Every time I get a safety, they tell me I need a Tie rod.

Every year I get 4 different cars go through a safety inspection. And every single time the mechanic tells me I need a new tie rod. I more or less trust my mechanic, but in the same time I would like to be educated in
the area. I just wonder how can they tell if the tie rod is shot? do they check it while the tire is still on? Can you only check it if the car is on the hoist? Is it something that I can check myself before I get the safety done. When my car was on the hoist with the tires off, I tired to wigle the tie rod to see if it was loose, but it did not move. What is the proper way to check the tie rod?
My friend tells me that tie rods are cheap now a days and could use replacing almost on a yearly basis. Which brings me the next question. What is the danger of having a slightly loose tie rod (loose control of steering?) Thanks for your help.
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IMHO, you need a new mechanic and friend. Get a second opinion! Tie rods should last many years, unless inferior parts are being used. Just my 2 cents worth... JR
lbbs wrote:

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Don't know about them being cheap, but the best way to tell is to slightly jack each side of the car just so that the tire isn't touching the ground and wiggle it side to side. There shouldn't be any play because the other wheel is still on the ground. If there is, the tie rod could probably stand to be replaced.

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My experience, I had a 90 ford escort. I went through inner tie rods almost yearly. The tie rod is cheap, and I think it was designed to go, since when you replace it you have to do a front wheel alignment.
I had a mechanic tell me, it's as if it was designed to fail(the ball joing would get very sloppy) at one year. Also, the only danger I was facing, was accelerated wear on my tires. So, I got used to the yearly inner tie rod replacement and front wheel alignments. The car had a habbit of barely making inspections cause of that problem, and I was told to get it fixed.
How my tie rods were checked, was the front and back of the tires were grabbed, and pushing with one arm and pulling with the other arm, altinating, you could check the tightness of the rods.
hth,
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My gf drove a Taurus with worn tie rods. On most cars nowadays they are a sealed unit and can't be greased, thus they wear out faster. On the Taurus, the cup seals disappeared somehow, letting the grease wash out, and ruined them. The tie rods connect the steering linkage ("the rack") to the front spindles on which the wheels are mounted.
If the tie rods are loose, the car will display a strong vibration at speed, imprecise steering, and a noticeable looseness or hesitation during corners. To check them, pull firmly up and down and sideways on the tie rod end where it attaches to the spindle. There should be no play in the joint. The joint may rotate on the ball a little bit, but that's normal. If it shows any looseness at all, the joint is worn and should be replaced. On the Taurus, one side showed 1/2" of play, and a bit less on the other side. At some point, if they wore badly enough, the joint could separate, but the car would be just about undriveable by the time that happens.
Ken
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Sure you can learn, but you need some one there to show you and be able to tell you why a part has failed or is not passing a safety test. Try looking at your local adult schools, maybe there are classes you can take.

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He isn't from Missouri. He may not have to be shown.............

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Who said he was?

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| Every year I get 4 different cars go through a safety inspection. And | every single time the mechanic tells me I need a new tie rod. I more or | less trust my mechanic, but in the same time I would like to be educated in | the area. I just wonder how can they tell if the tie rod is shot? do | they check it while the tire is still on? Can you only check it if the car | is on the hoist? Is it something that I can check myself before I get the | safety done. When my car was on the hoist with the tires off, I tired to | wigle the tie rod to see if it was loose, but it did not move. What is | the proper way to check the tie rod? | | My friend tells me that tie rods are cheap now a days and could use | replacing almost on a yearly basis. Which brings me the next question. | What is the danger of having a slightly loose tie rod (loose control of | steering?) Thanks for your help. | |
I've never had to have one replaced.
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The easiest way to check for tie rod is to have someone jerk your steering wheel left to right in a quick motion but short stroke while you place your hand on the side of the front tie to feel if there is a mechanical play within the steering mechanism. Check both front tires and once you determine if there is mechanical play on specific wheel, turn the steering wheel all the way the end so you can touch the tie rod end with your hand and repeat the test but this time your hand will be on the tie rod end instead on side wall tire to verify if the play is coming from the tie rod end or somewhere else. You can do this test without jacking the car up. Try on several cars to get a feel before making a conclusion to repair something that is not needed.
Hope this help! Paul

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