Wheel Alignment and Tie Rod Replacement: How and Why They’re Related

A Necessary Repair

Perhaps you’ve heard about tie rods, tie rod ends, and replacement. Maybe you’re wondering if this is an urgent or even necessary repair. Are there other related repairs that should occur at the same time? If your tie rods or tie rod ends are worn, you may have difficulty steering and/or a sudden loss of control. You shouldn’t continue driving if a problem with these components is discovered. Further, you’ll need a wheel alignment when you replace suspension and steering parts. For both the tie rod/end replacement and the wheel alignment, count on the ASE-certified technicians at Cardinal Plaza Shell in Springfield, Virginia.

Let’s Talk Tie Rod Replacement

First, let’s briefly review the components at hand. Tie rods link the steering rack or gearbox (depending on your particular vehicle) to the ball joints that enable your auto’s wheels to turn. The tie rod ends go onto the tie rods via threading. Therefore, broken or loose parts negatively impact your ability to steer, turn, and control your automobile. If these crucial pieces are reaching the end of their safe, usable life, you’ll likely begin noticing some warning signs. For example, your car may pull to one side or wear the tire tread more in some places than others. (Note: This is also a sign of poor wheel alignment–not surprising since the two issues are related.) Further, you may hear clunking sounds as you turn and feel as if the motion is segmented and choppy rather than smooth and free-flowing. (This may be an issue with the steering rack, too.) Beyond what you notice as you drive, our technicians may find additional signals during your service visit. They may discover that the tie rod ends are no longer fitting properly (loose) due to wear. Also, they may discover tears in the rubbery coverings around these ends and joints. Such damage allows dirt to creep inside and around these suspension parts, leading to faster wear. If a tie rod end needs replacing, it’s usually best practice to replace the pair. (Most vehicles have two pairs for a total of four.) Typically, if one is worn, the other one is, as well, or will soon exhibit similar signs.

Why Align Now?

Tie rods are adjustable (hence the threaded coupling with the ends). It’s important to ensure that they’re set to the right length when they’re installed. Also, you will need a wheel alignment when you replace these suspension elements. One without the other doesn’t restore your vehicle to the original factory settings and can lead to worn tires or other damage. To ensure the best results, visit Cardinal Plaza Shell for tie rods/ends and alignment.

Written by Developer Autoshop

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