Kimiko Kidd
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How to Tell if Your Car’s Tie Rods Need Service

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Tie rods are important components that link your car’s front wheels to the steering wheel. When your car’s tie rods are compromised, your ability to control your vehicle is also at risk. However, the signs of tie rod issues aren’t always readily apparent. Here’s a look at a few of the signs that it’s time to have your car’s tie rods checked.


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Shaky steering

When you drive, does your car’s steering wheel feel loose or shaky, even when you’re driving on a smooth surface? If so, it could point to an issue with the tie rods — particularly if the problem worsens during cornering or acceleration. Try to have this issue checked out as soon as possible, as it could lead to a lack of steering control.

Uneven tire wear

When you check on your car’s tire tread depth, make note of whether it’s occurring evenly. If you notice that the inner or outer edges are wearing down particularly quickly, it could indicate a tie rod problem. However, lots of issues can cause uneven tire wear, so consider this a symptom of a tie rod issue if it’s one of several symptoms that your car is exhibiting.

Handling issues

Bad tie rods lead to alignment problems. To spot alignment problems, note if your vehicle pulls to one side if you briefly remove your hands from the wheel. If this occurs, consider bringing your car in for an alignment — and ask the technician to check on the status of your car’s tie rods. The rods could need to be replaced to prevent the wheels from becoming misaligned again quickly.

Clunking sounds

Clunking, rattling, and squeaking sounds from the front end of your vehicle are never welcome when you’re behind the wheel. Once you’ve confirmed that the issue isn’t a loose lug nut, consider bringing your car in for a tie rod inspection.

Bad vibes

Like other symptoms mentioned, vehicle vibration can have a number of causes. But if you suspect that your car has a tie rod issue, have it checked out as soon as possible if vibration is one of the symptoms that your car is experiencing, since the shaking can lead to tie rod failure and a loss of steering control.

For more information on car maintenance, check out our article on commonly overlooked car care services.