Tie Rod detachment

My wife called me this afternoon. (I’m really a morning person - just don’t call me Shirley). Anyway, she says the car (2003 Lexus RX300, 120k miles) is making a terrible thumping noise and is impossible to steer. I drive to where she has pulled off the road and take it for a slow test drive around the block - seems ok to me, but I agree to drive it home. After about a mile, I think the wheel’s about to fall off. After I finally got home, I jacked up the front end and found a broken tie rod. Well, I thought it was broken, but close inspection found no breaks - It looks like it just came unscrewed !!! What the heck? How is that possible?

ps: Other than a dozen trips to NJ the last couple of years, we always drive on smooth roads.

Ah? You need to have someone who knows something about cars. and have them check out the steering and suspension components. From what you’re describing, the problem should be pretty obvious. A friend? Inlaw? Outlaw?

But in the meantime, dont drive the car!


I know a few things about cars and you’re right the problem is pretty obvious. The outer tie rod end is unscrewed from the inner tie rod. and the inner tie rod is just hanging. I didn’t find any evidence of breakage on the outer end and the threaded end of the rod looks undamaged - the nut is still in place about an inch from the rod end. I know it’s not driveable. Any clue as to what happened? A friend? Inlaw? Outlaw? Mechanic?


Have the inner/outer tie rod ends been replaced in the distant past on that side?


Hmmm. I know not lately. Can’t remember if it was ever replaced (It is the wife’s car, afterall). I’ll check the records.