I have a 2003 volkswagen jetta and the steering pulls in the direction of a turn while making a turn on both the right and left sides. In April of this year the rack and pinion was replaced and an alignment was done. However, the steering still pulled in the direction of a turn. In addition, the drivers side tire completely wore out within 6-8 weeks of having the steering fixed while the other tires remained intact. We were told we had a loose tie-rod on the drivers side - could this cause the quick wear on the tire and cause the pull in the steering? Also there has been a clinking (metal to metal) sound on the drivers side that occurs whenever we hit potholes or drive over uneven surfaces, could that also be the tie rod?
Yes, the bad tie rod is probably the cause of the worn-out tire.
Yes, the clinking sound is likely to be coming from that bad tie rod.
The next step will be loss of steering control and the inevitable collision that follows loss of steering control. I suggest that you have the tie rod (or tie rod end) replaced tomorrow, as this is a major safety issue.
While the car is on the lift, have the entire front end inspected for worn parts.
And this tim etry a different shop. The car should never have left the shop in this condition.
This begs the following question. If the rack and pinion was replaced then why does it have a loose tie rod? Tie rods are part of the rack and pinion and if the rack was a new or remanufactured unit it should not be loose at all.
Was this a new/reman or used rack and pinion?
Was the shop who told you of the loose tie rod the same one that changed the steering rack?
Did you receive a printout of the alignment specs?
Just offhand, something sounds funny but I’ll withold judgement for now.
I would take it to a diffrent mechanic it sounds like when the new rack was installed they did not correctly adjust for steering lash (thats what makes steering wheel tight or loose) and they did NOT do a proper alignment #1 loose tie rods would be changed with rack #2 you CANNOT get alignment to speck with loose tierod. # 3 (I cant say without hearing) but the clicking can be the upper strut mount or bad lower controll arm bushings (they do go bad) or if its clicking when turning its a bad outter CV joint, but in any case I would bring it TRUSTED QUALIFIED shop get rechecked and I believe you will find the orignal shop did a terrable job
Thank you everyone for your comments. This has been very helpful. We have a mechanic we have been using for years who we trust very much and has always honestly corrected any errors (which has rarely happened) free of charge. We have 2 old cars with lots of miles so we have had many dealings with our mechanic. We received the information about the tie rod from a chain tire store when we had the tires changed. We are going to have the car re-examined and your input will hep me ask the right questions. Thanks again for all of your help. I will let you know what happens.