Tie Rods. Should you care?

The importance of Tie Rods to your vehicle

Rack and pinion is a steering system used in most modern vehicles, which involves tie rods to keep the vehicle moving. Tie rods are connected on both ends of the steering rack and as the pinion rotates over the slotted rack, they are used to rotate the front tires when the steering wheel is turned. Tie rods are of utmost importance to a vehicle’s steering and consequently its overall safety. Normally, drivers do not check tie rods regularly because there is lost of usage of the vehicle during the moment it stays at the garage and there is a need to pay for the diagnostic. Also, people assume that their vehicle is in good condition due to their inability to interpret certain dangerous signs which could send the vehicle into dangerous spins.

Warning signs to watch out!
There are certain signs which you should watch out and listen for. If your vehicle pulls on one side or it does so when brakes are applied, bad tie rods could be the culprit. What is more, the tires will show uneven wear on the inside & outside edges of the tires. Yet, the most noticeable signs of bad tie rods will be knocking sounds coming from the front end of the vehicle when you turn into another direction (tight turning situation). If you have driven your vehicle in extreme road conditions like a very rocky road or there has been unusual contact with the front wheels (like hitting a curb or big pothole for instance), it would be advisable that you get the tie rods checked by a professional.

When do you have to change tie rods?
Tie rods do not have an expiry date; they go bad during the normal course of wear and tear. Some car owners may never have to replace them while others may have to replace them every four years. Their longevity is in fact affected by the driving conditions. Driving in potholes, poor road conditions or accidents can cause tie rods to become faulty. Tie rods cannot be inspected visually by a driver who does not know much about mechanics. A mechanic needs to inspect under the car and tell if they are in good condition. If the tie rods need to be replaced, it is recommended to change both left and right sets of tie rods, and that wheel alignment is done following the change.

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