Tie rods enable a vehicle’s wheels to turn in response to the steering wheel by pushing or pulling the wheel. Considered part of the steering system, they connect the steering rack to the knuckle on front wheels in cars. On heavy trucks, such as tractors and mining equipment, they are part of the axle.
These linkages are comprised of a metal sleeve with rod ends, ball joints or spherical plain bearings on either end. The ends are attached by welding, threading or crimping. Tie rods vary in length from x on an ATV or SSV to up to five feet for agriculture machines.
Referred to as inner and outer tie rods, the inner connects to a bearing housing and is covered by a seal to keep out containments. The outer tie rod is generally shorter than the inner and connects to the wheel assembly with a ball joint.
Can a vehicle be driven with a broken or worn tie rod?
If a tie rod is broken, the driver will not be able to steer the vehicle, so it is not possible to operate a vehicle with a broken tie rod. Worn tie rods will still function, but not accurately. Driving will be impaired due to imprecise steering and can lead to an accident.
What are symptoms of faulty tie rods?
The following indicators may be symptoms of faulty tie rods:
What causes tie rod failure?
What materials are used to make a tie rod?
Steel is one of the most important elements when making a tie rod. Quality steel means the difference between a long lasting linkage and one that succumbs to the pressures under a load.
The material used on inner and outer tie rod components is also important. Tie rods are shipped as an assembly, so it is important to work with a manufacturer who can accurately manufacture and assemble the entire tie rod to your specifications.
What questions should OEMs ask manufacturers about tie rod steel?