Symptoms of Bad Tie Rod Ends

Written by pamela vanden bos
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Symptoms of Bad Tie Rod Ends
Look at your tires for clues. (detail of a car tire image by Albert Lozano from

Taking your car to the repair shop can be nerve wracking. Tie rods are part of your steering assembly. There are inner and outer tie rods on most vehicles. The tie rods transmit sideways movement to your wheels and keep them aligned. The tie rod ends are ball-and-socket joints that wear out over time. There are specific symptoms that indicate when the tie rod ends need replacement. Worn tie rod ends can be dangerous, and should be replaced.

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Intermittently inspect the wear on your vehicle's front tires. Uneven or unusually heavy tread wear may be the first symptom that indicate your tie rod ends are worn out.


When you are driving, you may notice that your cars' steering does not react as quickly as it should or the steering is erratic. When your tie rod ends are wearing out your vehicle's steering gets loose and sloppy.


Clunking is an obvious symptom. If you feel clucking vibrations through the steering wheel as you make a turn, it may mean your tie rod ends are worn out.

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