Typically, you can keep driving the vehicles with worn tie rods. So, how long can you drive on a bad tie rod if you choose not to fix the problem at the first step?
Knowing what happens when tie rods go bad will help you understand that sometimes things are not in your favor and any issue with your tie rods needs you to act as fast as possible.
How Important Are The Tie Rods?
It is an inevitable part of the suspension system. Without it, you can not turn your wheel left or right properly. Driving with bad tie rods can cause difficulty in handling your vehicle’s direction.
The car suspensions and steering system consist of more components than we thought.
A faulty inner or outer rod means the connection between the steering rack and knuckles of the front wheels has a problem. Therefore, you may experience losing control while turning.
Can you imagine when you want to turn right, but your car still goes straight? How hard it is to drive a car with a disobeyed wheel. It’s all because of a bad tire rod.
What Are The Signs Of Faulty Tie Rods?
Losing Wheels When Jack Up
Take your time to perform a simple test to know whether you have a bad suspension component.
To do this, you should take a jack and simply lift up the front of your car. Then, you shake the wheels from side to side.
Here is how you can diagnose it properly. Determine the position of three and nine o’clock on the wheel, put your two hands there, and move it from one side to the other.
Then, change the position of your hands to six and twelve o’clock and move them up and down.
After checking both front wheels, if you can’t do anything except rotating them, it means you’re good to go.
However, when these actions affect your wheel or you hear some clicking sound while shaking, you are likely in a bad tie rod dangerous situation.
Uneven Tire Wear
The four tires stand the weight of your car. As you drive, they contact the road and wear out. If your rod is ok, the wear should be even as the vehicle is balanced and the pressure is spread evenly.
However, when you see uneven wear, you can think of a problem with the component in the suspension system. Driving with a bad tie rod causes the alignment to suffer and leads to uneven tire wear.
Once you see this common sign, prepare yourself as you may need a new tire soon.
Uneven tire wear and poor vehicle alignment have a direct relation. The rod is in charge of steering and keeping your car straight. Any problem with this component can affect the car’s alignment.
In this case, you may experience your vehicle pulling to one side and the steering wheel shaking. Your drive becomes torture as you need to make every small correction when steering.
Seek help from professional service. They can check the alignment and adjust or replace broken parts if needed. It fixes the issue of straight track and enhances the lifespan of your tires.
Difficulty In Handling
We are talking about unresponsive steering – one of the bad tie rod symptoms while driving.
There may be other reasons for difficulty in handling (such as power steering or steering rod), but a faulty suspension component is a common cause.
Having worn tie rods, you may feel your rotation mechanism is out of control, and you need a lot of effort to make a turn.
Running the vehicle with this symptom at high speed is even more dangerous. Plus, the steering wheel problem also can cause humming noise only when accelerating.
How Long Can You Drive On A Bad Tie Rod?
Nobody sets the rule on how long you can drive with faulty tie rods. Can you drive with bad tie rods? You can drive until they’re totally broken down.
However, keep in mind that you will lose control of the steering wheel, and a tow might be needed to bring you home or to the repair shop.
What Is The Lifespan Of Damaged Tie Rods?
The longevity of the component doesn’t depend on its manufacturer date, so you don’t need to care whether it expires or not.
Some drivers have them on their cars for many years without any replacement.
However, the driving conditions can influence its capability of proper function. Poor road conditions, driving obstacles, and small accidents can be the reason for the part to go bad.
So, it’s recommended to have them inspected regularly.
What Happens If You Drive With A Worn Suspension Component?
Steering Wheel Problem
Can you drive with a bad tie rod? Yes, you can operate your vehicle in this case but with steering issues. The rotation mechanism can not be handled as it’s supposed to be.
You need to spend more effort adjusting your car and need more time for reaction.
Though your vehicle is not yet in the stage of undrivable, it performs badly. It’s especially not safe when driving at high speeds.
More Bad Influence On The Under Chassis Parts
A loose, damaged tie rod end allows dust to come into the joints and mix with the lubricant. Gradually, it can reduce the amount of lubricant and increase friction.
This situation can lead to clunking noises and vibrations in the system. Even worse, the rust can be formed and spread, affecting the under-chassis components and the overall structural rigidity of your vehicles.
Driving with this faulty component causes unevenly worn tires, thus, leading to uneven tire contact point, uneven weight distribution, and reduced traction.
When the weight is spread unevenly, it brings you difficulty in handling. The low traction is the reason for the high possibility of car accidents.
In general, your car’s chassis and suspension system can’t function well with unevenly worn tires.
Front Wheel Misalignment
It’s understandable if your front wheel is prone to misalignment when you’re having a problem with the suspension system.
You may face a situation when you want to steer to the left, but the wheels don’t seem to listen.
Unresponsive steering is dangerous. You need more time to turn your car as the system has lost its agile and maneuverable capability. Therefore, there’s a higher risk of a potential collision.
Wheel’s Vibration And Noise
Can you drive with worn tie rods? Yes, you can, but you may suffer from the wheel’s vibration and noise. When you drive at low speed, everything seems fine.
However, once you accelerate, you may feel the vibration from the front wheels, and it doesn’t sound good.
Your car tends to jolt more often, even due to a small bump. Plus, the tire noise or wheel bearing noise bothers your ears all the time. Have your vehicle checked with professionals as soon as possible!
More Cost In The Future
Running a vehicle with any defect can cost you more money in the long run.
So, instead of thinking about: can you drive with a broken tie rod, you should know doing this leads to more tire replacement and future dealing with rust linkages and joints.
For those who don’t know, the tie rods can snap, and your tires can flop to the side, and you’re lucky if you can stop the car and just get stranded. The case can be worse with a highly potential car crash.
Can I Replace The Rod By Myself?
Yes, you can replace it yourself. You need to prepare the right tool and a jack. Jack up your car and diagnose it.
However, make sure you know what to do; otherwise, contacting an experienced mechanic is a smart choice.
How Much Do You Need To Pay To Replace Tie Rods?
You’re expected to pay from $20 to $100 for a new component regardless of the inner or outer part. The labor cost can be from $80 to $100, and the replacement process will take at least one hour.
How long can you drive on a bad tie rod? Knowing that you can run your vehicle with a bad suspension system component doesn’t mean you can ignore the problem.
The suggestion is to not let things fall out of your hand and fix the issue before it’s too late. You do not only repair the car but also determine your safety.