The Average Cost for an Outer Tie Rod Replacement Is Between $99 and $210, Depending on If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as replacing the inner tie rods, replacing the tie rod ends, and getting an alignment, might also need to be done at the same time. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Cost at the Mechanic: $149 and $210
Parts: $99 and $148
Labor: $50 and $62
Every vehicle has two outer tie rods, one on each side of the front end. The cost of the repair will depend on if you need both replaced or just one; although, it is never recommended to replace one tie rod without replacing the other. It will take an experienced mechanic about one to two hours to replace the tie rod.
Cost to DIY: $99 to $148
- Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Parts Needed:
If you’re familiar with cars and know more than just the basics, you can save money by replacing the tie rod yourself. You don’t need a lot of special equipment to do the job, but you will need to jack up the car. Before diving in, learn how to put a car on jack stands by reading this article. The wheel on the side you’re replacing the tie rod on will need to come off, and you might have to remove other parts to access the bad tie rod. Learn how to put a car on jack stands before you dive in.
Keep in mind: There are many different types of outer tie rods, and they are specific to your vehicle. If you plan to replace the outer tie rods yourself, be sure to choose the right parts to fit your vehicle. When in doubt, always refer to your owner’s manual. It is also important to note that tie rod and tie rod ends should be replaced in pairs.
What Is An Outer Tie Rod?
Most cars on the road today use a rack-and-pinion steering system. The system has a steering rack with the outer tie rods at the end of the rack. The outer tie rods work to push and pull the front tires when the driver turns the steering wheel. They are a small part but essential to the ability of a car to turn.
What Does an Outer Tie Rod Replacement Include?
In order to replace the outer tie rods, the car needs to be jacked up to remove the tires and wheels. Once you have access to the outer tie rod, the castle nut needs to be removed. Once you have the castle nut off, you can disconnect the outer tie rod from the inner tie rod and remove it. In some cases, if the entire system is failing, you might also need to replace the inner tie rods and the control arms. Once you put the new outer tie rods back on and replace all the suspension parts you took off, the car will need an alignment.
It will only take an hour or two for a mechanic to replace the tie rod or rods if you have both sides done. But you also have to allow time and cost for the alignment.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace the Outer Tie Rod?
You should not drive a vehicle with failed outer tie rods as it is dangerous and can lead to more expensive repairs. The best-case scenario for driving with a bad outer tie rod is that your tires will wear down prematurely due to the front suspension being out of alignment. If this happens for too long, it can lead to a tire blow out, which if it happens while driving can be catastrophic. If a worn outer tie rod completely fails and separates while you’re driving, you could lose control of the steering and cause an accident.
How Often to Replace the Out Tie Rod?
Outer tie rods don’t usually need to be replaced unless the vehicle gets into an accident or suffers some other type of physical damage. If the outer tie rod end fails, it might damage the tie rod. In this case, you might need to replace the tie rod ends and the outer tie rods. If you need more information about maintenance for the outer tie rods specifically for your vehicle, make sure to check your owner’s manual.
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Common Symptoms You Need to Replace the Outer Tie Rod
- Uneven tire wear
- Bad vehicle alignment
- A shimmy in the steering wheel. Failing tie rods can create a sensation of shifting and shimmying in the steering wheel.
- Loud rattling or clunking sounds when braking
- Unresponsive steering
- A loose wheel when the car is up on jacks
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with an outer tie rod replacement:
- Tie rod end replacement
- Inner tie rod replacement
- New tires
- Alignment. Any time a vehicle’s suspension parts are worked on, an alignment should be done when the job is completed. You might have to visit a mechanic who specializes in alignments to have this done.
To help beginners with their first DIY repairs, we’ve compiled our top car maintenance tips here.
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