Was I cheated


Took my 3 year-old Buick for inspection the other day. It has about 13,000 miles on it. During inspection and after the car was lifted into the air, I noticed that each tire was “twisted” by the inspector while the tires remained on the car. I was then told that the left front outer tie rod needed to be replaced and then an alignment done. I agreed with the understanding that I would get the old part. After the work was finished, I looked at the old part and it seems OK to me(the rubber is not “broken”). Was I cheated?


Would the car Warrenty cover the cost of the part, the installation fee, or the alignment fee?


Grabbing the wheel at 3:00 and 9:00 and giving it a shake or “twist” is one way to check for a loose tie rod.

Does the tapered threaded part of the used tie rod seem loose at all?

Was this for a state mandated inspection? If so were you tied to the inspector for a fix, or did you have the option to take it elsewhere? Any time I’d take a vehicle in for inspection, I’d make it perfectly clear to the inspector that my brother in law or some other made-up relative did ALL my repairs, but was not a licensed inspection station. If you had to get it fixed right then and there, I’m skeptical, especially since the car only has 13K miles. I’ve had cars with 113K miles that didn’t need tie rod ends replaced. Have the old part checked by a third party, hopefully your area’s consumer fraud department, if any, or county/district attorney’s office. If this was for a state mandated inspection, they can make the inspector’s life pretty miserable if you can prove he did something wrong.


If you could move or twist the parts of the tie-rod end, it’s worn out. It takes a lot of force to check one when holding it. The rubber doesn’t have to be broken for it to be worn out.


That mileage figure of 13,000 seems very, very low to me for you to suffer a tie rod end failure. I see no way an end could have gone bad that quickly unless the car is a flood vehicle.

Grasp the threaded stud on the tie rod end and move it around in all directions. If it moves smoothly without catching and is somewhat firm in movement then it should be ok.

This is 13k and not 130k, right?


As to warranty, 13k miles means the tie rod end and alignment should be covered unless the vehicle is outside the factory time frame.


The tie rod would have to be damaged by abuse to cause this sort of problem. Have you hit anything on the road tht might have caused it? If not, you could take the part to the dealer to confirm whether it is damaged or not. Explain the situation to the and tell them you need their help. If your dealer did the inspection, find another GM dealer. If it is a Lacrosse, it should be similar enough to a Grand Prix or Impala that you might find a matching tie rod at the Pontiac or Chevy dealer.

Back to the part: put the old tie rod and a new one together and see if the end is bent or damaged in some way. If not, you might contact your state justice department for coaching in how to get your money back.


Many years ago I went to NTB for a alignment. The mechanic trys to give me a line that I needed new ball joints. I said show me. He shows me some lateral movement in the ball joints which he says in unacceptable. Well ball joints are allowed certain lateral movement to still be in spec.

I refused the ball joint replacement…Took it to another place and they saw no problems with the ball joints…After putting another 200k miles on those ball joints they were still fine.

At many if not ALL of the national chains the mechanics work on commission. Much of their salary is based on how many parts they sell. So there’s a great insentive to sell parts that are NOT needed. In fact if you’re an honest mechanic…many of these places will actually fire you because you’re NOT selling enough parts.


The car is about 3 years old and has about 13,000 miles. Would the car warrenty cover the cost of the part, the installation fee, or the alignment fee?


ask your dealership if it is covered. i doubt that it is covered by their warranty, because you could have taken it to the dealership to have them repair it. and take the part to them to have them give an opinion on its condition also.


The base warranty is 3 years. Since you’re well within the mileage this means warranty would have covered the entire operation IF, you’re within the 3 year time frame since the vehicle was put into service.
This means the day you bought it as a new car or the day it entered service as a demo if the car was used as such.

That being said, GM is not going to pay for anything that someone else has done. I find it very hard to believe (not at all actually) that a tie rod end went bad in 13k miles.
You might take the part by a GM dealer and have them look at it for you if you’re unsure. There should be no problem with doing this at all.
If it’s good…then maybe a choice word or two with the shop who said it was bad might be in order.