize wear and damage can help extend their service life. We compiled a list of the measures to take for tie rods end durability.

 

Regular and Correct Greasing

If the tie rod ends are the serviceable types, it is recommended to grease them on installation and regularly after that. Greasing reduces friction and prevents rapid wear at the joint. But applying lube is not enough. You need to know how to do it correctly. Under-greasing means friction remains high and may not be helpful in extending the joint’s lifespan. Over-greasing, on the other hand, risks rupturing the dust boot and allowing the entry of contaminants.

You also need to use the right kind of grease-quality and meant for the servicing of such joints. In some instances, contaminants may gain entry through the grease fittings. You should, therefore, ensure that you clean the fitting every time you intend to grease the joint. You can use a piece of rag for that, wiping the top part until you can see the shiny metal before placing the grease gun on the installation.

 

Gentle Driving

Potholes, bumps, and other road imperfection shock vehicle parts that are connected to the wheels. Among these parts are tie rod ends. Despite these components featuring a ball joint to allow the movements and absorb vibrations, constant exposure to the harsh conditions can overwhelm the joint. If possible, avoid driving over bumpy roads. And if you have to, low speeds can help protect the tie rod ends among other components. Hitting the curb can also cause damage to the tie rod end.

 

Careful Servicing

There have been instances when parts that were in good condition got damaged when servicing other components in a vehicle. This usually happens when the said parts are delicate and involves a technician pinching or pricking soft parts of components. Tie rod ends come with a delicate part of the assembly known as the dust boot. It is one of the most crucial parts yet among the softest.

A slight touch with a sharp object or direct impact from a blunt one can cause it to tear or develop an opening. When that happens, it can mean a joint that allows in dirt and water to corrode or wear the internal components such as bearing or ball stud.

In addition to taking precautions that prevent wear and damage, regular inspection of the tie rod ends is recommended. You do not want to be driving a car with faulty steering components. It can be unsafe for you, your passengers, and the others on the road. Change failing tie rod ends as soon as you notice that they are worn or damaged.

Conclusion

 

After reading through this guide, you now have a better understanding of one of the most important parts of the steering system- the tie rod ends. These simple and often neglected components serve a useful purpose. They ensure proper steering and safety when driving. They also help to align the wheels as required.

The insights provided in this full-length article will help you care for this component better. You now know where it is located how to tell if it is faulty, or when it requires to be replaced. And when you have to change it, how to find the right one for your vehicle. How to prevent wear and damage, too, and prolong its lifespan.

Tie rod ends can mean the difference between a vehicle that responds when you rotate the steering wheel or wheels that tilt to the sides are do not turn as you want them to. Knowing how to ensure these components are working correctly is knowledge that every car owner or driver needs to have- and what is contained in this guide.

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