All we know is that when we rotate the steering wheel, the car wheels turn left and right in the corresponding direction.
A tie rod is a minor car component that is part of the steering system. There are many small parts in a car like a tie rod that may seem insignificant but have an important part in the chain.
It’s important to understand how a tie rod works in order to be prepared if and when something happens to it. A damaged tie rod comes with a variety of consequences which you’ll learn about as you continue reading. If a bad tie rod is ignored, worse things happen to the car and you’ll need to start looking into a new tie rod’s price.
What’s the Price of a New Tie Rod?
Tie rods are normally sold as an assembly item which includes the inner and outer rods as well as other components used during installation. Each piece can also be purchased individually, starting with the tie rod ends and ranging to the dust boots and adjusting sleeves. A tie rod’s price ranges from about $9.12 to $566.99.
Since the range can seem a bit broad, let’s take a look at some of the factors which influence the pricing.
First of all, different manufacturers use different materials and construction methods for their parts so the price will vary depending on the brand. Standard aftermarket parts are cheaper and use lower-quality materials usually outsourced from third-party companies in Asian countries.
Aftermarket parts are peddled by automotive retailers in online stores and physical shops around the world. These shops have considerably different markups in regards to their operating costs so you’ll see a variance depending on where you buy the part.
The last factor that’ll affect the price is the year, make, and model of your vehicle. All automobiles are created differently and their parts may have a different shape, size or function. So, a tie rod’s price will fluctuate depending on if you’re using an older, newer, lesser-known or popular vehicle.
You might be wondering to yourself, “how much to replace tie rods including the labor fee”? We’ve created a table below outlining total replacement pricing for various popular types of vehicles:
|2013 Ram 2500||$126|
|2012 Volvo S80||$150|
|2010 Dodge Nitro||$157|
|2010 Audi A8 Quattro||$192|
|2014 Mercedes-Benz E550||$191|
|2012 Ford Mustang||$122|
Where Can You Replace A Tie Rod?
To have your tie rod replaced, you’ll need to find an automotive repair shop as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of the damage, a busted tie rod can mess up other parts of your car pretty fast if unattended.
To find one in your local area as soon as you can, consult the yellow pages or search the phone book. You can also check using Google.
Independent automotive shops such as Meineke and O’Reilly Auto Parts are great choices because they offer lower prices and their mechanics are experienced with fixing most car issues. On the other hand, dealerships for Mazda and Jeep automobiles are mandatory if your car still has an existing warranty.
Based on quotes that we’ve gathered from various auto parts retailers, the estimated cost of labor for a tie rod replacement is $35 to $78. You don’t have to pay the labor though if you choose to replace the tie rod by yourself. The job isn’t very difficult and if you’d like to save a bit of cash, keep reading to find a short guide.
What Is A Tie Rod Used For?
The tie rod is a small component that is used in the steering system of an automobile. The way that it works is a bit technical as it is highly dependent on other parts.
The tie rod actually has two parts – an inner rod and an outer rod which thread together. This allows it to be adjusted to variable lengths. Each end of the tie rod connects to the steering knuckle on each front wheel.
It’s typically seen on vehicles that use a rack and pinion steering system. The tie rod works to transfer force from the steering rack to the steering knuckles.
Each end of the tie rod has a round end with bearings and a protective rubber boot to keep out dust and debris. The end of the outer rod connects via a female threaded bolt while the end of the inner rod connects via a male threaded bolt. When you turn the steering wheel, force is transmitted via various parts until it reaches the steering rack which moves the tie rod and farther along the line, the wheels.
Tie rods are typically constructed using steel materials such as carbon steel or low-alloy steel. They are one of many modern automobile parts that are constructed to last the lifetime of the vehicle and don’t need to be maintained, either. However, over time, due to extreme forces being placed on both ends of the rod, it can begin to wear out.
Diagnosing a Bad Tie Rod
Occasionally inspecting the condition of the tie rod in your car can prevent a disaster from occurring. Tie rods are durable and strongly-built, but even the toughest parts will eventually give up through the passage of time.
Most tie rods are sealed up with protective rubber boots which prevent lubricant from leaking out and dirt from going inside. A rubber boot will rot or corrode over time, and once it does, the entire tie rod will need to be replaced.
A tie rod may also wear out on the ball-and-socket end and become disconnected. A car with a loose tie rod may only be driven for a few days, but a tie rod that has been disjointed will disallow a car from being driven completely, as the driver will not be able to steer the vehicle.
If a vehicle has been on the road for many years and you suspect that the tie rod is bad, a proper diagnosis should be done to check the condition of the part. Here are some of the signs of a bad tie rod:
- Misalignment – A tie rod fulfills a unique additional function, which is to keep the front end of a vehicle properly aligned. Damage to the tie rod will cause it to loosen up and the front end of the vehicle will consequently become misaligned. You’ll notice this symptom while driving because even though you may be driving straight, the car may be swaying slightly to the left and right.
- Loose Steering Wheel – A bad tie rod will cause the steering wheel to feel loose when turning. If you experience this symptom, it’s recommended not to drive until you have the car inspected and the tie rod fixed as the damage may be extensive and an accident could happen on the road.
- Worn Down Tires – All four tires on a car are more or less supposed to wear down evenly. However, a bad tie rod can cause one or more of the tires to wear down faster than the others. This is due to the uneven distribution of weight. Most notably, the outer and inner edges of a tire will wear down while the center stays untouched. The easiest way to spot this symptom is to simply take a few minutes to inspect the tires every couple of days.
- Uncontrollable Steering Wheel – A loose or completely disconnected tie rod will inevitably bounce around while a vehicle is in motion. If your hands are on the steering wheel while this is happening, you’re likely to feel intense shaking. And not just vibrations or tremors, but enough shaking to make you feel like you’re being stricken with a bout of epilepsy.
- Unusual Vibrations – A broken or unhooked tie rod may also cause vibrations which rocket throughout the entire vehicle. This symptom may also occur in conjunction with worn down tires. As you press the accelerator with your foot and the car picks up speed, the vibrations will only get worse. This will make it difficult, and worse, might even cause you to have an accident.
In some cases, a vehicle can even begin turning to one side of the road or the other by itself, completely uncontrolled. In general, the symptoms of a bad tie rod that a vehicle will display are shaking, vibration, looseness, and an erratic feel while steering.
An experienced car owner will definitely be able to tell the difference. Squeaking noises may also come from the front.
A bad tie rod needs to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid the loose rod swinging around and damaging any other parts of the car.