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Drive side front tie rod end....what is it?

I have a 2002 Kia Sedona mini van, this past weekend while having the timing belt and crank shaft sensor replaced the dealership said that at some point I will need to have the driver side front Driver Tie Rod end replaced. My question is/are:

  1. What isa tie rod end?
  2. What is a fair cost to have it replaced?
  3. Is it something that a good mechanic could do?

The Dealership said it would be $150 for them to do it.

The tie rod end is what makes the connection between the steering rack and pinion and the steering knuckle. Here’s an example of a worn tie rod end.

Tie rod ends aren’t expensive or difficult to install. Any good mechanic can install a new tie rod end.


How do you tell it needs to be replaced? I checked out autozone and they list for about $27. So about how long does it take to replace?

It takes about an hour, but then you need a front end alignment and that adds to the total cost.

There should be no slop or free movement in any direction…You would lift the L/F tire off the ground and holding the front and back edge of the tire try to move it back and forth while someone watches the tie-rod end for play…When you disconnect the joint from the spindle (hub) your wheel alignment is destroyed and must be reset after the new joint is installed…If you use an identical factory part, you can count the turns as you remove the old joint from the tie-rod. Then screw in the new joint the exact same number of turns. That will get the alignment very close…

Yep, its what is connected to the wheel to turn it. If it breaks or disconnects, that wheel will just flop around and not respond to the steering wheel. Very interesting on the freeway as I found out, and mine were quality Moog parts only a year old. I’d get it replaced but I would probably do both at the same time since you have to have the alignment anyway.

Back in the old days, when you had your car greased every 2 or 3 thousand miles, Ah but lets not go there…

When the sealed ball-joints first came out…I was very very skeptical…But I’ve had 4 vehicles with over 300k miles and not one ball-joint failure…and only 1 tie-rod failure…So I’m convinced.

What I can’t figure out is that back in Feb I had the van alligned and they said nothing about the tie rod end being an issue, I wouldn’t think they wouldn’t have seen it then and they did now on inspection.

Did the same shop who did the inspection do the alignment???

Well it’s been 4 months since Feb…AND March and April here in NE is pothole season…So back in Feb the tie-rod could have been fine…but now it’s bad…Very possible.

Yep, the dealership did the alignment and the present inspection and yes our roads here in Indy have been horrible with Grand Canyon type of pot holes and such.

You can tell the one in the picture has to be replaced because it is now two parts. Any stage of looseness before total separation is when you replace it. Testing it involves looking at it while trying to steer one of the front wheels by pushing on the tire. If one part of the tie rod moves while the other part does not, it’s wearing out.

It has to be replaced because a loose one causes more wear on the rest of the steering system as well as the engine and transmission. Wheels that point in opposite directions will make the car harder to move.

“Yep, the dealership did the alignment and the present inspection and yes our roads here in Indy have been horrible with Grand Canyon type of pot holes and such.”

Hmmmm…a used Kia Sedona, Indianapolis, timing belt…this is all very familiar!

Aren’t you our old friend, “Indy”, who had a Sedona that was due for a timing belt replacement?
Why aren’t you using your old screen name?

When the new format came about I just didn’t think about it when I signed up, went with something I could remember alot eaiser. And finally got that timing belt replaced

Wow, Dr. VDCd, Impressive Dectective Work ! First It Was Subarus And Psychology And Neurology, Now I Guess We Could Call You Chief Inspector VDCd. Peter Sellers Is No Longer With Us.

What is that ? Do you smell that burning rubber smell ?


I guess that I still have a few brain cells functioning, even after 63 years.