What is a tie rod? What does it do in my vehicle?

In Auto Parts, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

tie rod adjustment during a wheel alignment

Tie rod adjustment during a wheel alignment

Hit any potholes recently? Are parts of your vehicle beginning to wear down? If you heard from your automotive repair shop recently that your tie rod needs to be replaced, then that may be why.

You’re probably wondering what a tie rod is – right?

Well, a tie rod is a part of the steering mechanism inside of your vehicle. It’s the piece that connects the steering linkage – or rack and pinion – to the steering knuckle. This combination is what pushes or pulls the wheel to the right or left when you’re steering.

In your vehicle, there are two types of tie roads – an inner tie rod and an outer tie rod.

“They have joints that are typically ball and socket. Over time the socket can become worn allowing movement that results in tire wear, unintended movement in steering, which is unsafe,” said HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire General Manager Rich Campbell.

bent tie rod end on a rack and pinion

Bent tie rod end on a rack and pinion

When your tie rod starts to go bad, it can be a big issue, causing steering control issues and keeping you from driving smoothly down the road.

If you’re worried about your tie rods, have the shop check them right away. Checking tie rods is actually something we already do at our shop as part of our preventative maintenance check during an oil change, and during a Virginia state safety inspection.

To keep your tie rods in good condition, take a look at options that allow for lubrication. Most original tie rods don’t allow for lubrication, but using some upgraded aftermarket parts with grease fittings and updated technology will give your parts better performance and a longer life.