Cost to replace tie rods (03 Elantra)?

I had an alignment done on my 2003 Hyundai Elantra several months ago and when they did it, they told me that my tie rods “had some play in them.” When I brought up the issue with some friends, they all had the same reaction:

sharp intake of breath “…oh man, that’s gonna be expensive to replace.”

So I haven’t had it replaced, which doesn’t seem to be a huge deal given that my steering isn’t really affected and the guys at the tire place didn’t seem very concerned about it.

Anyway, I was getting curious and looked it up, and while I can’t seem to find any info on the cost to replace tie rods on an Elantra, the other cars I looked up seemed to list the cost in somewhere between 100 and 250 dollars. Is this accurate? I’m also assuming that this is getting the work done at a place that is NOT the dealer, given that they tend to charge a premium for every service.

I also don’t know which parts exactly they were referring to when they said “tie rods”. Are there inner/outer rods, and would they have meant all of them?

Here’s what a tie rod END looks like.

The problem could be in the end as shown or it could be in the INNER tie rod which attaches to the outer tie rod end.
Several parts searches do not show an inner being available for this car; a.k.a., meaning an entire steering rack would have to be purchased if the inners could not be found in the aftermarket or at the dealer.
That would be assuming the inners are the problem, but my guess is they’re referring to the outers.

The dealer is generally higher but this does not mean they’re gouging you. The dealer would be using a factory OEM part which is usually higher in cost and the dealer labor rates are higher out of sheer necessity.

The price can vary a lot but I think you could figure on around a 100 per side on the outers with there being a bit of a question on the inners (if needed).

The tie rods are just that; rods. They are steel rods, threaded at each end, and unless they are bent they last forever. The tie rod ENDS, however (inner and outer), wear out and may need to be replaced.

The cost of tie rod ends should not be horrible. I don’t know why your friends are reacting this way. Maybe they are thinking of something else.