Tie rod

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1996 Mazda Protégé,128,00 miles, in town driving.

Mechanic says tie rod needs to be repaired. What is a tie rod? what happens if I do not repair? What is likely cost?


I would get a second opinion but tie rods will keep your vehicle on the road and out of the ditch or driving into a tree or light pole. Imagine suddenly having no control of your steering. That happens when a tie rod fails. So…your front axles are OK?

The tie rod literally ties your steering mechanisms together. It pivots with each turn of the steering wheel. Have it fixed along with the CV shaft (axle) you posted about elsewhere. If it’s on the same side, the shop should discount the labor as the tie rod will probably need to be popped out to remove the CV shaft. Even if they don’t have to be removed to get the shaft (replaced) he’s at least in the same neighborhood.

Are you using a good reputable shop and not a chain store? If not, get a second opinion from a shop in your area suggested by the MECHANICS FILES link at the top of this page.

BTW, if it comes “untied” you lose any and all control of the car.

yes, tie rods are critical, it should not break the bank.

Repairpal.com gives an estimate of $215 to $265 for tie rod replacement.

Tie rods connect your steering box to your wheels. When you turn the steering wheel, it moves a rack to the left or right depending on the direction you turned the steering wheel. The tie rods connect the ends of the rack to the steering knuckles which your wheels and brakes are mounted on.

If a tie rod breaks, you turn the steering wheel but the front wheels will not turn. How fast do you want to be going if that decides to happen?

I might respectfully disagree that a bad tie rod is death personified; within reason of course. Maybe what needs to be clarified is whether or not the part in question is a tie rod or tie rod end.
Some parts houses refer to them with the same nomenclature in spite of the obvious difference.

A tie rod end can certainly snap but the odds of a tie rod snapping are pretty close to zero unless a collision was involved. A worn tie rod (not end) usually affects the handling and tire wear but is normally not a safety factor; back to the within reason angle of course. :slight_smile:

I agree with @ok4450 here but believe me…a bad tie rod will snap if you hit a bad pothole or other anomaly in the road. No collision needed. I’ve done it in the past.

Thanks for the help to all! I think I need to get more info from my mechanic and then go from there.

Ok, more information from the mechanic. Says the tie rod problem is on the passenger side,. The outer tie rod is the one that is bad. The socket is worn out and so it the ball joint.

If it’s the outer tie rod (a.k.a. tie rod end) then that one is very critical and needs to be repaired.

Actually, all four are critical, the two inners and two outers. But, the outers are far easier to replace.

I agree they are all important but I’ve never seen or heard of an inner snapping unless there was a collision involved.

Replace both, not just one. They are what connects your steering wheel to the wheels. If they break, your wheels flop all over the road and so do you.

ok, I am mostly convinced it needs to be replaced. Would the tie rods be expected to give out at 128,000 miles? normal intown driving, no crazy driving, etc.

And, I would actually love to see the damaged part. I tried to look at it underneath this morning with a flashlight and mirror but I must have been at the wrong angle. I assume it is above the inner wheel area. I looked at some diagrams this am too, so maybe I should look at it from the top in the engine compartment?

At 128,000 miles, any moving parts can potentially be worn out, especially in city driving.