Symptoms of a Bad Tie Rod End (and Replacement Cost)

Do you experience challenges maintaining the accuracy of your vehicle’s steering sometimes? It could be an indication of a damaged tie rod end. What is the average cost for replacing tie rods? How can a driver identify a bad tie rod? Keep reading, and you will find answers to all your questions.

What is the purpose of a tie rod?


The purpose of the tie rod is to connect the steering knuckle to the spindle. This provides a connection point for the steering linkage. The tie rod also helps to transfer force from the steering wheel to the wheels, which allows the vehicle to turn. Additionally, the tie rod helps to keep the wheels in alignment.


Bad Tie Rod End Symptoms

It is dangerous to drive with a bad tie rod. If the tie rod snaps, you could lose control of your car. Also, if the tie rod is excessively worn, it can cause your car to pull to one side or the other. This can make it difficult to keep your car in a straight line, and can also make it more difficult to steer. Tie rods are an important part of your car's suspension, and it is important to keep them in good condition. If you think that your tie rod may be damaged, it is best to have it checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. Drivers should replace the tie rod end when they age or get damaged due to unconventional driving behavior. Here are the common signs of a bad tie rod end and tie rod replacement cost.

Shaking or vibration of the steering wheel


Tie rods secure front suspension systems in place. A bad tie rod is incapable of holding the components of the vehicle’s suspension system tight. It causes the entire suspension system to loosen. The loose connections result in vibrations or shaking that is transferred to the steering wheel. The vibrations become strong when accelerating or negotiating corners.

Poor wheel alignment


The tire rod is instrumental in sustaining the alignment of the front wheels. When the tie rod is damaged, the wheels manifest poor alignment. Poor wheel alignment complicates driving, making it difficult for drivers to maintain proper steering. The car veers off if the steering wheel is not firmly held.

Excessive play on the steering wheel


A damaged tie rod leaves loose ends in front of the vehicle. Drivers experience excessive play on the steering wheel, making the vehicle unresponsive to steering controls. Excessive wheel play is a safety concern that requires immediate rectification.

Squealing sounds


Damage on the tie rod end rubber boot increases metal-to-metal contact. As a result, drivers hear squealing or squeaking sounds. The noises are louder when cornering. The loud noises could also indicate poor lubrication of the tie rod end.

Uneven tire wear


We’ve mentioned that wheel misalignment is among the indicators of damaged tie rods. There are several effects of misalignment on the vehicle. The most popular is uneven tire wear. The inner or outer edges of the tire begin wearing faster than the middle sections. 

Car vibration


Severely damaged tie rods cause vehement vibration of the vehicle. The uneven tire wear reduces the uniformity of tire wear. Loose suspensions mean that the car cannot sustain road surface shocks.

Tie Rod Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing damaged tie rods ranges between $100 and $400. It includes the cost of purchasing new components and labor. Parts cost approximately $20-$100. 

Can You Replace Bad Tie Rods By Yourself?

You can certainly replace your own tie rods if you have some basic mechanical skills and knowledge. To do the job properly, you'll need a few tools including a jack, wrench set, and some new tie rod ends. It's not a difficult task, but it is important to follow the steps carefully so that your car handles safely and correctly afterwards.

If you're not confident in your abilities, or if you don't have the right tools, it's probably best to leave this job to a professional mechanic. Replacing tie rods isn't usually too expensive, and it's worth the peace of mind to know that everything has been done correctly.


Replace damaged tie rods within the shortest time possible. The risks of driving with bad tie rods are immense. Drivers can individually check for signs of tie rod damage or consult an experienced mechanic. 


What are the common signs of a bad tie rod?

If you have a bad tie rod, you are likely to experience shaking or the vibration of the steering wheel, loud squeaking noises, poor handling or uneven front tire wear.

What does the average tie rod replacement cost?

The average cost for replacing tie rods is in the range of $100 to $400. The price caters to labor and replacement parts.