You may be familiar with car parts like brake pads, shoes, tires, and batteries, but you may not have heard of tie rods. Tie rods are vital steering system components that connect the steering rack to the steering knuckle, which invariably makes the wheels turn as the driver steers the steering wheel.
The tie rod is susceptible to wear under normal use. This means it can fail over time. As these components go bad, you may ask – how many tie rods does a car have to know how many to buy and make a proper budget for the repair.
Here, we’ll discuss the cost of replacing tie rods, how many tie rods we have on a car, and the symptoms of corrupt tie rods. But first, what is a tie rod in a car, and what does it do?
Tie Rods and Their Function
Tie rods are essential parts of a vehicle’s steering mechanism. It comprises the outer and inner parts. It connects the steering rack and pinion or steering gearbox to the knuckles, which connect to the wheels.
The rack pinion also connects to the steering wheel inside the cabin. So, when you turn the steering wheel, it turns the rack pinion, which transmits its movement to the tie rods. In turn, this forces the wheels to move in the desired direction. Therefore, without the tie rods, you cannot control the tires from the steering wheel.
The outer tie rod connects to the inner tie rod through adjustable sleeves. This makes the tie rod length adjustable. The tie rod adjustment is necessary for checking and setting the correct steering adjustment angles.
However, they are prone to wear due to the stress they absorb. As they wear out, it’ll compromise the vehicle handling. Firstly, this steering and suspension system component will become loose and play as you drive. As the damage intensifies, the play will become apparent, invariably compromising the vehicle handling.
Worn tie rods will cause wheel misalignment, accelerated tire wear, and damage to other suspension components on the front wheel. Of course, lousy tie rods will also cause other problems. If you’re wondering, what are the symptoms of a bad tie rod; check out the signs of a bad tie rod well.
But how many tie rods does a car have? Let’s find out the number of tie rods on a car in the next section.
How many tie rods does a car have?
Vehicles come in different designs. Therefore, the number of components in one car may not be the same in another. However, we can’t say this is true for all vehicle components. In any case, there are four tie rods in most vehicles. Two on each front wheel, and each wheel has an inner and outer tie rod.
So, if you were asking, how many inner tie rods does a car have? The answer is two inner tie rods. Each front wheel has one inner tie rod. Meanwhile, the outer tie rods are more prone to wear due to their design and duty. If any outer rods fail, the other is also aging out. For this reason, you should replace both at the same time.
If you’re asking, should I replace both inner and outer tie rods are the same time? It depends on whether both of them are bad or not. If only the outer tie rod is out, check the inner tie rod and see if it is still okay. If the inner is still good, leave it in place and replace the two outer tie rods. Typically, the outer tie rods wear faster than the inner ones.
Read Also: How Many Ball Joints Does A Car Have?
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: Are there two tie rods on a car?
Each front wheel will have an inner and outer tie rod regardless of your steering design. Simply put, whether your car steering system uses a gear box or rack and pinion steering system, it’ll have four tie rods. So, if you’re asking, do all cars have a tie rod? The answer is yes. Cars have two tie rods on each front wheel, making them a total of four tie rods.
Q: Do you have to replace both tie rods at the same time?
Some mechanics recommend replacing all the tie rods simultaneously whenever one or more wear out. That, however, will be a waste of money. Technically, outer tie rods wear out early than inner tie rods. And, if one outer or inner tie rod becomes faulty, the other on the opposite wheel is far gone.
Therefore, it is only recommended to replace both the outer tie rods at the same time and the two inner tie rods at the same time. You only have to replace all four tie rods if at least one inner and one outer tie rods are bad.
Q: Are tie rods only in the front?
Yes, tie rods are only on the front wheels. They are found only on front wheels because their primary function is to connect to the steering wheel inside the cabin and control the front wheels. In any case, tie rod ends do not connect directly to the steering wheel. Instead, the steering wheel connects to the steering gear box or rack and pinion, which connects to the tie rods.
There are no tie rods on the rear wheels since the steering gear box or rack and pinion steering only control the front wheels.
Q: Is replacing a tie rod expensive?
Tie rod replacement is relatively inexpensive. For instance, the average tie rod replacement cost is between $100 to $400, depending on your vehicle make and model, your mechanic, the price of the part itself, and how hard it is to remove and install the part.
The part, whether inner or outer, costs $20 to $100. The outer ends are easier to replace than the inner ones. The mechanics, however, charges $75 to $150 to replace the outer ones and $150 to $300 to replace the inner ones.
Q: How serious is a broken tie rod?
The severity of a broken tie rod can be moderate or severe. If moderate, it’ll only cause accelerated tire wear and misaligned wheels. And if can be severe because if the rod breaks or pulls off from the socket, you’ll lose vehicle control, which could cause a catastrophic collision.
Don’t panic. There’s good news. It is unlikely for the rod to break or pull off from its socket. This, however, does not mean it is impossible.
Q: What is the lifespan of tie rods?
If you’re asking – how long do tie rods last on a vehicle, the answer is, tie rods last many years without issues. Therefore, you may never need to replace them throughout the lifespan of the car. However, the longevity of tie rods largely depends on the roads you travel on. This means you’ll need to replace the tie rods more often if you frequently travel on rough pavements.
You’ll no longer ask how many tie rods does a car have. Most cars have four tie rods, two on each front wheel. Each front wheel has inner and outer tie rods. We explained that these steering and suspension components are only on the front wheels since the steering gear box or pinion steering is on the front axle.
We also explained the replacement cost, replacement procedures, longevity, and the severity of a worn steering knuckle. Feel free to scroll back if you skipped any of these interesting parts.