Tire Rod Repair Cost: How much is it?
Tire (tie) rods are an essential aspect of the car’s steering system which means that a faulty tie rod can cause a bunch of issues. These issues typically include bad handling, uneven tire wear, squealing sounds, misaligned front end, and a bunch of other issues.
This means that a broken tie rod needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible in order not to risk damaging other steering and suspension components. So, how much does a tire rod repair cost?
Tire Rod Repair Cost
As mentioned in the intro of this article, you can either repair or replace the tire rod depending on the severity of the issue. If you are able to repair it, you are looking at around $10-$50 in most cases as the repair costs shouldn’t exceed replacement costs. As such, a complete tire rod replacement is likely going to set you back between $20 and $150.
It also depends if the faulty rod is the inner one or the outer one. Outer rods are easier to replace and they tend to cost less money as a result. On the other hand, an inner tire rod typically costs more, but an experienced and credible mechanic isn’t likely going to charge you any different.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Damaged Tire Rod?
- You recently hit a pothole
- Problems with the alignment
- Lack of steering response
- Uneven tire wear
- Clunking noises and shaking
Can I Damage My Tire Rods By Going Over Potholes?
Our cars do not like stiff impacts as the energy that is released after you hit a pothole aggressively is sent through your entire car’s mechanics. This shouldn’t be a problem for many cars that are equipped with beefy suspension and steering components or those that have always been serviced well. On the other hand, if you don’t maintain your car and replace all the parts when necessary, this can cause tire rod damage.
Tire rods are expendable components which means that general wear and tear is going to affect them. However, going over a pothole in an aggressive manner is going to speed up that process quite a bit. So, if you feel any other symptoms listed in this article after going over a pothole, chances are that your rods are either worn out or comletely done.
How Do Broken Tire Rods Affect Wheel Alignment?
Tire rods are designed to keep your car going straight when you straighten the steering wheel. So, if your tire rods are toast, you are probably not going to be able to keep the car going straight. Therefore, this will cause havoc on your wheel alignment which can further make the drivetrain less aligned.
Improper wheel alignment can also be felt if your car is pulling to one side or the other, or if you sense weird shaking noises that can also be felt through the steering wheel. Because wheel alignment and tie rods serve similar purposes, whenever you experience problems with one, you are likely to experience problems with the other.
Do Broken Tire Rods Make Your Steering Less Responsive?
Yes, they do. Broken tire rods affect a car’s steering in many different ways, all of which are negative. First of all, your steering isn’t going to feel as cohesive as it usually does which means that it will sometimes feel heavier than at other times. The feeling of “looseness” can severely downgrade your overall driving experience.
Broken tire rods also affect how sensitive your steering wheel is which means that the steering wheel will not always rotate the tires in a balanced and predictable way. Unresponsive steering is likely the most common symptom of tire rod issues which means that you should inspect your rods immediately if you come across any irregularities in the steering responsiveness department.
Do Broken Tire Rods Cause Uneven Tire Wear?
Uneven tire wear can be caused by numerous different problems, but it all comes down to how your tires interact with the road. For starters, if your tires are wearing unevenly, it means that your tires aren’t properly aligned with the road surface. One part of the tire endures more stress than the other which is why that side of the tire experiences more wear.
Because tire rods directly affect steering responsiveness, alignment, and tire balance, you are most definitely going to notice uneven tire wear if your rods are faulty for a while. Faulty tire rods cause alignment issues while alignment issues cause uneven tire wear, as simple as that.
Why Is My Car Shaking And Emitting Clunking Noises?
There are a bunch of potential reasons why a car shakes or clunks, but if both of these can be felt at the same time, you are likely looking at a drivetrain/suspension issue of some sort. However, if you sense the car shaking through the steering wheel and if that shaking can be felt the most while turning at low speeds, chances are that your tire rods are broken.
When tire rods start wearing, they will also start clunking. After a while, the clunking noises are going to cause vibrations because the rods start rattling around. Subsequently, dirt and debris are going to enter the lubricated joints and cause grinding sensations which can’t go unnoticed.
Can I Drive A Car With A Broken Tire Rod?
It depends on a few different factors. For starters, if you want to repair a broken tire rod (if that is even possible), you shouldn’t drive with a broken tire rod any minute longer than absolutely necessary. If you do, you are just worsening the issue which means that every additional mile you do typically means less chance of successfully repairing the broken rod.
On the other hand, if you don’t care about repairing the rod and you only plan on replacing it, you can drive with a WORN (not broken) tire rod, but be sure to do so slowly and stay clear of highways. If a tire rod fails completely and separates itself from its housing, you are going to lose steering control completely and that is not something you want to experience on a highway.
You also need to keep in mind that you will need to be towed if the rod completely fails. No matter how you look at it, it is never a good idea to drive with a broken tire rod as complete tire rod failure means no steering at all. A worn-our tire rod can still be driven safely and confidently, but the reality is that you never know for certain when it is going to fail.
What Are The Differences Between Ball Joints And Tie Rods?
Tie rods and ball joints are both located in the same place, just behind the wheel in the suspension and steering system sections. The car’s steering system spans across the width of the car while a car’s suspension system is limited to the insides of each individual wheel. This means that these systems are technically independent, but they are interconnected in certain areas.
Tie rods and ball joints are connected by a component called “the spindle”. Ball joints hold the spindle in place both from top and bottom while tie rods control spindle pivotal movement which allows steering input. Ball joints are technically part of the car’s suspension while tie rods are part of a car’s steering system.
Ball joints provide a sturdy pivotal point around which a tire can safely pivot whenever the steering system is being turned left or right and whenever the control arms go up and down. On the other hand, the spindle is connected to the car’s steering rack via a tire rod.
In order for tire rods to even be able to do their job, ball joints need to be able to support the car’s weight and let the car steer left or right. As such, these two systems are technically separate and do not belong to the same system, but they do affect each other quite a bit.
Can I Replace Tie Rods Myself?
It depends on if the rod in question is the inner or the outer one. You can take your car to places like Autozone where they will help you inspect the rods for damage, but will let you repair/replace the outer rod yourself. On the other hand, an inner tie rod replacement is a bit more difficult which means that you better take your car to someone with more experience.
A tire rod repair cost is likely going to set you back anywhere between $10 to $50 depending on the severity of the issue and how/where you repair it. Sometimes your tire rod can be damaged a lot, and it does not make sense to repair it as the repair costs can easily outweigh replacement costs.
Either way, be sure to pay close attention to all the symptoms listed in this article while also not driving the car with a severely worn or completely broken tire rod. If you do that, you are risking losing complete steering control.