Volvo cars are known for their durable and superb handling, and your steering system relies on the proper functioning of several parts. One of these parts is the tie rods. The tie rod connects the steering rack or center link to the steering knuckle, making the wheels turn.
A tie rod is made of two ends, the inner and the outer end. When a tie rod end fails, it can damage your vehicle and put you in danger. We will discuss the symptoms of a failing tie rod, what causes tie rod failure and, preventing tie rod failure.
What is a tie rod?
Tie rods are the parts that connect your steering wheel column to your wheels. They must be well aligned so that both front tires turn at the same angle. If they are set too far in or out, it will cause a reduction in speed due to friction and could cause you to lose your tire or wheel.
The tie rod is often a steel structure with one end featuring a ball & socket joint and a threaded shaft or sleeve. It is the sleeve part that connects to the inner tie rod.
Symptoms of Tie Rod Failure
- Uneven or excessive tire wear: Wear and tear is expected in your tires when driving, but tire wear should be even. If they aren’t, it shows that something else is going wrong beneath the surface. Due to your Volvo’s tie rods being damaged, your tires are knocked out of alignment, and your tires will wear down unevenly.
- Misalignment of the front end: The tie rod end works together with other suspension components to ensure proper alignment. When the tie rod fails, the end moves too much in the joint, which means the front end alignment will be off. This results in your vehicle drifting from a straight-on direction to pulling to the right or left.
- Steering problems: A Worn-out tie rod end also leads to other car control problems. You may feel like the steering wheel is tilted at an angle, and the vehicle is not steering according to your command or a delayed response when steering your vehicle.
Causes of Tie Rod Failure
- Wear and tear: The natural wear and tear after an extended period of use will cause the tie rod to wear down and needs to be replaced. The more you use your Volvo, the faster your tie rods may break down.
- Rough terrain or bad roads: Frequently driving on rough terrain can cause wheel misalignment and tie rod failure. This occurs because the tie rod is connected to your suspension system. The rigors and impact on the suspension system will reflect on your steering system.
How to Prevent Tie Rod Failure
- Regular and Correct Greasing: If the tie rod ends are serviceable, it is recommended to grease them regularly. Greasing reduces friction and prevents accelerated wear at the joint. However, applying lube is not enough. You need to know how to apply it correctly. When under-greased, friction remains high and may reduce the joint’s lifespan. When over-greased, you risk rupturing the dust boot and allowing the entry of contaminants.
- Gentle Driving: Constant exposure to harsh driving conditions can overwhelm the joint. Potholes, bumps, and other road imperfections shock vehicle parts that are connected to the wheels. One of these parts is the tie rod end. Although the ball joint allows the movements and absorbs vibrations, avoid driving over bumpy roads if possible. Hitting the curb can also cause damage to the tie rod end.
- Servicing: Tie rod ends come with a delicate part of the assembly known as the dust boot. It is one of the most crucial parts yet among the softest. Thus, proper care should be taken while servicing the tie rod.
European Motor Cars at your Service
Driving with a failing tie rod can be unsafe for you and other road users. To change the failing tie rod in your Volvo, make your way to European Motor Cars. Whether it is a Volvo or any other European car, we’ll ensure it is safe to drive again. If your European vehicle requires any repairs, maintenance, or diagnosis, be rest assured that we will deliver high-quality service. We are located in Las Vegas, NV, and we also help out drivers in the surrounding areas of Summerlin and Spring Valley. Call us today to book an appointment or to speak to one of our technicians!