Bent tie rods on 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

I have a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 24K miles. One of the rear tires went flat, so it is currently at the Toyota dealership for two new front tires (the rear tires were replaced recently).

The dealership just called and said all 4 tie rods are bent and also need to be replaced. The mechanic also said that bent tie rods can cause tires to wear out prematurely. Fortunately the tie rod replacements are covered by our extended warranty. However, my question is, how do all 4 tie rods get bent? I have not hit anything other than pot holes - would that be enough?

I recently had the vehicle in for a power steering “service campaign” where presumably they would have had the vehicle up in air. Is it possible that the dealership could have damaged the tie rods putting it up on the lifts? Thanks for any information you can provide!!

I, too, would like to know how all of these tie rods became bent at 24K miles… Could this be a ploy to get some money from the extended warranty company? I’d want to see the tie rods for myself.

A “service campaign” sounds like a profit generator to me. I think you should get another opinion about the tie rods. Don’t ask if they’re bent, just ask someone to check the wheel alignment and see if they mention the tie rods.

I would take this diagnosis with a grain of salt. As far as I know a Highlander has 2 tie rods; one on each end of the steering rack. There are 2 tie rod ENDS; each attached to the tie rod on each side.
The odds of a bent tie rod end are about as close to zero as you can get and the only way tie rods could be bent would be if they were damaged in an accident or if someone not in their right mind attempted to place the hydraulic lift pads under the tie rods when they raised the car up.

Worn tie rods or tie rod ends can cause excessive tire wear but the odds of having either on a 24k miles Toyota is also near zero.

The part about warranty also sounds extremely strange. Warranty, both factory and extended, does not cover damage caused by potholes, accidents, or careless shops. It only covers factory defects in materials or workmanship.
Much of this sounds like BS for some unexplained reason to me. Hope that helps.

I’m with Tester on this…This sets off my BS meter. 4 bent tie-rods. I think in the last 35+ years of driving and over 1 million miles I think I’ve been able to bend/break ONE tie-rod…and that was when I was 4-wheeling and slid off a rock. The tie-rod was NOT the only thing bent either.

At least you’re NOT paying for it.

I am amazed that the extended warranty people don’t send out a inspector. No way this would fly with factory warranty.

What warranty company are you using? This may be the one to buy as they seem to pay out easy.

Thanks everyone for your responses! It’s good to know I’m not the only one who thought this sounded fishy, including that it’s covered by the extended warranty. I’ll have to look up our documentation on that to see if that’s accurate. The Toyota tech even said nothing else was damaged under the vehicle except for the tie rods. As MikeInNH said, at least I’m not paying for the tie rod work, just the tire replacements. However, it makes me think that maybe something did happen when it was in for the service campaign (which by the way was actually a recall in the power steering assembly - they just prefer the words “service campaign”).

Unfortunately I can’t get another opinion because they’re keeping the vehicle overnight while they wait for 2 of the tie rods to come in tomorrow. At least they gave me a rental at no charge - also fishy? This all started because my tires were worn out - anyone know what the tread life should be for Goodyear Integrity 225/65R17 101S tires? I pretty much just drive my kids around town, not a lot of highway miles. Thanks again everyone!

I’ve NEVER had good luck with tires manufacturers put on any of my new vehicles…30k MAX. The aftermarket tires usually last at LEAST 50k.