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Your Tie rod end (track rod end) worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Safe steering and straight driving with the tie rod
The tie rod (track rod) is a steering component of the car's front axle. It has the important task of keeping the car in its track. The tie rod must be able to withstand strong forces and therefore its construction is very robust. Sooner or later it needs replacement to re-establish full driving safety.
Construction of a tie rod
The tie rod consists of two parts: a hollow bar with an internal thread connected to the steering linkage of the car. A fitting massive bar with external thread is screwed onto the wheel. Between the massive bar and the wheel sits another part: the tie rod end. This joint has the task of enabling steering movements at simultaneous pitching movements of the wheel. On the side of the steering linkage, the tie rod end has a flexible bearing. A rubber buffer with internal steel ring provides the best possible flexibility and stability. A screw nut ensures that the inner and outer bar do not offset each other.
Defects of the tie rod
A defective tie rod becomes apparent in several ways:
- The car pulls to one side – "not keeping its track."
- The front tyres wear on one side (generally on the inside)
- Steering is increasingly inaccurate and slow
- During driving, knocks are felt in the steerage.
These malfunctions occur when the tie rod is bent or damaged in one way or another. Due to the strong forces, the track rod end is subject to excessive wear and tear. The tie rod is susceptible to awkward lateral shocks. Colliding with a high curb under the wrong angle or at too high speed is a common cause for a defective tie rod. In addition to the noticeable defects of a tie rod, gradual wear occurs. The track rod end sits in rubber bellows. Rubber can become brittle over time. Grease leaks out causing the tie rod to wear very quickly. On the other side of the tie rod too, the rubber buffer can gradually become brittle and lose flexibility. The rod develops considerably more play, making steering awkward and inaccurate.
Replacing the tie rod
The replacement of a tie rod is very simple. The wheel is disassembled and the tie rod end removed from the inside of the wheel. The wheel is turned sideways at the shock absorber. Subsequently, depending on extent of the damage either the rod end or the entire tie rod is replaced. In any case, the nut must be loosened to unscrew the tie rod.
Important tip: Be certain to remember the number of revolutions, with which the old rod end was screwed to the tie rod. A new end is screwed in with exactly the same amount of revolutions. With a bit of luck this saves you from the necessity of track alignment.Tie rods must always be replaced in pairs. This creates a defined condition for a new, optimally functional steering.
Testing the tie rod
Important is the testing of the car's ability to drive straight ahead. After repair the car should no longer pull to one side. Is this in order, the progress of tyre wear should be checked. Tyres can still wear on one side. If you want to be sure, reset the track after repair. It is recommended to loosen all bolts and screws beforehand. Garage is apt to charge extra for these small tasks.
Costs for a new tie rod
The price of a tie rod depends on its size and weight. Prices begin very modestly at 11 euro (c. £10) per piece and seldom exceed 30 euro (c. £27). At any rate, these prices guarantee the best branded quality.