What Happens When a Tie Rod Breaks?

Wondering what happens when a tie rod breaks? While driving, you obviously expect the wheels and tires to remain straight. For this process to happen, several components need to work efficiently in the vehicle's suspension system.

Whether you own a Sedan car, SUV, or truck, they all have tie rod ends connected to the wheel housing. This ensures that the vehicle has a smooth and efficient ride every day. You will start observing a few warning signs whenever a tie rod has worn out. The issue needs to be fixed right away if you don’t want to complicate things further. Let's dive in and learn more about what happens when a tie rod breaks!

Front-Wheel Alignment Disrupts

wheel alignment issues

One of the primary tasks of a tie rod is to keep things solid on the front end of your car. This includes tie rods, tires, wheels, struts, stabilizer bars, and other components that should contribute to the alignment of the vehicle (you can learn more about it here).

Whenever the tie rod wears off, it becomes loose and will cause the front end of the automobile to fall out. This disruption can be felt by the driver whenever they try to navigate to the left or right. If you notice your car pulling in one direction then the problem could be due to a worn-out tie rod.

The Steering Wheel Feels Loose or Shakes

steering wheel shakes due to tie rod failure

The tie rod end design should be such that it remains solid and secure in the suspension. Whenever the tie rod wears out, it tends to bounce while driving. This loose condition can result in a vibration whenever the vehicle is in acceleration. Primarily, a tie rod that is wearing out starts vibrating at speeds as low as 20mph.

This can also be an indication that the wheel/tire combination is not in balance. This could also be if a suspension component has broken down. If the issue is indeed the tie rod, you can learn how to remove it without any tool here.

Excessive Tire Wear

Excessive tire wear

Performing a visual inspection of your tire can help you identify if they have worn unevenly. You just need to stand in front of the vehicle and examine the edges of the outside or inside of the tire. If they appear to be worn evenly, it is a good sign that your tie rod end is functioning appropriately. If there is excessive wearing on the tire it indicates that the tie rod may be wearing out. This could require further inspection.

The tie rod ends ensure stability in any automobile and allows you to drive smoothly on the road. Whenever the tie rod ends wear out, you will notice a problem in the manner in which you are driving your car. Tie rod ends can go bad even due to normal wear and tear. Oftentimes, the failure of a tie rod is due to a lack of lubrication. Moreover, road hazards such as bumps in the road, potholes, and hitting a curb too can shorten the life of tie rod ends.

Whenever the tie rod end is worn, you will hear a clunking noise. If your tie rod is already broken, do not worry! Check out our other blog post where you can find reviews of the best tie rods available.

Can You Drive Your Car If a Tie Rod Breaks?

broken tie rod

Tie rods are crucial steering components that ensure that the front tires of your car are in proper alignment with the steering wheel. These rods help turn the wheels whenever you are turning the steering wheel. Symptoms of a damaged or worn tie rod include clunking noises whenever you take a turn.

You will also notice the vehicle pulling to one side while driving. Uneven tire wear is also a common symptom noticed whenever a tie rod breaks. Although these symptoms seem like a minor inconvenience, even slight wear in the tire can make the automobile lose its braking power.

If a tie rod fails entirely, the wheel will break free of the steering assembly. This can also cause the automobile to lose its ability to steer. Hence, a faulty or worn-out tie rod needs to be replaced immediately. To see how driving with a broken tie rod looks like, check out the following video (do NOT try this at home!):

If you are interested to learn more about the functions of tie rods, check out our other blog post where you will find the answers to all your questions. Find it here.

Final Thoughts

Hope this blog post helped you understand what happens when a tie rod breaks and how important it is to not let that happen. Therefore, you need to carry out regular inspection of your car or truck if the alignment of the wheel does not seem right.  Always remember that for a smooth ride, you need to maintain your tie rod in good condition.

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