Tie Rod Ends
Tie rod ends attach the steering rack or parallelogram steering linkage system to the steering arm of a vehicle. They’re designed similar to ball joints and allow for up and down movement as well as rotating action. The inner tie rod is near the center of the vehicle and the outer tie rod is located by the wheel attached to the steering arm.
Tie rod sleeves are used to adjust the toe on parallelogram type steering systems. They’re located between the inner and outer tie rod ends. Apply a little penetrating oil to the clamps and adjusting sleeve before loosening and use a special rotating tool to rotate the sleeve without damage.
Worn tie rods produce noise, tire wear and loose steering. This is because the ball and stud have worn and slack and looseness is affecting its performance. This looseness can affect either the inner or the outer tie rod ends. This results in vehicle wander and constant correction of the wheel to keep the vehicle in a straight line.
Check the tie rods by grasping the tire at the three and nine o’clock positions and rocking the tire back and forth. If possible, safely raise the lower control arms instead of the frame with the hydraulic lift on an alignment rack.