I need advice regarding tie rods, do I have a shifty mechanic?

Hi all, thanks in advance for any advice!

So i recently went in to the mechanic for my brakes, they were making noise (low pitched non-metallic grinding) i was told my two front brake pads and bearings needed to be replaced. I had that done and immediately after that every time I went over a crack in the road I heard a metallic rattling. So I go back and the mechanic tells me the front driver side tie rod is broken.

My question is, was it just strange coincidence that immediately after getting my brakes fixed the tie rod broke or could it have been a mechanic error that they broke it when fixing the brakes? If it was coincidence I will keep going to the same mechanic, also is $270 a reasonable price for the repair? the break-down is $105 for the part, $85 for the labor and $80 for a tire alignment.

If the wheel bearings were changed then this job would involve removal of the steering knuckle so as to press the old bearings out and the new ones in.
This means the tie rod ends must be disconnected from the knuckle and if someone was careless during the reassembly by not tightening the tie rod end stud nuts, using a new cotter pin, etc, then it’s quite likely that loose tie rod end will rattle and knock. Eventually, this could lead to a complete separation and loss of steering; a pretty dangerous proposition.

The odds of a tie rod breaking are just about zero. The odds of a tie rod END breaking or becoming separated from the knuckle are much higher. If the tie rod end separated at the knuckle due to the ball stud pulling out of the knuckle then I would say that someone forgot to tighten the ball stud nut, replace the cotter pin, etc.

At this point I’m just not sure about how the word broken is being defined because a broken tie rod or tie rod end or a separated from the knuckle tie rod end will lead to loss of steering and a tow. Hope some of this helps.

The crack in the road could easily toasted the bearings and the tie rod. If it broke the bearings it must have been a real doozy. There are many other parts that could also be damaged by a crack in the road that is big enough to toast the wheel bearings.

I agree with OK4450.
Seems to me he should have seen the tie rob being ‘broken’ if he replaced the bearing. With’ broken’, he must mean ‘worn’. Actually ‘broken’ would have made the car not be driveable. Tie rods wear out over time so it isn’t like it wore out between you picking the car up and the couple of miles you may have driven the car. If they were worn, he should have seen it.
As such, that labor should have been included in the first bill. To unthread it and thread a new one on is easy and takes minutes, if he has that part of the car apart.
The part and alignment he could charge you for.

Him not being able to determine whether the tie rod was bad with that entire assembly apart make me wonder as to how good the guy is.

As others have said while doing the brakes he us looking right at the tie rod, and most likley he had to remove them to do the bearing. It does seem odd he did not tell you they were bad the first time.

Thanks very much for the info. I think I will start looking for a more reputable mechanic.

I’ not sure the rattling noise is a broken tie rod. I had a brake job done once and had that rattling noise. It turned out to be the pads rattling against the caliper. New anti rattle springs which the mechanic who did the job installed for free fixed the problem.

The first generation Dakota has serviceable wheel bearings, 1997 and newer the bearings are serviced as a hub assembly. There is little chance of causing damage to the tie rod ends during a wheel bearing replacement.

The tie rod ends may be worn and need replacement but I think the noise is from the brake pads rattling. I have found some (cheap) aftermarket brake pads lack the anti rattle clips. You may notice the rattle while driveing through a bumpy parking lot, if you lightly apply the brakes the rattle will stop.

I would agree a metal rattling noise would not seem to me to be a tie rod but rather "as mentioned " the brake pads not being held tightly by the antirattle hardware.

though the tie rod may oe may not be bad.

a tie rod being very bad should have a symptom of a slight shaking in the steering wheel that may change a bit depending od speed or a slight pull of the steering while driving. not nessecarily rattling unless that accompanied the shaking steering if it is really bad.

I agree that your mechanic needs to be replaced. A truly broken tie rod would soon see you in the ditch or in the wrong lane or not even out of your driveway at home. Your mechanic’s lack of command of the English language indicates a general lack of intelligence that would frighten me away. A little less than perfect grammar would certainly be excusable. Worn, if that is the case, is not broken. If worn was broken, then almost everything would be broken.

Somehow, seven months later, I suspect that the OP has had her car repaired and no longer needs our input. Or, did the two most recent posters believe that she parked her car for several months, so that everyone possible could log in and give an opinion regarding the price of fixing her alleged tie rod problem?


Seriously, however…why is somebody resurrecting threads many months after the fact?

Smells fishy to me.