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Tie rod ends, often just referred to as tie rods, are a pretty crucial part of the car’s steering system. And the steering system, it may shock you to learn, is a pretty important part of your car. Here’s how it works: The tie rod ends are responsible for connecting the steering rack (which is what is attached to your steering wheel) to the steering knuckles (which is what ultimately is responsible for turning your wheels). The tie rod ends are, essentially, the link that transfers the first part of the steering system to the second part of the steering system. They use a ball-and-socket system to allow movement. Of course, if you want to get into the nitty gritty of it, it’s quite a bit more complex than that. But I’m guessing you don’t have all the time in the world, am I right? Most cars have an inner and an outer tie rod end. They’re highly durable, and it’s not rare for a car to go a whole lifetime without needing the tie rod ends replaced. If the tie rod ends have issues however, they will need to be replaced, not repaired. And following a replacement, the car should have a wheel alignment, since damaged tie rod ends can mess up the alignment of the car.
Leaks are a big bummer, but they’re a part of owning a car. Many different things in your car can leak, so if you see fluid dripping from under your car, it’s not always clear what it is. Tie rod end failure is pretty low on the totem poll of things that are likely to be causing a leak. However, tie rod ends utilize grease for lubrication, and, if the tie rod end’s boot fails, there may be grease leakage.
Tie rod ends are a part of your car’s steering system, so it kind of follows that when they fail, the steering system might be impacted. With busted tie rod ends, the steering may not perfectly correspond with your hands. Or, you might find the car pulling to the left or to the right, due to a poorly aligned car.
Tie rod ends that aren’t doing their job will quickly lead to a car with alignment issues. When that happens, the tires will receive uneven wear and tear. This will be visually evident at some point. It’s a good idea to inspect your tires every week or so. It only takes a few seconds, and it can help you spot not just uneven wear, but excess wear, low tire pressure, or bubbles. If you notice uneven wear on the tires, you may have a tie rod end issue on your hands.
If your car feels like it’s shaking, it may be because of your tie rod ends. If the ball-and-sockets on your tie rod ends starts to go, then the tie rod ends won’t fit the way that they’re supposed to. When that happens, the front of your car might do a little dance and a little shake. And yes, it’s gonna feel weird.
Hopefully I don’t need to tell you that foreign noises from your car are not a good thing. If the tie rod ends are failing, you may hear a knocking or clunking noise as they rattle around in place.
Tie rod ends are a part of your steering system. If you’d prefer to drive your car safely and in the direction you intended, then it’s probably wise to get your tie rod ends replaced immediately.
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