How Long Can You Drive on a Bad Tie Rod?

The components of the suspension system of a car can wear off if you have been operating it for a long time. The tie rods of the car are one of those components that are easily damaged. Whenever you travel on rocky and uneven roads, the tie rods get subjected to great stress and strain.

Thus, the tie rods get bad and can cause damage to the suspension system. But, it is difficult to get your tie rod replaced every other day. Therefore, in this article, I will tell you how long you can drive on a bad tie rod.

I will also take you through a step-by-step guide on how to replace a bad tie rod yourself. This will also save you a lot of money. So, without any further ado, let’s begin with our article.

4 significant Purposes of A Tie Rod: Things You Should Know

4 significant Purposes of A Tie Rod: Things You Should Know

A tie rod is one of the principal components of a car’s suspension system. It plays a key role in controlling the vehicle’s movements. It connects the steering wheel with the wheels of the car. Thus, it allows the driver to have control over the direction of the wheels.

The following are the essential purposes of the tie rods in the car:

1. Wheel Positioning:

A tie rod maintains the alignment and the correct position of the wheels. It connects both of the front wheels together, facilitating the functioning of the steering.

A tie rod keeps the front wheels in place despite the continuous bumps and jolts. Thus, this hidden component of the suspension system provides a safe and stable ride.

2. Motion of The Steering Wheel:

The tie rods of the suspension system are linked to the steering. Thus, the motion and movement of the steering wheel are transmitted to the wheels through the tie rods.

The cue of the movement of the steering wheel first reaches the inner tie rod. Then, the inner tie rod transmits the motion to the outer tie rod.

3. Direction Maneuvering:

A car’s outer and inner tie rods join the steering rack of the suspension system with the knuckle. Thus, they are involved in changing the direction of the car.

The rotary motion of the steering wheel is transmitted to the wheels through the tie rods. In this way, tie rods help in turning the car towards the left and right.

4. Stability and Control:

The tie rod offers the necessary stability and control when driving because it keeps the wheels oriented in the right position.

This stability enables the driver to handle the vehicle properly. The tie rods equally spread the weight of the car among the four wheels. This gives a car balance and steadiness even on bumpy roads.

How Long Can You Drive on a Bad Tie Rod?

Ideal driving distances for a car with a broken or worn tie rod are 10 to 15 miles. However, this range also depends on several other variables. Thus, it is impossible to precisely determine how long you can drive with a damaged tie rod.

Factors Affecting the Range:

1. Degree of Damage:

 The degree of damage also determines how long a car can function with a bad tie rod. If the tie rod of your car is just minimally damaged, you can keep driving for quite some time.

But if the tie rod has been severely damaged, driving with it will be extremely hazardous and threatening. This is because a severely damaged tie rod is weak and can fail entirely in the middle of the road.

2. Conditions of The Road:

It also depends on the road you are driving on. If the road is highly uneven and full of potholes, there is a possibility that your suspension system will malfunction due to the damaged tie rod.

Your car will continue to run for a relatively long period of time if you are traveling on a smooth route free of jolts and bumps.

3. Driving Habits:

Driving habits are another element that impacts the range of a car with a faulty tie rod. With a worn-out tie rod, you won’t get very far if you drive recklessly.

Your tie rod will need to be replaced and fixed right away. But if you drive slowly and carefully, your car will remain functional even with a bad tie rod for a long period of time.

Is It Even Safe To Drive on a Bad Tie Rod?

Is It Even Safe To Drive on a Bad Tie Rod?

You can drive your car with a damaged or worn-down tie rod. But it is not safe and can put your life at stake. It’s because a bad tie rod can lead to a number of suspension system issues. It is an integral part of the suspension system, providing the car with alignment, stability, and secure handling.

It causes the steering knuckles, which then move the wheels, to move when the steering wheel is turned. This signifies that the tie rod manages the movements of the front wheels.

Driving with broken tie rods can also harm and impair the car’s steering wheel. This will also cause damage to the suspension system.

Therefore, the first course of action when a tie rod breaks should be to fix it as soon as possible.  If your damaged tie rod cannot be fixed for some reason, you should drive cautiously while heeding the advice we’ve given above. With the help of these suggestions, you can drive your car for a very long time, even if the tie rod is damaged.

How To Replace a Bad Tie Rod Yourself?

The approximate lifespan of a car’s inner and outer tie rods is typically not precise. A tie rod will only need to be replaced when it begins to deteriorate and become damaged.

By following a few straightforward steps and instructions, you can quickly replace a damaged tie rod yourself. The procedure does not require any expertise or in-depth mechanical knowledge.

In this section, we will take you through the steps you must follow to replace a damaged tie rod yourself.

Required Tools:

First, you will need the appropriate tools to conduct the examination and replacement operation.

The right tool will not just make the process effortless and seamless for you but will also make it safe. Following is the list of tools that you will require to perform the replacement of tie rods.

  • A Functional Socket Set
  • Jack and Jack Stand
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Tie rod puller
  • Gloves
  • Safety Wheel Chocks

8 Easy Steps To Replace A Bad Tie Rod:

Following is the step-by-step guide you will need to follow to change a bad tie rod.

Step 1. Prepare the Vehicle:

To carry out your work with ease, your car should be parked on a level, dry surface. Make sure that your vehicle is turned off.

Your back tires should have safety wheel chocks in front of them. Place all the necessary tools together so you can easily access them. You can also wear gloves to protect your hands from dirt and scratches.

Step 2. Lift Up The Car:

Jack up your car from the front and place a jack stand underneath it to keep it raised. The jack stands and wheel chocks will keep your car stable and firm in the lifted position.

  • First, loosen up the front wheels by removing the lug nuts.
  • Once the lug nuts are removed, the wheels can be easily removed from the wheelbase.
  • In this way, you will have easy access to the car’s tie rods.

Step 3. Locate the Tie Rods:

After the wheels are taken off, you can examine the vehicle’s suspension system.

First, you will have to locate the steering knuckle. It is right behind the tire. The steering knuckle has the outer tie rod attached to it with a castle nut and a cotter. This keeps the outer tier rod in place and prevents it from loosening. 

Step 4. Detach the Ends of the Tie Rod:

First, you must loosen the pinch nut on the inner tie rod shaft. The use of a wrench is necessary for this step. Avoid removing the pinch nut entirely because doing so will cause the alignment to be lost.

Once the pinch nut is loosened, remove the cotter pin with the help of needle nose pliers. Now, unscrew the castle nut that secures the outer tie rod with the steering knuckle.

If the nut has become rusted, it will be difficult to twist and unscrew it. For this, you will have to lubricate the nut linkage with penetrating oil.

Step 5. Remove the Tie Rod:

You can now take out every bolt and nut holding the outer tie rod to the steering knuckle. This step will require you to use a tie rod puller and a hammer. Slide the tie rod puller or under the ball joint of the outer tie rod.

Now, blow the hammer on the tie rod from the bottom. Keep hammering until the tie rod is dislodged from the bore of the steering knuckle. Now, twist the tie rod to remove it from the pinch nut.

Step 6. Instal the New Tie Rod:

The length of the new tie rod should exactly match that of the previous tie rod. This will ensure the perfect adjustment of the tie rod and alignment of the car.

Simply attach the new tie rod to the inner tie rod shaft from where it was previously twisted out. The same number of rotations as it took to initially separate the tie rod should be used to thread it. Now, twist the pinch nut back to its original position.

Step 7. Secure the New Tie Rod Ends:

Slide the rubber boot shaft back into the steering knuckle’s hole. Adjust the alignment of the knuckle and the tie rod by moving them accordingly. Now, screw the castle nut on the shaft of the tie rod.

Tighten it up properly with the help of a wrench. This will securely attach the new tie rod to the steering knuckle. After this step, line up the bore of the castle nut and the tie rod shaft. Insert the cotter pin and tightly twist it.

Step 8. Put Back the Wheels:

The wheels should be put back in place, and lug nuts should be used to secure them. Tighten the lug nuts properly to the torque given in your car’s manual. Carefully remove the jack stand to lower your car.

5 Common Signs of a Faulty Tie Rod: lets’ Discuss in Details

5 Common Signs of a Faulty Tie Rod: lets’ Discuss in Details

The inner and outer tie rods play an important role in ensuring a stable and secure life. Knowing this, it is important to identify and solve the fault with the tie rod immediately.

The faults of a bad tie wire can be easily identified if you experience the following symptoms while driving. Quickly fixing any problems related to the tie rod will keep you safe from potential life hazards on the road.

1. Knocking Noises and Excessive Shaking:

When the tie rod of a vehicle goes bad, the components of the suspension system begin to loosen up. The steering wheel shakes and vibrates abnormally as a result of this. The rubber boot splits as a result of the rattling of the worn-out or damaged tie rod.

As a result, the protective lubricant leaks out and dirt starts to accumulate in the joint. When the steering wheel is turned, this accumulated dirt generates a grinding impression. You will also hear sharp knocking and clunking noises while steering the vehicle.

2. Irregular Alignment of the Vehicle:

Tie rods are responsible for retaining a car’s regular alignment and balance. When a tie rod on a vehicle wears out, the steering and alignment of the car get affected. This results in the car stooping or tilting slightly to one side.

Due to this uneven alignment, the driver must constantly adjust the steering to keep the car straight. This can be dangerous and exhausting because the vehicle becomes difficult to handle.

3. Uneven Tire Wear:

The car’s irregular alignment is also directly related to uneven tire wear. The weight of a car is equally distributed among the four wheels. When the weight is perfectly balanced, the tires wear out evenly.

But when the tie rod gets damaged, it causes the alignment to suffer and the wheels to roll at lopsided angles. The tire tread wears out unevenly as a result. This symptom of a faulty tie rod can be easily identified visually.

4. Slacking and Unresponsive Steering:

The bad inner and outer tie rods also cause the steering wheel to loosen up and rotate excessively. This causes the car to become unbalanced and requires constant regulation of the steering wheel.

Bad tie rods can also lead to an unresponsive steering wheel. With the unresponsive steering wheel, it will be difficult to keep the vehicle in a straight line. This degenerated performance can be extremely dangerous on the roads.

5. Losing Wheels When Jack Up:

The condition and quality of a tie rod can also be inspected by jacking up the vehicle. It is an on-the-go test that helps check whether the tie rod has worn out.

For this test, the front of the car is supposed to be elevated with a jack. Hold the front tire at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock points. Then shake the tire from side to side. If a knocking sound is produced, your tie rod has gone bad.

Here is how you can inspect the condition of the inner and outer tie rods of your car:

Tips To Drive Longer On a Bad Tie Rod:

Tips To Drive Longer On a Bad Tie Rod:

When the tie rods of a vehicle wear out, its normal performance is compromised. If you do not have your broken tie rod fixed right away, it will eventually break. down the suspension system of the car. However, we have some advice to help you continue driving despite a broken tie rod.

  • If you know that the tie rod of your car has gone bad, you should drive slowly on the roads. This will ensure that the rubber boot of the tie rod does not tear apart due to sudden bumps and jolts.
  • Driving at low and optimal speeds will allow you to travel great distances even if your car’s tie rods have failed. Avoid suddenly accelerating your car, as it will cause it to wobble and become imbalanced.
  • Avoid making abrupt maneuvers and turns since they will stress the tie rod’s joints and worsen the wreckage already done.

Warning! It’s also crucial to be aware that operating a vehicle with a damaged tie rod puts your life and safety in serious danger. It can also damage the functionality and components of your car. Therefore, any auto malfunctions must be fixed right away.


Can a bad tie rod fall off?

No, a damaged tie rod will never come off of the vehicle. The reason for this is that various nuts are used to fasten tie rods to the wheels and steering knuckles firmly. But a bad tie rod can greatly affect the normal functioning of your car on the road.

How do I check for bad tie rods? A bad tie rod can be easily identified by different signs. The tie rod in your car has worn out if your steering wheel shakes excessively and makes knocking noises when you’re moving. In the event of a bad tie rod, you will also experience an unresponsive steering wheel.