Inner and outer tie rod connections operate in harmony and are responsible for the overall maneuvering of a car. Tie rods are greased on the ends when they are installed or replaced; grease lubricates the tie rod as it sits within the joints and sockets of the underbelly of the car. As lubrication decreases and/or as the car racks up usage and mileage, the tie rods risk breakage and throwing the car out of alignment.

1. Inability To Steer

If a tie rod end fails completely, you’ll lose the ability to steer your car. The good news is that this is unlikely to happen without any of the previous symptoms. As long as you listen to what your car is telling you and don’t put off service, this is something that can be avoided. But if your car is giving you any of the above signs and you ignore them, you could be in for trouble.

2. A Squealing Sound When You Turn

Squealing is never a good thing to hear from your car. If you hear a loud, high-pitched squeal that sounds like a shriek whenever you turn your car, it may be a sign that the tie rod ends are worn and need to be replaced. There are other potential causes, including ball joints with bad lubrication or a low level of power steering fluid. Since all of these can be dangerous to you and your vehicle, you should have a squeal looked at immediately.

3. Uneven, Excessive Tire Wear

This one can often be checked on your own with a visual inspection. Compare the inside and outside edges of the tires. If they show excessive wear on one side but little wear on the other, it could be due to tie rod troubles. However, this isn’t the only cause; it could be a problem with other parts of the suspension.

4. Misaligned Front End

A bad tie rod end isn’t the only thing that can cause your vehicle to track poorly. In fact, it’s much more common to see misalignment from bumping into a curb or going over a pothole. However, loose or worn tie rod ends can cause front-end misalignment. This is one of the reasons it’s important to bring your vehicle in for an alignment check about once per year or so.

You may not hear about them as often as other components like brake pads or tires, but the tie rods in your vehicle are absolutely vital. They connect the steering rack or center link to the steering knuckle, making the wheels turn. If you have more questions about your Tie Rod, give us a call at Callahan Automotive today!