Does your car tend to pull to one side or the other when you’re driving it down the street? There could be any number of things that might be causing this. Something as simple as an alignment might be able to stop your car from pulling to one side when you’re behind the wheel. But you might also have an issue with one of your car’s tie rods that is to blame for your alignment troubles. When this is the case, you’re going to have to worry about the tie rod replacement cost when you take your car in to have it fixed. Take a few minutes to learn more about tie rods and the cost of replacing them below.
What Is a Tie Rod?
When you hear the term “tie rod,” you might automatically associate it with cars. But there are actually a lot of different things that rely on tie rods. You’ll find tie rods in airplanes, steel structures like bridges and towers, and even masonry walls. Tie rods are, by definition, rods that are designed to hold things together within a structure or, in the case of a car, within the steering gear of a vehicle. Tie rods specialize in carrying tensile loads, regardless of what kind of structure or vehicle they’re found in.
What Does a Tie Rod Do in a Car?
We just gave you a very basic overview of what tie rods are and what they do when they’re positioned inside of structures and vehicles. But for the purposes of this article, we want to break down exactly what they do when they’re located inside of cars. You’ll understand the tie rod replacement cost better when you have a firm grasp on just how important tie rods are within a car.
Most of the cars that are out on the road today have what’s called a rack-and-pinion steering system in them. These systems have a steering rack that is designed to help drivers get their cars to turn. Tie rods are positioned on the ends of a steering rack, and they work to push and pull the front tires on a car when its driver turns the steering wheel. As a result, tie rods play an integral role in both the steering and the alignment of a car. Even though they’re very small compared to some of the other parts that help with steering and alignment, you wouldn’t be able to turn your car as easily as you do now without fully-functioning tie rods in place.
Can Tie Rods Go Bad?
Every single time you turn the steering wheel in your car even an inch, your tie rods have to spring into action and do their jobs. Over time, this can put a lot of wear and tear on your tie rods, which means that they can go bad. In fact, some tie rods can break and stop working altogether if they get worn down enough. There are also some external factors that can cause issues with your car’s tie rods. For example, a car accident or a pothole could snap a tie rod in half and force you to shoulder the tie rod replacement cost that comes along with fixing one.
How Long Do Tie Rods Last?
Now that you know about the importance of tie rods and understand that they can go bad, you might be asking yourself one simple question: “How long do tie rods last?” You don’t want to get caught letting your tie rods wear down too much before replacing them, right? This is a nice thought, but the problem is that it’s not always easy to predict how long tie rods are going to last before you need to bring in new ones to replace them.
There are some people who will drive the same car for years and years without ever having to worry about replacing their tie rods. These people might not ever have to face the tie rod replacement cost. But there are also people who will have to replace tie rods once or even twice throughout the life of their car. It depends on how they drive their car and what kinds of external factors they expose their car to while driving it. If, for instance, they’re constantly slamming into potholes and not slowing down when they do it, it could eventually take a toll on the tie rods in their car and force them to have their tie rods replaced.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Tie Rod?
If your car has a broken tie rod in it, it’s not going to be very difficult for you to tell. You’re pretty much not going to be able to drive your car with a tie rod that has snapped in half since it won’t be connected to anything. Whichever tire on your car is being controlled by that particular tie rod is going to move in whatever direction it wants since your tie rod isn’t able to do anything about it.
But if you have a tie rod in your car that’s bad but not broken, the problem isn’t always going to be that obvious. You will have to keep a close eye out for certain signs that will let you know you have a bad tie rod on your hands. Here are some of the most common signs of a bad tie rod:
- The tires on your car wear out a whole lot faster than you would expect them to normally (under normal circumstances, a set of tires should last you somewhere between five and six years)
- Your car is always pulling one way or the other when you’re trying to maintain control of it
- You find that your steering wheel is constantly shaking as you’re driving it
- Your car doesn’t respond well to alignment changes and goes back to having poor alignment almost immediately after you have alignment service done to it
- You hear a loud clicking sound coming from the general direction of one of your front tires when you turn your steering wheel to the left or right
Have you experienced any of these things in recent weeks? You shouldn’t ignore them. They’re usually clear-cut signs that you need to have tie rods replaced right away.
Can You Drive a Car With a Bad Tie Rod?
If you discover that you have a bad tie rod in your car, you might be tempted to try and get away with driving it for as long as you can. And you might actually be able to get away with driving it as long as you don’t push your car too hard. But you might also put yourself, your passengers, and even other drivers and pedestrians into harm’s way by continuing to drive in a car with a bad tie rod in it.
In a best-case scenario, a bad tie rod will cause the tires on your car to wear out ahead of schedule. If you don’t notice, it could lead to one or more of your car’s tires blowing out on you while you’re driving, which can be very dangerous. And remember: That’s a best-case scenario. In a worst-case scenario, a bad tie rod could break while you’re driving your car at a high speed and cause you to lose control of your car completely. You could get into a bad accident due your negligence when it comes to having a bad tie rod replaced.
For both of these reasons, you should always avoid driving around in a car with a bad tie rod in it. You might not think that a bad tie rod can put you into a dangerous position. But it could potentially lead to you being involved in a terrible car accident if you’re not careful. It’s why it’s essential for you to take action at the first sign of a bad tie rod.
How Much Does Tie Rod Replacement Cost?
By now, you should fully grasp just how important it is to fix a bad tie rod rather than driving around with it for an extended period of time. But you might be worried about having a tie rod replaced due to the tie rod replacement cost. Since tie rods are so important, some people are very concerned about how much they’re going to have to pay to get a new tie rod put into their car. And their concerns are, as it turns out, very valid.
The tie rod replacement cost isn’t astronomical compared to many other auto repairs. But you can usually expect to pay somewhere between $350 and $475 for parts and labor when having tie rods replaced. Additionally, there is a decent chance that a mechanic might find larger issues with your car’s steering rack while investigating your tie rod issue, which could set you back quite a bit of money. On average, it costs anywhere from just over $1,700 to almost $2,100 to do a steering rack replacement.
You probably won’t have to pay that much money if you only have a routine tie rod problem on your hands. But it’s worth keeping it in the back of your mind just in case your mechanic calls you and tells you that you need to do more than just tie rod replacement.
What Are Ways to Save Money on Tie Rod Replacement?
A bad tie rod will often cost you a pretty penny to replace. But there are some different ways that you might be able to save money on tie rod replacement when you need to have it done. For starters, you can inspect your tie rods on a regular basis and spot signs of trouble early so that small problems with your car’s steering and alignment don’t turn into bigger ones over time. You can also attempt to DIY tie rod replacement if you know your way around a car and have the right tools at home to do it.
Is the Tie Rod Replacement Cost Worth It?
As we’ve mentioned a few times now, driving a car around with a bad tie rod is a big no-no. You shouldn’t ever do it for any longer than you absolutely have to since it could put you and others into danger. At the same time, you shouldn’t rush right out and have a tie rod replaced if you don’t think it’s worth doing it. There are times when it’s not going to make sense to have a tie rod replaced on a car.
If your car is on the older side and has other steering and alignment problems, biting the bullet as far as tie rod replacement cost is concerned and having a new tie rod installed is going to be the least of your problems. Those same steering and alignments issues are still going to exist after tie rod replacement is done. You might also want to avoid doing tie rod replacement on a car that has major problems that don’t involve the steering and alignment. What’s the sense in taking on a tie rod job that’s going to cost you a few hundred dollars if your car is still going to be filled with other issues?
What Else Can You Do With a Car With a Bad Tie Rod?
If you ultimately decide that you’re not going to replace a bad tie rod, you should stop driving your car immediately. You should also figure out what you’re going to do with it. You’re likely going to have a tough time selling your car to a private buyer since they’re not going to want to take on the tie rod replacement cost. They’re going to take one test drive and realize that your car isn’t for them. You’re also going to have a tough time trading a car with a bad tie rod in and getting anything close to what you want for it. That probably won’t be an option, either.
Instead, you should consider selling your car that has a bad tie rod in it to a cash buyer. Cash Cars Buyer will willingly take your car off your hands and make you a great offer for it in the process. Even though it has a bad tie rod, that won’t stop us from purchasing it from you and allowing you to put your tie rod problems in the past. Get in contact with us today to see how easy we make it to sell your car and put cash right into your pockets.