How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Bad
How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Bad

Hey guys, ChrisFix here, today I am going
to show you how to tell if your tie rods have gone bad A bad tie rod can cause uneven tire
wear and if it is really bad, it can even disconnect while you are driving, and that
is just a bad situation. Besides tire wear, bad tie rods can cause a clunky feel when
you first turn your steering wheel. It can also squeak when when you use the steering wheel but that can also be a ball joint, so you
have to go and check it out. If you have any
of these symptoms just jack up the front
of the car and I will show you how to test it. With both tires off the ground what you are going to want to do is put your hands at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the wheel. With your hands in those positions, move them back and forth and see if there is any play in the wheel. You will feel a clicking or a giving movement And that movement could indicate a bad tie rod. If you think there is some play or you just want to check further, you can take the tire off and inspect the tie rod itself. There are two parts to your tie rods Your inner tie rod, and your outer tie rod. Inspect the inner tie rod visually by looking at the boot and seeing if there are any leaks. I dont see any leaks here… The boot is still intact. There are no holes or rips So that looks good. Now for the outer tie rod, you can see here already, There is a nice big gash on my tie rod boot. and this just happens over time. The boot cracks and goes bad. And inside you can see the grittiness. And that grittiness is not good. That is sand and road grime that gets kicked up and and goes in here… So this is bad. If you catch a boot that was just recently torn sometimes these boots are replaceable. So you can just take the boot off and put a new one on. And then you save yourself a lot of money You dont have to do anything special, you dont have to get an alignment. But if the boot has been ripped for a while and you see grit in there then you are going to have to replace the whole tie rod end. If your boot is good, then what you should do is, you take the tie rod and you try to move it left and right move it, in and out if there is any unwanted movement or it clicks and you can easily move the tie rod from side to side then it needs to be replaced. now this is a new tie rod end and this is what it should look like. Some tie rod ends have a grease fitting and that is what you want if you need to purchase a new one and if you have a grease fitting always grease this every time you do an oil change. It will force the old grease out which carries all of the grit and sand. so this will last a lot longer. but upon visual inspection, you can see there are no tares or gashes on the rubber that covers the inner tie rod end. Also, there is no unwanted movement like I was talking about before. Obviously this is brand new, but I need to give you an example to contrast the bad tie rod now to test the tie rod even more you can take it out and you can see further that this boot is badly ripped and the grease is contaminated with grit. The other thing is you can turn this with your hand and it feels gritty and clunky. Which is not good, you want this to be smooth So the outer tie rod is bad. Now to test the inner tie rod, all you do is move this in and out and you want to feel for any clicking if it clicks then the inner tie rod is bad. Clicking indicates that the ball joint on the inner tie rod is worn out. and it is allowing movement which isnt good. You dont want any movement in there! This one is completely solid, which is good. The other test you can do is move the tie rod around like this and make sure there is no gritty feeling and no grinding. It is fine if the tie rod is easy to move around but it is bad if it move way too easily and feels way too loose. This is relatively easy to move but I still feel some resistance, so that means this is still good. So the outer tie rod is bad but the inner tie rod is good. But that is fine because the outer tie rod is fixed easily. and you can replace this in 10 minutes. with no special tools That video will be up on the screen along with other videos, click the screen or find the link to those videos in the description below. if this video was helpful, if this video was helpful, give it a “thumbs up” also consider subscribing. I publish “how to” videos weekly and I answer all of your questions and comments check out the ChrisFix Facebook and Twitter pages with the link in the description. If you check out your tie rod and have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will try to help you out.

100 thoughts on “How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Bad”

  1. Jonathan Pape says:

    This sound just started on my 2003 Toyota Solara. I’m thinking it could be busted swaybar links due to the fact that the last time I went to the shop they told me my rear swaybar links were busted but it never made a noise. I’m thinking it could also be subframe bushings or shock mounts. Please help!

  2. Sadegh Hp says:

    Can you make a video for sqeaking suspension? What should be done to be fixed?

  3. Patrick Mackinder says:

    Fist video I seen you without gloves haha

  4. R C Nelson says:

    Top notch.

  5. William Colbert says:

    Hi, sir. Greatly appreciate the video. I had a question about a symptom that wasn't covered in this particular video: When driving your vehicle, is shaking a symptom of a bad tie rod or control arm? When driving my GMC Acadia, I noticed that there was a shaking in the tires around 65-7- MPH. But, that shaking went away at around 80+MPH. Is this possibly related to the tie rods, or is it something completely different?

  6. SuperSeriousReviews says:

    Chrisfix has taught me so much. Thank you, 1,000,000 times better than a Haynes manual.

  7. D Hall says:

    Hey Chris. If an inner tie rod is bad , will it make a clunk noise while turning and going over bumps?

  8. Felix Potvin says:

    Inspect the inner tie rods for leaks. How does an inner tie rod leak?

  9. roadkill serna says:

    Holy shit look at that rust in between in the rotor disks

  10. meTimetraveler says:

    you can get the inner/ outer tie rods for $15 at rock auto. the inner tie rod tool at HFT for about $28 w/ a 20% off coupon

  11. Jonathan Escalante says:

    Been lookin for a guy like you lol

  12. AB4DDONxPOCOYO says:

    Awesome video great description on what to do .

  13. Terrance Mclean says:

    How long does it take to replace the tire rod end

  14. All Boost says:

    I like it. You explained everything so well. Thank you.

  15. Alexey Varivoda says:

    Thanks. Good help material.

  16. Oso mayor says:

    hel me mi wheels are scraped on the tie rods….please help

  17. Demo 7241 says:

    Will you need a alignment after replacing ball joints and tie rods? Thanks and great video 👍

  18. Jeffrey Higgs says:

    Just wanna say very well made video. Answered questions I didn’t even know i had👍🏼

  19. String Cheese says:

    Chris i have a question I don’t know if this might be the issue but every single time I turn my wheels to the far left or right there’s a click when I’m all the way turned could it be the inner tire rod ?l

  20. Mickie Amann says:

    Can u get by with just fixing one side? & do u have to have an alignment adter changing just one side? Thanks

  21. Luis Montemayor says:

    I thought if the tire moves side to side that it was the bearing? Or not?

  22. Daniel Markum says:

    Hey Chris, I recently got in a small wreck going about 15mph on the front passenger side wheel. Now it shakes at slow and high speeds pretty bad. I got two new tires and had them balanced, still shakes. The steering wheel feels smooth but the front end shakes. Hope you can help!

  23. chosen729 says:

    Could a tie rod cause vibration when braking? All i fine online is its a rotor but when I took my truck in, I was told my rotors are fine

  24. cristian gonzalez says:

    Lmfao i checked my boot on the outer tie rod and half of it was gone, big oof
    Update: power steering rack is bad

  25. opinionatorX says:

    My 98 chrysler cirrus passenger side tie rod end popped off where the ball is housed leaving the bolt in connected with the ball at top. It's seems pretty seized on. Any advice on how to get it off?

  26. Rez says:

    Excellent video perfect explanation 👍

  27. Tom Yum says:

    My tie rod is faulty!!!!

  28. Larry Hartman says:

    Cool man

  29. Charlitos1988 says:

    to check tie rod movement "unwanted motion" does the car need to be UP?
    or even at ground level the unwanted motion is notorious ?

  30. Edward Yihua Shi says:

    Chris, if there are play in my steering wheel while the car is off does that also mean a bad tie rod? Bc my tie rods look fine

  31. missionnad1 says:

    Moog tie rods are ok ?

  32. DeductiveShane says:

    Will bad tye rod ends cause my entire car to shake. My car shakes between 60-80 mphonly while accelerating. As soon as i let off gas it stops. But my steering wheel shakes and well as my entire car. I hit a curb at 10 mph. I had my wheels checked. Nothing bent. Axle has been replaced. Struts replaced. Sway bars replaced. Rotors and brakes and calipers replaced. Im not sure why its shaking and i cant keep dumping money for no reason. Please help

  33. Paige Pryor says:

    What is the rub is hard as concrete ? Is that bad time to replace and what if a boot is leaky ?

  34. Andrew Hendrickson says:


  35. wvadam says:

    Chris you seem to have very bad luck with ball joint boots. You can see on this video the boots on the ball joints and tie rod ends do not have a metal spring retainer clamp and there is no bellow shape on the boot. These type of designs are doomed to fail fast. To top it off, the boot was made of rubber far too thick which actually makes it more susceptible to cracking because it cannot bend easily. Aside from that your videos are great and fun to watch. Keep up the good work.

  36. Uriel Salvatierra says:

    Hey chris, I have an issue with my 2015 civic not sure if it's when I turn the wheel or when I step on the brakes but I can hear a little clunk noise, only does it once in awhile. Steering fluid isnt empty though. Any advice or videos that can help.Thanks.

  37. Alexandar Hull-Richter says:

    I found a bad one by a different method a while ago. My car gave a loud clunking sound when I turned the steering wheel to the left while stopped. Upon investigating, I found that one tie rod end was literally breaking apart under stress. I couldn't find it in usual inspections though because no cracks had formed on the outside, the boot was completely intact, and it would only fail under load, ie, when I was actually trying to turn the wheels with the car's weight on them, and stopped.

    I now test my ball joints by this method: I stop the car, turn the engine off, turn the wheel 1/4 turn or more both ways listening for noise, then I bend over and gently turn the steering wheel back and forth while looking under the car at my front wheels. I'll look to see that I can visually see both front wheels turning when I move the edge of the steering wheel 1/2 inch or less. Ideally, the front wheels should visably move in response to even the smallest adjustments of the steering wheel, even with the car's weight on them.

    I also do the checks Chris shows.

  38. Scott Bumgardner says:

    With my vehicle off the ground I am able to turn wheel with my hands. Tire on passenger side wearing on outside and vehicle pulls hard to the right. Can you diagnose?

  39. Robert Dooley says:

    this is awesome

  40. whatfreedom7 says:

    I know someone who said their tie rod was bad so I told him how to check it before he bought one. He said it popped off so he popped it back on. Ookkkkk then.

  41. ok? says:

    Thank you for being straightforward and quick to the point!


    My first car was a 97 altima it turned super easily i thought. Then one day i decided to put it up and check the suspension. For months i was driving with a disconnected tie rod . It was completely out of place and to thw side hanging .

  43. Jason Garcia says:

    Thanks chris you helped me save tons of money doing my own work on my truck 💯 videos like this help alot …there is to many shady mechanics out there

  44. iloveyou1434ever says:

    That break disc lol u better freakin change that too

  45. Popa Stoppa says:

    Great video, : I'm just going to change inner & outer 💯

  46. Robert Davis says:

    Good video. I gonna check the rods. I like my Ranger. Thanx

  47. Levi Rojas says:

    Do NEW tie rods and upper control arms have play in them but not as much as a worn out one ? More of a stiffer feeling but can easily move it with my hand.

  48. boosted kid productions says:

    Yesterday I hit a curb going about 55mph it broke the cv axle and now my front wheel is bent inward what else did I brake

  49. tony f says:

    Hey chris i have an 03 jeep gcl 4.0. My tie rod has a hole in it from rust. Mechanic doesnt want to mes with it becuz of rust. How can i change the lower tie rod sleeve that i think causes the wobble

  50. Guy Perron says:

    Excellent !!!

  51. superbakedbizzle says:

    Thank you for this video. I was able to diagnose what was wrong with my suv.

  52. Carlos Torres says:

    Hey kris what if the tie rod is good but the tire still move sideways??

  53. NorCal tIm says:

    I had a question about CV half.shafts. If it has play if you push in and out is that bad?

  54. Alex Gaona says:

    a bad tierod can make my drivee tired to vibrate and shaking wheel

  55. Alex Gaona says:


  56. Vedran Sever says:

    Mine was worn out, I had vibrating noise only when slighty turning right at 100-110 kmh. When driving straight, turning left or more to the right, nothing.. Only when turning right at small angle. Bought new, replaced, and noise is gone

  57. Gail Mork says:

    I’m ready to call my mechanic but wanted to see for myself what’s up. Wish I took auto mechanics in HS

  58. Irving Guerrero says:

    Well made video. Thanks

  59. E says:

    What if its just the plastic part thats ripped a little ?

  60. Chase says:

    What if there is gewy residue all over the shaft of the tie rod end?

  61. Telo Rino says:

    Very good video!! Hey guys would bad tie rods would make my steering wheel shake or not be steady but only when am going 45-55 mph ? Anyone out there would know i took to 2 different mechanics and they said everything looks good

  62. duster43 says:

    Good job yo ..I got it

  63. Samuel Mikuletic-Hicks says:

    Will a bad left front tie rod cause scraping to the inner side of the tire? I just had to replace the left front tire on my 2004 Toyota Corolla. There was a a circumference line scraped around the inner side of the tire. Thanks for any help.

  64. daniel says:

    Will this cause steering wheel vibration? Just got tires balanced and tie rod had a little play on passenger side. Cant find anything that could be causing the vibrations /shaking

  65. Mike Laurry says:

    5.1million subscribers.. absolutely no suprise there…

  66. Vile Bird says:


  67. Stephanie Barrett says:

    And if u are a female repair shops make the rod issues sound like a BIG deal! Now I know. I can do that myself & save a lot of money! Thanks!

  68. Paulo Bondoc says:

    Best tutorial on youtube! Thank you sir i had to subscribe!.

  69. King Sir says:

    I need to figure out why my steering wheel yanks occasionally to the left when driving. It's not the brakes

  70. Alex Brock says:

    Thanks Chris another great video

  71. K. W. says:

    thanks for this. I can't do this repair myself, but I really appreciate the insight, info and explanation of what to look for, so I can speak somewhat knowledgeably at the dealer when they try to hose me. LOL I think it might be my tie rod, 2015 Sonata has less than 25K miles.

  72. Darren Pierce says:

    Excellent commentary . Well explained always.

  73. hogan0407 says:

    Hey Chris! As a non mechanical person I really enjoy your videos. Very helpful. Advice please. I have a 2007 Chevy HHR that the front ends starts to shimmy or shake around 55 MPH. What is the likely cause of this. And is this a shade tree mechanic can do? Thanks. Keep up the great videos!

  74. Jared Hopkins says:

    Chris, I have a 2005 Pacifica that is pulling to the right when accelerating ( specifically at about 35mph). I have replaced the pads, rotors, and calipers. This fixed the pull when stopping but didn't get rid of the pull when accelerating. I found my engine mounts were bad and replaced them. Still pulls when accelerating. Suggestions? I will look at the tie rods today.

  75. benjaminpizza vargas says:

    Will a bad tie rod cause the front wheels to shake (like a little shaking) when traveling down the road 50+ mph??

  76. Tommy Nguyen says:


  77. 986C says:

    Mine bends a little to the left… do you think it’s ok?

  78. tariq altabrawi says:

    Good job bro

  79. David Warhound says:

    Well they say the tools free but you have to put down $70 to use it and get the money back when you return it

  80. JASON BARRERA says:

    My front brakes clack and don’t grip when I press the brakes as I’m turning the wheel . It also sounds like the whole front wheels are squeaky , like the frame sounds squeaky . Help? Suggestions of what it could be? That way I continue my research and I’ll have an idea before a mechanic checks it out

  81. David Weum says:

    I have a 1998 Honda Civic Coup DX. My left rear brakes make a "swooshing " sound upon moving INITIALLY and sometimes while braking. Can you tell me what that is? Removed brake drums. Appear good.

  82. TheFutboljunky says:

    When my tye rods are bad I take them to a Tyrod Taylor…

  83. Juan Alvarez says:

    Yep l have Mustang and sound make like this

  84. Mico Berta says:

    If you visually inspect an outer tie rod on a vehicle like yours that's in the junk yard, and it looks okay, is it advisable to take it for your own car?

  85. Dream_Chaser 901 says:

    I have a bent outer tie rod it’s making my car go one way and steering wheel turns on it’s on..

  86. Tushar sagar says:

    Tumari maa ki jau

  87. Vikash Lodie says:

    Make a cv joint replacement video

  88. Weanu Haske says:

    My honda city make sound on Rt tyre on tyre movement ..sound like brrrr…then when the car on the road no sound at all

  89. Weanu Haske says:

    great chanel ..keep up the good work

  90. Bill Brock says:

    I know an easier way ASK A FUCKING MECHANIC

  91. Abdurrahman Ali says:

    tusen takk kjære Chris 👍👍👏👏👏

  92. Najib Karma says:


  93. Raymond Richardson says:

    Great as always

  94. Viscious Hattermaid says:

    My lower ball joint replacement has a little silver bolt that says 10.9 on it, is that for a grease fitting? If so what size zerk do I need?

  95. Rafael Montano says:

    Great clear video thumbs up high to the sky

  96. The List says:

    If you put you hands at the 12 and 6 o clock position and shake the wheel you can check your wheel bearing and ball joints for wear or looseness.

  97. HoneyBoo says:

    What if I turn my wheel and there is a odd noise. Sounds like a pulling sound. Someone said it's the plastic thing from my tire looks like my tires moved a lil

  98. Isaiah G. Richards says:

    I have a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix Gt2. On the driver side, when I turn the steering wheel, it makes a metal on metal clicking noise. Any ideas?

  99. Niomi Mcclure says:

    hey, i have a 1996 gmc suburban and when i turn left, instead of it coming back itself, i have to pull it back straight with the wheel.. can you tell me what this could be? thanks

  100. Toni K and Daisy too says:

    Hi. Would a bad tie rod allow one tire to be straight and the other to be rotating to the side?

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