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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.