What is a tire rod?
There are different systems that go into your car so that it can function efficiently on the road. Perhaps one of the most common systems we are aware of is the steering system. This system helps your car turn the power generated from the engine into different directions depending on your desired destination.
Tire rods help maneuver your car [Photo: Trail Forged]
In the steering system, there is an assembly called the rack and pinion which translates the rotational motion from your steering wheel into linear motion. As such, the rack and pinion assembly is responsible for turning your car to the left or right so proper use of the steering wheel is important.
And part of the assembly, there are what we call the tire rods. This component helps turn the wheels in the desired direction as it connects the steering rack to the wheels. As you register more mileages, tire rods tend to wear out just like most automotive parts.
Fill your steering fluid for easy steering
With that being said, we have listed down signs that your car’s tire rods are already due to replacement. We have also listed down a few steps that you can do to replace these components so you can do it in the comfort of your home.
3 symptoms for tire rod replacement
Symptom #1: Difficulty in steering
Since tire rods are essential in connecting your wheels to the steering assembly, you will experience difficulty when they are starting to show faults. This is where the term ‘unresponsive steering’ comes to play. You will notice that steering the vehicle is more challenging causing you to turn the steering wheel more with less turning radius.
Hard steering is a good indication of a faulty tire rod
A faulty tire rod will also cause your steering wheel to vibrate once you are on the move. A shaking or vibrating steering wheel is a good indication that you need to replace your tire rods. However, it could also mean that the assembly has loose tire rods.
There could be different factors that will cause your steering more difficult. It could also happen if your car is low on power steering fluid or the power steering pump is just faulty. As such, consult your mechanic regarding the matter to know if the root of the problem is your tire rod.
>>> Related: What is hand over hand steering?
Symptom #2: Noisy steering
You can instantly assess this symptom as this is unusual for well-maintained vehicles. A strong indication that you need to replace your tire rods is when you start hearing high-pitched sounds, especially during low-speed turning situations. This simply means that your tire rod is already worn out and is due for replacement.
Any type of sound means something should be checked
What you can do is to observe where the sounds come from. If you are driving in a straight line then there are squealing sounds, the problem may be with your suspension. However, if you are turning then it makes a sound, then you may have faulty tire rods. Both components can also be faulty at the same time so it is a good idea that you know your car from top to bottom.
Symptom #3: Uneven tire wear
This sign takes time as tires don’t wear easily. However, if you notice that your tire is more worn than the other, then you may have worn tire rods. With faulty tire rods, the ideal weight distribution on wheels is derailed causing one tire to take more load than the other.
Inspect your tires for wears
As a result, it wears out faster. But again, uneven tire wear isn’t caused by worn tire rods alone. Another component that can cause this setback is if you have a faulty suspension. You should have your car inspected first before heading down to an auto shop to buy tire rods.
Replacing tire rods
Once you have figured out that you have worn-out tire rods, then you can start replacing them by yourself. Do note that there are two parts in a tire rod, namely inner and outer. The inner tire rod requires special tools and expertise to accomplish so we recommend that you bring your car to your trusted local automotive shop if you will replace this.
Today, we will be focusing on the outer tire rod. You can do this in less than 20 minutes once you get familiar with the process. Tire rods are relatively affordable so you won’t have to worry about car tie rods replacement cost. What you need to get started are wrenches, sockets, a rubber mallet, and a long nose plier. That said, here are few steps you can do to replace your outer tire rod.
- Start by loosening the nut between the outer and inner tire rod. Make sure to not loosen it too much so you won’t lose your alignment. That nut is responsible for keeping your tires aligned.
- Next is to remove the castle nut located below the outer tire rod boot. It is secured with a cotter pin to help the castle nut stay in place whenever there are vibrations as you drive.
- Once the castle nut is out, you can use a rubber mallet to hit the outer tire rod from below. It is recommended that you screw the castle nut the other way around so you can more surface to hit.
- Remove the outer tire rod from the assembly and replace it with a new one. Leave a small space between the new outer tire rod and the nut so you can tighten it for later.
- Connect the thread from the new outer tire rod to the wheel assembly and secure it using a castle nut and a cotter pin. Tighten the nut against the new outer tire rod to avoid it getting loose when vibrations occur. Make sure that the nut is in the same thread as before so you can have the same alignment. Don’t worry if it’s off by a few threads, your steering will still work completely fine.
- You can increase the grease using a grease gun. However, this is only optional as some new outer tire rods are already greased.
Car Tire Rod: FAQs
Q: What is a tire rod in a car?
A tire rod is part of a rack and pinion steering assembly that connects the assembly to the wheels.
Q: How long do tire rods last?
It depends on the road condition and bumps you encounter. Some last for 150,000 kilometers, while some replace their tire rods every year.
Q: What are the different parts of the tire rod?
Tire rods are mainly composed of two parts, namely the inner and outer.
Q: Is steering part of suspension?
No, they are two different systems. The suspension is used for supporting the weight of the car, while steering is used to maneuver the car.
Q: How much is a tire rod in the Philippines?
You can get a tire rod in the Philippines for Php 600. Some are priced higher depending on the build quality.
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