Tie rod replacement

Looking on line, it doesn’t appear the cost of the items themselves is that expensive. What can I expect to pay to have a front tie rod replaced on a 2002 kia sedona mini van? I know from reading it doesn’t appear to tough to replace, but as I have posted here on other subjects I have no desire or ability to do work on cars so I leave it to those who do. Also when replacing tie rods, do you have to replace both on the front or just the side that is bad?

It depends on why it is bad. If it got bent to the point that it can’t be reused, then one is OK. If it is worn out, then I’d do both. In addition to the replacement, you need to get an alignment afterwards. New bellows for the steering rack should also be considered and that will add more cost.

I would replace both tie rods if one side is worn out. I would also have a front end alignment done because the technician that replaces the tie rod can never get it anywhere near specs. If you get the work done at a good independent front end shop then the entire job will be less. You need to shop around in your area for the best price.

What are “signs” of your tie rods needing replacement? I have been told I should feel something when turning, or hear something when turning or driving. I am not, I heard something before I had my front brakes replaced last week, but the car drives very quietly now. There is a very slight wobble in the sterring which I was told due to my tires needing to be replaced.

When replacing front brakes and rotors would a good mechanic be able to tell you have bad tie rods or even ball joints or would more investigation be needed?

“When replacing front brakes and rotors would a good mechanic be able to tell you have bad tie rods or even ball joints or would more investigation be needed?”

Only if it was noticed. I always did a cursory safety check on any vehicle that I worked on but it had to be something obvious. “More investigation” or inspection is up to the customer.

I should have said something to him, that is on me and now spending an additional $20 dollars to have the local place do an overall check on the front end to see what is causing the drift. I am “hoping” it’s just an alignment issue, but given age of car (2002) and miles (165000) and my horrible luck with cars, I am betting it’s either bad tie rods, ball joints or both causing the car to be out of alignment.

@bertrand "…my horrible luck with cars. "
I know many will disagree with this but; I used to have horrible luck with cars and other products too in my early car buying life. Then, I started reading CR recommendations and more importantly, the products they don’t. . I don’t always buy their top recommendations, but I avoid buying the dogs according to them and do what the manufacturer says for maintenance. So, I NOW buy a lot of Huskavana and Echo chain saws and lawn care power tools, Toro mowers, Honda and Mercury Outboards, Yamaha generators and Toyota Trucks and Toyota, Honda and Subaru cars and sailboats desigened by Rod Johnstone. It has worked…I get to play more then worry about repairing things.

After the tie rod is replaced you have the front end aligned.

When a vehicle comes into my shop and is put on the lift for a brake job, the first thing I do is wiggle the front tires to check for worn tie rods/bearings.


The guy who did my brakes may have done that and didn’t see anything wrong or the place I went to later in the day to have an oil change and rotated my front tires but I didn’t ask. I am just worried as hell that the reason its so badly out of alignment is due to either bad tie rod or something worse and I dont have the large amount of funds to replace the tie rod and such till next weekend. I have never had a car this out of alignment.

If you ever had one break on you, you’d replace them like a maintenance item. As Tester said though on the rack, or driving some looseness in the steering or a wander on the road. Maybe hopping back and forth a little on the highway.

I would hardly call having to replace some front end components at 165000 miles horrible luck. These are all wear items and need periodic replacement. I remember when they first came out with ball joints (instead of kingpins) in the 50s, some of them wore out in 15-20 k.

If you drove on the roads around here you would consider yourself fluky lucky if the entire front end did not have to be rebuilt by the 60k miles mark.

If you’re just guessing as to why your vehicle is out of alignment, you are probably wasting money and time replacing your tie rods. These are very simple–it’s easy to put the car up on a lift and inspect them for excessive play. You should have the whole front end checked out–steering, suspension, etc. for loose/bad parts. Replace what is bad and then align it. As others have said, if you’ve gone 165K without anything in the front end being touched, you’re due. This is hardly bad luck or an unreliable vehicle.

Horrible luck in timing not that they need replacing.