Tie Rod End Looseness
Tie rod ends attach the steering rack or parallelogram steering linkage system to the wheels of a vehicle. Their ball studs are designed similar to ball joints and allow for smooth rotating action. The inner tie rods are located towards the center of the vehicle, and the outer tie rods are by the wheel.
Tie rods get loose, causing tire wear and vehicle wander. Most technicians check a wheel for looseness instinctively; it's a good habit. Check for loose tie rods by grasping the tire at its three and nine o'clock positions and rocking it back and forth. It should be tight.
Worn tie rods produce noise, tire wear, and a loose feeling steering. The ball and stud have worn, and the slack and looseness are affecting its performance. This looseness can occur in either the inner or the outer tie rod ends. It results in vehicle wander and difficulty traveling in a straight line.