Tie rods are an important component of a car’s steering system. Any fault to the tie rod can be detrimental to the performance of the steering and suspension system.
So, when this menace happens, what do you do, and how long can you drive with a faulty tie rod?
In this guide, we will explore the question that’s been on many drivers’ minds: “How long can you drive on a bad tie rod?”
We’ll discuss the signs that indicate a tie rod problem, the risks of driving with a bad tie rod, and what you can do to avoid these issues.
Table of Contents
- What are Tie Rods?
- 4 Signs of a Bad Tie Rod
- How Long Can You Drive on a Bad Tie Rod?
- What to Do if You Suspect a Bad Tie Rod?
- Preventative Measures to Avoid Tie Rod Problem
- Is it Safe to Drive With a Bad Inner And Outer Tie Rod?
- When To Replace Tie Rod?
What are Tie Rods?
A tie rod is a crucial component of a vehicle’s steering system. It is a slender metal rod that connects the steering knuckle on the wheel to the steering gear or rack, which is attached to the steering wheel. Tie rods are designed to transmit force from the steering centre link or rack gear to the steering knuckle, causing the wheels to turn.
They play a crucial role in maintaining the vehicle’s alignment and stability, and they ensure that the wheels are pointed in the right direction. Without tie rods, you wouldn’t be able to steer your vehicle. Which is why it’s essential to keep them in good condition.
4 Signs of a Bad Tie Rod
Here are some signs to watch out for:
1. Uneven Tire Wear
If you notice that your tires are wearing out unevenly, it could be a sign that your tie rod is failing. This is because a bad tie rod can cause the wheels to become misaligned, leading to uneven wear on the tires.
2. Steering Wheel Vibration
Another sign of a bad tie rod is a vibration in the steering wheel. If you’re driving down a smooth road, and your steering wheel is shaking or vibrating, it could be an indication that your tie rod is loose or damaged.
3. Steering Wheel Alignment Issues
If you’re finding it harder to keep your car’s steering wheel straight, or it feels like it’s pulling to one side, it could be a sign of a bad tie rod. When the tie rod is damaged, it can cause the steering to become misaligned, leading to steering issues.
4. Clicking or Popping Sounds
A damaged tie rod can cause clicking or popping sounds when you turn the steering wheel. These noises can be a sign of a loose or worn-out tie rod end, which connects the tie rod to the steering knuckle.
How Long Can You Drive on a Bad Tie Rod?
You should not drive over 10 to 20 miles on a bad tie rod. Driving for long distances on a bad tie rod can also worsen the damage and make it more difficult to control the vehicle.
It’s important to note that the length of time you can drive on a bad tie rod before it becomes a safety issue depends on several factors, including the extent of the damage, driving conditions, and stress on the steering system.
However, getting the tie rod fixed as soon as possible is always best to avoid any safety risks on the road.
What to Do if You Suspect a Bad Tie Rod?
If you suspect a bad tie rod, taking action as soon as possible is essential to avoid any safety risks on the road. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Look for Signs of a Bad Tie Rod
Some common signs of a bad tie rod include vibration in the steering wheel, uneven tire wear, and drifting or pulling sensation while driving.
2. Get Your Car Inspected
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to get your car inspected by a professional mechanic. They can determine if the tie rod is damaged and advise you on the best course of action.
3. Replace the Tie Rod
If the tie rod is damaged, it will need to be replaced. This is not a DIY job and should be done by a professional mechanic.
4. Get an Alignment
Once the tie rod is replaced, it’s important to get an alignment to ensure that the wheels are properly aligned. This will prevent excessive tire wear and ensure that the car is safe to drive.
5. Test Drive the Car
Before you hit the road, it’s important to test drive the car to make sure that everything feels normal. If you notice any issues, take the car back to the mechanic to have it rechecked.
Preventative Measures to Avoid Tie Rod Problem
Preventing tie rod problems can help you avoid costly repairs and keep your vehicle running smoothly. Here are some preventative measures you can take:
1. Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance is key to preventing tie rod problems. Have your car inspected by a professional mechanic every six months to check for any issues.
2. Avoid Potholes
Driving over potholes and other road hazards can damage the tie rod. Try to avoid potholes and drive slowly over speed bumps to prevent damage to the steering system.
3. Check Tire Pressure
Incorrect tire pressure can put extra stress on the tie rod and other steering components. Make sure to check your tire pressure regularly and inflate your tires to the recommended level.
4. Replace Worn Tires
Worn tires can cause uneven wear on the tie rod and steering system. Make sure to replace your tires when they start to show signs of wear.
5. Avoid Overloading
Overloading your vehicle can put extra stress on the tie rod and other steering components. Make sure to stay within the recommended weight limits for your vehicle.
6. Avoid Hitting Curbs
Hitting curbs or other objects can damage the tie rod and other steering components. Try to avoid hitting curbs or other objects when driving.
Is it Safe to Drive With a Bad Inner And Outer Tie Rod?
Driving with a bad inner and outer tie rod can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided if possible. A bad tie rod can cause your vehicle to lose control, leading to a potential accident.
When your tie rods are worn or damaged, it can cause the front wheels of your vehicle to go out of alignment, which affects the steering and handling of the car.
While it may be tempting to continue driving with a bad tie rod, it is unsafe and can cause further damage to your vehicle. It is important to prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you by getting your car inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
If you suspect a bad inner or outer tie rod, get it checked out by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem can damage your vehicle’s steering system and potentially put you and other drivers on the road in danger.
When To Replace Tie Rod?
If you notice any of the signs of a bad tie rod, such as excessive play in the steering, uneven tire wear, or steering wheel vibration, it’s important to have your tie rod checked by a professional mechanic. They can determine if it needs to be replaced or if there are any other issues with your vehicle’s steering system.
In general, tie rods should be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, but this can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle and your driving habits.
What Happens if You Keep Driving on a Bad Tie Rod?
If you continue to drive on a bad tie rod, it can have serious consequences for your vehicle’s steering and suspension systems. A bad tie rod can cause your vehicle to lose control and lead to uneven tire wear and poor handling.
It’s important to be aware of the signs of a bad tie rod and to have it checked by a professional if you suspect any issues.
Driving with a bad tie rod can be dangerous and can lead to further damage to your vehicle’s steering system. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent tie rod problems and ensure your vehicle is safe to drive.