Tie Rod End Manufacturer
As a reliable tie rod end manufacturer, we ensure each of our products can withstand different environments and application conditions.
Proper steering is required for safety when driving. This, in turn, depends on the design and performance of the tie rod.
This is made possible by the use of modern equipment and a superior tie rod manufacturing process in our factories.
To ensure increased strength and a firm hold, the rod ends, including those of custom made tie rod ends, feature finer threads. This also allows for precision when making adjustments to the alignment.
Right from the material selection phase to when the finished product is packaged, we adhere to industry requirements for quality.
Besides making tie rod ends that conform to OE specifications, we also make various components according to customer requirements. They include custom tie rod sleeves, custom length tie rods, and more.
Why MZW Automotive Tie Rod Ends?
MZW tie rod ends are made from high-strength forged steel which makes them capable of holding up to demanding loads.
- Tie rod ends from MZW also feature a protective coating to resist the corrosive nature of rust, fuels, and many other substances.
- To further increase the lifespan, the rod ends come with dust boots to prevent contamination.
- The boots are made of polyurethane to resist the cracking and splitting caused by harsh environments.
- The threads come pre-lubricated to make installation easier and adjustments hassle-free.
MZW Made Tie Rod End
Tie Rod End Cross Reference Lookup
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MZW Tie Rod End Guide
The tie rod end is one of the parts that your car cannot do without. However, not many people know what it does or even how it works. Learn about the automotive tie rod ends here in this guide. We compiled information regarding every aspect of the component from the definition to function and working principle. To help with proper tie rod end identification, we also included plenty of images.
Tie Rod End Definition: What is a Tie Rod End on a Car?
The tie rod end is the slender shaft found between the steering knuckle and the inner tie rod. It’s also called outer tie rod end mainly due to its position. To help you understand the component better, let’s see the parts that closely relate to it.
Vehicle steering systems consist of linkage that transmits driver inputs to the wheels. Among these parts are the tie rods. A typical tie rod consists of two parts; the inner and outer tie rod. The outer part is what is usually called the tie rod end.
The tie rod end connects the steering system to the wheel, helping to transfer steering forces. Every car, truck, or SUV has these components on each side of the front suspension. Although rare, you will also find the rod ends in the rear of some vehicles.
Tie rods ends consist of a threaded sleeve or shaft on one side and a ball joint on the other. The side with the joint attaches to the steering knuckle. On the other side, the threaded part connects to the inner tie rod.
This tie rod end diagram shows how the component looks like both inside and outside.
Sometimes, the part between the inner tie rod and the tie rod end contains what is popularly known as an adjustment sleeve. The tie rod end adjustment sleeve helps to set the toe angle. Without proper too alignment, the vehicle will not steer properly.
Inner Vs. Outer Tie Rod
If your vehicle uses the popular rack and pinion steering system, you have two parts of the tie rod; the inner and outer tie rod ends. How do the two sections differ and what does each connect to?
The inner tie rod attaches to the steering rack. It’s often not visible and covered by a bellows dust boot. The boot protects the section where the rod connects with the steering rack end, helping to keep out foreign materials.
The outer tie rod end, on the other hand, forms the part that directly connects to the steering wheel via the knuckle. Apart from ensuring the vertical movement of the wheels, this part also turns them. The outer tie rod derives the name from its position, which is the outer side of the steering linkage.
Tie Rod End Vs. Ball Joint
A tie rod end features a ball joint at the connection point with the steering knuckle. This can be confusing since the ball joint in a car usually refers to the control arm joint. While both are identical structurally, it’s important that we point out the differences.
Ball joints are suspension parts that link the suspension to the wheels. Their main function is to pivot the wheels and suspension, bearing the weight of a vehicle’s frame. They are usually positioned where the control arms meet with the steering knuckle.
Tie rod ends are steering parts that attach the steering linkage to the wheels. They primarily transfer the movement of the rack gear to the wheels. Just like the ball joint, a tie rod end allows for vertical and sideways movements of the wheels. However, they do not support the vehicle weight.
Tie Rod End Function and Working
Two major parts make up the tie rod end assembly; the inner threaded shaft or sleeve and the outer section that contains a ball joint. The threaded part helps to fasten the component to the other end of the tie rod, connecting it to the steering rack or center link.
The sleeve, besides connecting the rod to the other part of the steering linkage, also helps to align the wheels. This is done by adjusting its position on the inner tie rod. As we saw earlier, this part may also contain an adjustment sleeve.
The tie rod end ball joint swivels on the steering knuckle. As a result, the wheels can turn to follow driver inputs while also moving up and down. These movements happen at the same time when the vehicle is in motion, thanks to the joint. We can, therefore, summarize the tie rod end functions into the following.
- To turn the wheels while also allowing their vertical movements
- To align the wheels to the specifications of the manufacturer
Parts of a Car Tie Rod End
Tie rods ends are generally identical in their design. That means different brands of the component will only have a few differences. Among the parts that make a typical tie rod end assembly include the following.
Tie Rod End Sleeve/Shaft
This part is usually threaded, either on the outside or internally. The threads attach the part to the inner tie rod which, in turn, connects to the other components of the steering mechanism. The sleeve/shaft is also crucial to proper wheel alignment. A nut known as the tie rod end jam nut secures the shaft, helping to maintain the set alignment.
Tie Rod End Ball Joint
The tie rod end joint is the most elaborate part. It contains all the components that you would find in a typical ball joint. The joint can be sealed or serviceable. If it’s a stock tie rod end, the joint will likely be the sealed type. Aftermarket rod ends mostly feature a grease fitting through which to apply lubricant. As a result, they often last longer than the OEM types.
The parts that make tie rod end ball joint include:
Ball stud- made from hardened steel, the ball stud consists of a threaded side and spherical end. The threaded section secures the tie rod end to the steering knuckle while the ball joint end provides the pivot point. During operation, the ball stud swivels inside the joint’s socket, on a bearing. The swivel allows the wheel to turn sideways as well as move vertically.
Bearing- the bearing or bearings surrounds the spherical part of the stud, providing a low friction surface on which to rotate. This part can be plastic or metal. Most stock tie rod ball joints use plastic bearings that come lubed for life. Aftermarket models, on the other hand, generally use metal bearings. These are usually greasable and more durable than the non-greasable types.
Spring- found in the space between the ball stud and the socket, the spring helps to tension the stud. By doing so, it compensates for wear and enables noiseless operation of the assembly.
Nut- the nut fastens the tie rod end to the steering knuckle. It can be the normal nut or what’s called a castle nut. Most stock tie rods use the conventional nut, while a majority of aftermarket tie rod end ball joints are equipped with a castle nut. Usually secured by a cotter pin, this type of nut provides a more reliable installation.
Dust boot- tie rod ends also often feature a dust boot at the ball joint. The tie rod end boot keeps the lubricating grease inside the joint while also preventing the entry of water, debris, and other materials. The joint will usually corrode when the boot cracks or breaks down.
Grease nipple– when the joint is the serviceable type, a grease fitting or grease Zerk is often one of its components. The fitting lets you lubricate the joint. Alongside the grease Zerk also comes a grease release valve. This valve helps with removing the old grease and contaminants. It also prevents overpressure from the application of too much grease.
Tie Rod End Problems
Tie rods are designed to resist different forces when your car is moving. Despite that, certain conditions can be overwhelming and cause damage. Apart from the normal wear and tear that you cannot avoid, other causes of tie rod end failure or damage include:
- Rough driving, especially on roads with a lot of unevenness
- Under greasing or over greasing the serviceable types of tie rod end ball joints
- Exposure of the dust boot to harsh conditions such as heat and debris or impact
- Bumps and potholes on the road
- Exposure to excessive water or moisture
- Minor accidents
Tie rods ends contain moving parts. These are bound to wear or corrode over time, eventually causing the entire assembly to fail. The ball joint, in particular, usually gets worn earlier than the other parts. Situations that may speed up damage include corrosion caused by water and accelerated wear from rough driving.
A worn or cracked dust boot is another common tie rod end problem. These usually break down due to heat, impact or age, allowing grease out and contaminants in. Worn tie rod end boots can cause the joint to fail and the component to require replacing.
Tie rod ends can also bend when subjected to severe impact. Examples of such situations include collisions, a wheel hitting an obstacle, and more. In some situations, the shaft may also break. A worn or damaged tie rod end assembly can be dangerous. You may even end up losing control of the car.
Performing regular tie rod end checks is highly recommended. Inspecting the component helps detect damage before it becomes a safety risk. Other measures include driving gently, lubricating serviceable joints routinely, and avoiding excessively wet driving conditions.
Tie Rod End FAQs
Q1. How important are tie rod ends?
A. Your car needs them to turn the wheels. Tie rod ends attach wheels to the steering mechanism. If they are not working, it can mean a car that cannot steer. Such a situation would present a drivability problem, but more importantly, a safety concern. Regular checks can help ensure these components are in good condition always.
Q2. What are tie rod end assemblies made from?
A. To produce sturdy and durable tie rod end shafts, manufacturers usually use hardened steel. The component has to stand up to the stress caused by the wheels moving up and down. It also needs to be stand up to the impact when the wheels hit a curb, for example. If the quality of the material is low, the rod end is more prone to damage than the normal wear and tear.
Q3. Is a tie rod end and control arm the same component?
A. The straight answer is no. Some control arms that feature a single beam can deceptively look like a tie rod end, but they are not. While both parts carry a ball joint at one end, they belong to different car systems and function differently. Control arms are suspension parts that hinge on the vehicle frame on one end.
Tie rod ends are steering components that attach to the inner tie rods on one side. Both parts connect to the steering knuckle at the wheel side but on different mounting positions. The control arm bears more weight than the tie rod end, which mostly serves to transfer steering forces to the wheels.
Q4. How many miles do tie rod ends last?
A. The lifespan depends on the quality of the component, your driving habits, and the maintenance practices that you employ. On average, you can cover about 100 000 miles before you need new tie rod ends. Stock rod ends often do not last a long time and require replacing too soon. That’s because they usually come with sealed ball joints. When the grease finally dries, the joint starts to wear too quickly.
Q5. What causes tie rod end failure?
A. Reasons include:
- Excessive wear of the tie rod end ball joint due to under greasing or the grease drying out
- Broken or cracked dust boot that allows water and other corrosive substances into the joint
- Rusting caused by excessive moisture and that could range the thread on the tie rod end shaft
- Bending or breakage of the shaft or ball joint stud due to impact
- Normal wear and tear over time
Q6. What are the signs of bad tie rod end?
A. Most of the time, it’s the ball joint on the rod end that gets damaged. Therefore, many of the signs are usually tie rod end ball joint symptoms. Among the most common are:
- Alignment issues that cause your car to drift from moving in a straight-on direction or the steering wheel pulling to one side
- Uneven wear of the tires. You may notice the outer or inner side of the tire wearing excessively
- Too much wheel play
- Shaking steering wheel that also feels loose. This mostly happens when you step on the gas pedal
- Odd sounds or what is often called tie rod end noise when driving
- Sagging wheels due to a worn tie rod ball joint
By staying alert to these signs, you will know when to replace tie rod ends before their condition worsens. That’s because you may end up with a car that you cannot guide any more.
Q7. Can a bad tie rod end be repaired?
A. Bad tie rod ends will often be a damaged shaft/sleeve or worn ball joint. These cannot be fixed and require replacing the whole tie rod end assembly. Tie rods are generally not too costly to buy or even replace. Besides, driving with a malfunctioning rod end can cause dangerous steering and vehicle handling problems.
Q8. How much does tie rod end replacement cost?
A. The amount ranges from $100 to $200 and varies across car types and models. The component costs around $20 to $100. Tie rod ends usually need to be replaced on both sides. It prevents common problems after tie rod end replacement such as improper alignment. When shopping for these parts, you may want to scout various suppliers or auto sellers for deals.
Q9. Do you need to replace tie rod end and the inner tie rod at the same time?
A. You do not unless the inner tie rod is also damaged. If in good condition, only install the rod end. The only replacement that is recommended in pairs is that of the tie rod ends on the other side of the axle. Doing so takes care of alignment issues. It’s also logical since the other tie rod end is also likely to require replacing in no time.
Q10. What are the best tie rod ends for my car?
The right tie rod end for your car or truck can mean the difference between proper handling and steering difficulties. A quality one, on the other hand, offers reliable performance and long service life. Always take these considerations into account when shopping for tie rod ends.
Vehicle type and model- manufactures build tie rod ends to match the requirements and performance needs of specific vehicles. To ensure the right one, it’s essential to have adequate information about your type of car as well as the year it was made.
Tie rod end design- differences in the design of the component range from the threaded shaft to the joint on the outer part. The most important features to consider are those that involve ball the joint. Versions include the serviceable joint and those that come lubed for life. Greasable joints are demanding to maintain but last longer than the sealed type.
OEM Vs. Aftermarket- If looking to maintain the performance and other tie rod end features, choose an OEM model. For improved performance and lifespan, go for aftermarket rod ends. Their features include greasable joints, studier shafts, and special corrosion-resistant coatings. Aftermarket tie rod ends will also often be cheaper than similar OEM models.
Brand- choosing a reputable brand means tie rod ends that can offer reliable operation and durability. Before making the purchase, consider researching the manufacturer. They may not be one of the large and established companies. What matters is how reliable their products are. You may be surprised that tie rod ends from such companies are inexpensive yet quality.
The tie rod end in a vehicle performs an important function. It turns the wheels while also allowing their vertical motion. A functional one is, therefore, critical to the safety and drivability of your car. The information in this guide will help you to ensure the components are always operating correctly. Also, to choose the right ones for your vehicle.