Tie Rod End: Problems, Replacement Costs & How They Work - Enji


Tie Rod End: Problems, Replacement Costs & How They Work

May 16, 2022

What Is A Tie Rod End 

The tie rod ends connect to the spindle, which connects to the front wheel.

Tie rod ends are small ball joints that connect to the steering knuckles. From this connection, the wheels can turn in both directions - left and right. This connection also facilitates the movement of the wheels in relation to the suspension components, i.e. driving over bumps in the road or speed humps.

The tie rod end also comprises of a threaded sleeve, attaching itself to the inner tie rod. This assists with the angles of alignment for the vehicle, which is an important function for efficient and safe steering.

How Does A Tie Rod End Work

The tie rod ends work to turn the wheels at the same time as each other, as well as go forth in the direction the car is being driven to. Tie rod ends help the vehicle with optimal wheel alignment, which also benefits safe use of the steering wheel, and puts drivers in a less dangerous position than if their wheels were misaligned.

When a car is incapable of turning properly, drivers have less control over their vehicle and this can cause problems for not only the driver, but others on the road. If the tie rod end is loosened, especially in older cars, the steering system will be compromised.

Different Types Of Tie Rod Ends

Tie rod ends are a component of every vehicle, from small SUVs to large trucks. Tie rod ends are generally found in the front wheels, however some vehicles will also have their tie rod ends in the back wheels. There are two different types of tie rod ends, an inner tie rod and an outer tie rod. Both inner tie rods and outer tie rods have end components that attach themselves to the other parts of the vehicle's steering system.

Inner Tie Rod

The inner tie rod is a pivot point that is greased, protected by a steering rack boot and attached to the end of the center link. An inner tie rod is located near the center line of a vehicle and is the first pivot point when a vehicle is initiating a wheel to turn.

Outer Tie Rod

The outer tie rod is made up of a right-angled ball joint that is greased but is protected by a small rubber or plastic boot and is attached to the steering knuckle. An outer tie rod is responsible for and is the final pivot point that initiates turning the wheel. The reason it is called an outer tie rod is because it is located farther out from the center of a vehicle than an inner tie rod.

Common Tie Rod End Problems

There are a few common tie rod end problems that signal to drivers it might be time for their replacement. These include:

  • Shaky Steering Wheel
  • Poor Wheel Alignment
  • Uneven Tire Wear

Shaky Steering Wheel

When you have a shaky steering wheel or the steering wheel vibrates, it is an indicator that the tire rod ends need replacement.

A bad tie rod will cause the car's steering system to get out of funk - usually starting off by a shaking steering wheel. Sometimes a shaky steering wheel can turn into a loose steering wheel which is very dangerous to drive with. As this is a clear sign your car needs some attention, it is recommended taking it to a mechanic straight away as it is noticed.

Poor Wheel Alignment

Poor wheel alignment can be first noticed when there are  difficulties steering in a direct line. When your steering wheel is not straight it can cause issues driving, as your sense of direction and control over the car has lessened.

Sometimes, a simple fix for poor wheel alignment is a wheel alignment and readjustment. However on the other hand, the main cause of the issue could be a bad tie rod. If the bad tie rod is the case - your mechanic can do a tie rod replacement to rectify the issue and have you back onto the road safely.

Uneven Tire Wear

Uneven tire wear can be caused by poor tie rod end conditions, resulting in not only more wear and tear for the tie rods but also for your tires.

If you leave your service for too long, you might be looking at expensive repair costs for not only the tie rod end replacement cost, but also brand new tires. Brand new tires can set you back a few hundred dollars each - so be careful! Best to get your car looked at sooner rather than later.

When Should I Get My Tie Rod End Replaced?

The most telling sign of tie rod end replacement is when the steering wheel begins to shake or vibrate. This can indicate general wear and tear from the tie rod end, as the control of the vehicle begins to lessen.

Sometimes there might be unusual noises coming from the tire rod ends, like a squeaking sound, or clunking noise. These noises are caused by the metals physically contacting each other and creating friction. This friction is also excessive for wear, which can cause the need for replacement later down the track.

Your mechanic might suggest a simple wheel alignment to fix the issues, rather than a tie rod end replacement. It is always best to get a professional to inspect your vehicle, as the problem might be different from what you think it is!

How much does a tie rod end replacement cost?

A tie rod end replacement cost is generally between $90 to $300, depending on various factors like the type of vehicle and how many tie rod ends need replacing.

Both the inner tie rod ends and the outer tie rod ends cost a similar price. Your mechanic will inspect both the inner tie rod and outer tie rod ends when the vehicle is being serviced.

In some circumstances, all tie rod ends will be replaced in the one service to minimise maintenance later on. This can be beneficial as you can save money having the replacements done at the same time, rather than expensive repair separately months apart, along with other repairs too.


If you need your tie rod end replaced, Enji can put you in contact with local mechanics in your area who can assist you. Mechanics with Enji are able to assist in any of your vehicle needs.