What does it cost to replace Tie Rod Ends?
Replacing tie rods can be relatively cheap depending on the make and model of your car. An outer tie rod replaced ranges from $150-$300. An inner tie rod replaced ranges from $225-$400. We would also always advise an vehicle alignment after any tie rod replacement as replacing a tie rod will throw the alignment of the car off. The cost of a front end Toe-Adjustment (Tie Rod adjust) typically costs between $60-$130 by itself. If the alignment is not performed after replacing a tie rod, and it is thrown off, this can lead to pulling of the vehicle to one direction while driving on a straight road and also cause premature wear of the tires based on bad edge wear as a result as well.
How do Tie Rod Ends work?
Tie Rods connect the knuckle to the steering rack and pinion, two of the main steering components in the front suspension of a vehicle. There are always 2 inner and 2 outer tie rod ends that connect these pieces together. Connecting the inner and outer tie rods together is a sleeve that locks the two in place. When a car is out of alignment, this is one of the adjustments that is made, the sleeve is loosened and the tie rods are repositioned and then the sleeve is tightened to lock them in place again.
Sometimes if Tie Rods start failing and become loose, it creates free play in the steering wheel: as you turn side to side from dead center, you may not immediately get a response.
A heavier band of wear in one area of the tire is a sign that something’s not right with your tie rods.
Loose Tie Rods can cause an alignment of a vehicle to be off which causes a distinct pulling while driving, usually in one direction.
Bad tie rod ends may also be responsible for making a distinct noise when the steering wheel turns to one side or the other.
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How urgent are Tie Rod Ends repairs?
Any indication of excessively worn Tie Rods should be checked and addressed right away. If a Tie Rod fails completely or snaps/breaks, your wheel can collapse in on itself which is cause for a potential major accident. Sometimes there is limited feedback to the driver while driving even when a Tie Rod is excessively worn, so most shops will check them as part of their vehicle multi-point check when bringing it in for maintenance and inspection.