Most modern vehicles use a steering system called “rack and pinion”, which incorporates linkage and tie rod ends to attach the steering column to the wheels. Tie rods are attached at both ends of the steering rack and as the pinion moves the slotted gear in the steering rack, they push and pull on the front wheels as the steering wheel is turned. Tie rod ends offer an important function to a vehicle’s steering and therefore the cars overall safety.

But how long do tie rod ends usually last?

Like most automotive parts, tie rod ends don’t simply go bad because they were manufactured on a specific date and their life has expired. They go bad because of normal wear and tear. Tie rod ends can last for years and some car owners may never have to replace them, but their longevity can be affected by driving conditions. Driving obstacles like potholes, poor road conditions or even minor accidents can cause them to wear out. The other thing that can happen with the steering is that the rack and pinion will start to leak causing hard steering conditions.

The other front-end components such as the shocks are also affected by wear and tear due to driving conditions. They will loose their ability to hold the tires firmly on the road causing uneven tire wear.

If your vehicle pulls to one side when driving or braking, or the steering just feels loose, it’s possible that the tie rod ends may be the cause. You may als0 hear a knocking noise when turning the wheels hard one way or the other.

If your vehicle has encountered any extreme road conditions or unusual contact with the front wheels, like striking a curb, it would be a good idea to have the front end inspected.

There are a few simple checks that our technicians can do to inspect the front end for you if you encounter any issues.

Give Pete’s Auto Repair a call at 360-380-2277 so we can help you keep your vehicle driving safely.

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