Looking at a car from the outside, it's easy to take for granted that all four wheels will stay pointed in roughly the same direction. But suspension systems -- particularly front suspensions -- are complex, and have to move in many different directions to do their jobs. Tie rods "tie" the wheel on one side of the car to the one on the other, ensuring that the suspension's job doesn't interfere with the wheels' ability to turn together.
Shaky Steering Wheel
Typically, the first sign that tie rod is bad or starting to fail is a shaky steering wheel. This happens because the steering wheel is beginning to lose control or "communication" with the wheels. As this starts to happen, the steering wheel will fight for control, resulting in shaking and vibrating. This can be increasingly noticeable when you try to turn the wheel.
The second sign that a tie rod is bad and at risk of breaking is a vibrating car. At this stage, the steering wheel has lost nearly all control over the wheels, and as a result, the tires will start to move involuntarily and shake on their own. You will feel this symptom more as you speed up, slow down or turn corners.
If the tie rods or tie rod ends have been worn out or damaged long or severely enough, they will affect how your tires wear. Worn tie rod ends will allow your tires to "toe out," or point away from each other while you are going in a straight line. This will cause the inside of the tire tread to wear faster than the outside.
- Photo Credit luxury car - model toy car image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com
How Tie Rods Affect Tire Wear
A tie rod is a device used in an automobile's steering system, transferring force from the center steering link to the wheel....
What Does a Tie Rod Cost to Repair?
Tie rods are a vital link in the process of you turning the steering wheel and your car going where you want...
Signs & Symptoms of a Bad Tire Rod
The tie rods, along with the ball joints, are an integral part of the steering system for motor vehicles. Located near the...
Tie Rod Symptoms
The tie rod is one of the most important parts of the steering mechanism of your vehicle. After years of use, the...
Signs of a Bad Connecting Rod
The connecting rods in your engine are the components that support the piston as it travels up and down inside of the...
How to Check Tie Rod Ends
Check car tie rod ends by drawing a line from the steering knuckle assemble down to the tie rod and seeing how...
When to Replace Tie Rods
On rack and pinion steering, the inner tie rods extend from the steering rack and directly attach to the outer tie rods...