How Do I Know If My Tie Rods Are Bad?

Diagnose a broken or malfunctioning tie rod by excessively shaking the steering wheel, listening for vibration inside the cabin, listening for hissing sounds when pressure is applied to the vehicle and a loud "clunk" when traveling at slow speeds. The tie rod connects the steering to the front wheels.

  1. Check the steering wheel for excessive shaking

    When a tie rod is bad or broken, the steering wheel shakes excessively while driving. On most vehicles, the steering wheel feels strained. The shaking occurs excessively when turning left or right.

  2. Listen for strong vibrations

    A strong vibration in the cabin or in the steering wheel is a sign of a bad tie rod. As the problem worsens, the vibration increases. The increased vibration in the cabin is the result of a loss of steering. With a faulty tie rod, the steering control and the vehicle’s wheels have difficulty working together to control the direction of the vehicle, which results in vibrations.

  3. Test for hissing sounds

    Place pressure on one of the front corners of the vehicle to check for a loud noise or a hissing sound. The sound is similar to the sound of a broken spring. There is also a loud “clunk” noise when the vehicle travels at slow speeds and turns in a specific direction.