How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Bad

How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Bad


Hey guys, ChrisFix here, today I am going
to show you how to tell if your tie rods have gone bad A bad tie rod can cause uneven tire
wear and if it is really bad, it can even disconnect while you are driving, and that
is just a bad situation. Besides tire wear, bad tie rods can cause a clunky feel when
you first turn your steering wheel. It can also squeak when when you use the steering wheel but that can also be a ball joint, so you
have to go and check it out. If you have any
of these symptoms just jack up the front
of the car and I will show you how to test it. With both tires off the ground what you are going to want to do is put your hands at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the wheel. With your hands in those positions, move them back and forth and see if there is any play in the wheel. You will feel a clicking or a giving movement And that movement could indicate a bad tie rod. If you think there is some play or you just want to check further, you can take the tire off and inspect the tie rod itself. There are two parts to your tie rods Your inner tie rod, and your outer tie rod. Inspect the inner tie rod visually by looking at the boot and seeing if there are any leaks. I dont see any leaks here… The boot is still intact. There are no holes or rips So that looks good. Now for the outer tie rod, you can see here already, There is a nice big gash on my tie rod boot. and this just happens over time. The boot cracks and goes bad. And inside you can see the grittiness. And that grittiness is not good. That is sand and road grime that gets kicked up and and goes in here… So this is bad. If you catch a boot that was just recently torn sometimes these boots are replaceable. So you can just take the boot off and put a new one on. And then you save yourself a lot of money You dont have to do anything special, you dont have to get an alignment. But if the boot has been ripped for a while and you see grit in there then you are going to have to replace the whole tie rod end. If your boot is good, then what you should do is, you take the tie rod and you try to move it left and right move it, in and out if there is any unwanted movement or it clicks and you can easily move the tie rod from side to side then it needs to be replaced. now this is a new tie rod end and this is what it should look like. Some tie rod ends have a grease fitting and that is what you want if you need to purchase a new one and if you have a grease fitting always grease this every time you do an oil change. It will force the old grease out which carries all of the grit and sand. so this will last a lot longer. but upon visual inspection, you can see there are no tares or gashes on the rubber that covers the inner tie rod end. Also, there is no unwanted movement like I was talking about before. Obviously this is brand new, but I need to give you an example to contrast the bad tie rod now to test the tie rod even more you can take it out and you can see further that this boot is badly ripped and the grease is contaminated with grit. The other thing is you can turn this with your hand and it feels gritty and clunky. Which is not good, you want this to be smooth So the outer tie rod is bad. Now to test the inner tie rod, all you do is move this in and out and you want to feel for any clicking if it clicks then the inner tie rod is bad. Clicking indicates that the ball joint on the inner tie rod is worn out. and it is allowing movement which isnt good. You dont want any movement in there! This one is completely solid, which is good. The other test you can do is move the tie rod around like this and make sure there is no gritty feeling and no grinding. It is fine if the tie rod is easy to move around but it is bad if it move way too easily and feels way too loose. This is relatively easy to move but I still feel some resistance, so that means this is still good. So the outer tie rod is bad but the inner tie rod is good. But that is fine because the outer tie rod is fixed easily. and you can replace this in 10 minutes. with no special tools That video will be up on the screen along with other videos, click the screen or find the link to those videos in the description below. if this video was helpful, if this video was helpful, give it a “thumbs up” also consider subscribing. I publish “how to” videos weekly and I answer all of your questions and comments check out the ChrisFix Facebook and Twitter pages with the link in the description. If you check out your tie rod and have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will try to help you out.

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  1. you can get the inner/ outer tie rods for $15 at rock auto. the inner tie rod tool at HFT for about $28 w/ a 20% off coupon

  2. Chris i have a question I don’t know if this might be the issue but every single time I turn my wheels to the far left or right there’s a click when I’m all the way turned could it be the inner tire rod ?l

  3. Can u get by with just fixing one side? & do u have to have an alignment adter changing just one side? Thanks

  4. Hey Chris, I recently got in a small wreck going about 15mph on the front passenger side wheel. Now it shakes at slow and high speeds pretty bad. I got two new tires and had them balanced, still shakes. The steering wheel feels smooth but the front end shakes. Hope you can help!

  5. Could a tie rod cause vibration when braking? All i fine online is its a rotor but when I took my truck in, I was told my rotors are fine

  6. Lmfao i checked my boot on the outer tie rod and half of it was gone, big oof
    Update: power steering rack is bad

  7. My 98 chrysler cirrus passenger side tie rod end popped off where the ball is housed leaving the bolt in connected with the ball at top. It's seems pretty seized on. Any advice on how to get it off?

  8. to check tie rod movement "unwanted motion" does the car need to be UP?
    or even at ground level the unwanted motion is notorious ?

  9. Chris, if there are play in my steering wheel while the car is off does that also mean a bad tie rod? Bc my tie rods look fine

  10. Will bad tye rod ends cause my entire car to shake. My car shakes between 60-80 mphonly while accelerating. As soon as i let off gas it stops. But my steering wheel shakes and well as my entire car. I hit a curb at 10 mph. I had my wheels checked. Nothing bent. Axle has been replaced. Struts replaced. Sway bars replaced. Rotors and brakes and calipers replaced. Im not sure why its shaking and i cant keep dumping money for no reason. Please help

  11. Chris you seem to have very bad luck with ball joint boots. You can see on this video the boots on the ball joints and tie rod ends do not have a metal spring retainer clamp and there is no bellow shape on the boot. These type of designs are doomed to fail fast. To top it off, the boot was made of rubber far too thick which actually makes it more susceptible to cracking because it cannot bend easily. Aside from that your videos are great and fun to watch. Keep up the good work.

  12. Hey chris, I have an issue with my 2015 civic not sure if it's when I turn the wheel or when I step on the brakes but I can hear a little clunk noise, only does it once in awhile. Steering fluid isnt empty though. Any advice or videos that can help.Thanks.

  13. I found a bad one by a different method a while ago. My car gave a loud clunking sound when I turned the steering wheel to the left while stopped. Upon investigating, I found that one tie rod end was literally breaking apart under stress. I couldn't find it in usual inspections though because no cracks had formed on the outside, the boot was completely intact, and it would only fail under load, ie, when I was actually trying to turn the wheels with the car's weight on them, and stopped.

    I now test my ball joints by this method: I stop the car, turn the engine off, turn the wheel 1/4 turn or more both ways listening for noise, then I bend over and gently turn the steering wheel back and forth while looking under the car at my front wheels. I'll look to see that I can visually see both front wheels turning when I move the edge of the steering wheel 1/2 inch or less. Ideally, the front wheels should visably move in response to even the smallest adjustments of the steering wheel, even with the car's weight on them.

    I also do the checks Chris shows.

  14. With my vehicle off the ground I am able to turn wheel with my hands. Tire on passenger side wearing on outside and vehicle pulls hard to the right. Can you diagnose?

  15. I know someone who said their tie rod was bad so I told him how to check it before he bought one. He said it popped off so he popped it back on. Ookkkkk then.

  16. My first car was a 97 altima it turned super easily i thought. Then one day i decided to put it up and check the suspension. For months i was driving with a disconnected tie rod . It was completely out of place and to thw side hanging .

  17. Thanks chris you helped me save tons of money doing my own work on my truck 💯 videos like this help alot …there is to many shady mechanics out there

  18. Do NEW tie rods and upper control arms have play in them but not as much as a worn out one ? More of a stiffer feeling but can easily move it with my hand.

  19. Yesterday I hit a curb going about 55mph it broke the cv axle and now my front wheel is bent inward what else did I brake

  20. Hey chris i have an 03 jeep gcl 4.0. My tie rod has a hole in it from rust. Mechanic doesnt want to mes with it becuz of rust. How can i change the lower tie rod sleeve that i think causes the wobble

  21. Mine was worn out, I had vibrating noise only when slighty turning right at 100-110 kmh. When driving straight, turning left or more to the right, nothing.. Only when turning right at small angle. Bought new, replaced, and noise is gone

  22. I’m ready to call my mechanic but wanted to see for myself what’s up. Wish I took auto mechanics in HS

  23. Very good video!! Hey guys would bad tie rods would make my steering wheel shake or not be steady but only when am going 45-55 mph ? Anyone out there would know i took to 2 different mechanics and they said everything looks good

  24. Will a bad left front tie rod cause scraping to the inner side of the tire? I just had to replace the left front tire on my 2004 Toyota Corolla. There was a a circumference line scraped around the inner side of the tire. Thanks for any help.

  25. Will this cause steering wheel vibration? Just got tires balanced and tie rod had a little play on passenger side. Cant find anything that could be causing the vibrations /shaking

  26. And if u are a female repair shops make the rod issues sound like a BIG deal! Now I know. I can do that myself & save a lot of money! Thanks!

  27. I need to figure out why my steering wheel yanks occasionally to the left when driving. It's not the brakes

  28. thanks for this. I can't do this repair myself, but I really appreciate the insight, info and explanation of what to look for, so I can speak somewhat knowledgeably at the dealer when they try to hose me. LOL I think it might be my tie rod, 2015 Sonata has less than 25K miles.

  29. Hey Chris! As a non mechanical person I really enjoy your videos. Very helpful. Advice please. I have a 2007 Chevy HHR that the front ends starts to shimmy or shake around 55 MPH. What is the likely cause of this. And is this a shade tree mechanic can do? Thanks. Keep up the great videos!

  30. Chris, I have a 2005 Pacifica that is pulling to the right when accelerating ( specifically at about 35mph). I have replaced the pads, rotors, and calipers. This fixed the pull when stopping but didn't get rid of the pull when accelerating. I found my engine mounts were bad and replaced them. Still pulls when accelerating. Suggestions? I will look at the tie rods today.

  31. Will a bad tie rod cause the front wheels to shake (like a little shaking) when traveling down the road 50+ mph??

  32. Well they say the tools free but you have to put down $70 to use it and get the money back when you return it

  33. My front brakes clack and don’t grip when I press the brakes as I’m turning the wheel . It also sounds like the whole front wheels are squeaky , like the frame sounds squeaky . Help? Suggestions of what it could be? That way I continue my research and I’ll have an idea before a mechanic checks it out

  34. I have a 1998 Honda Civic Coup DX. My left rear brakes make a "swooshing " sound upon moving INITIALLY and sometimes while braking. Can you tell me what that is? Removed brake drums. Appear good.

  35. If you visually inspect an outer tie rod on a vehicle like yours that's in the junk yard, and it looks okay, is it advisable to take it for your own car?

  36. My honda city make sound on Rt tyre on tyre movement ..sound like brrrr…then when the car on the road no sound at all

  37. My lower ball joint replacement has a little silver bolt that says 10.9 on it, is that for a grease fitting? If so what size zerk do I need?

  38. If you put you hands at the 12 and 6 o clock position and shake the wheel you can check your wheel bearing and ball joints for wear or looseness.

  39. What if I turn my wheel and there is a odd noise. Sounds like a pulling sound. Someone said it's the plastic thing from my tire looks like my tires moved a lil

  40. I have a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Gt2. On the driver side, when I turn the steering wheel, it makes a metal on metal clicking noise. Any ideas?

  41. hey, i have a 1996 gmc suburban and when i turn left, instead of it coming back itself, i have to pull it back straight with the wheel.. can you tell me what this could be? thanks

  42. When your tie rods are bad and you have a grease fitting could you replace the boot and just flush out the sand and stuff with new grease?

  43. This is by far one of the best videos on YouTube. You spoke at a fast pace and also thoroughly gave enough information that was easy to follow.

  44. My b3000 has a wicked front driver lean. Rear is fine and I hear squeaking. I just replaced the sway bar links so the squeak may be from the new bushings. When I turn the wheel left I get a thundering sound. New wheel bearings, new sway bar links and the truck has ford stickers on the front springs. I'm assuming it's got new springs from the previous owner. Anyone got ideas? I'm suspecting a blown or binding shock.

  45. Short and right to the meat 🥩 and potatoes 🥔. I have a question to anyone who can answer it. I have a 96 gmc Burb and it doesn’t do it all the time only once in a while, but when it does it’s pretty scary. My steering wheel start shaking really bad and I just replaced the rotor what can it be then. Tie rods?!. I just subbed to ur channel 👏🏻👌🏻from Denver Colorado

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