Should You Replace Both Inner And Outer Tie Rods?

As a car owner, you may want to change your tie rods when they go bad, but you might wonder if you should replace the inner and outer ones. Fortunately, we have consulted experts in this field, and here is what they have to say. 

Changing the inner and outer ties rods is not necessary at once. But it is better to change the two together, especially if you want to replace an inner tie rod and the outer one is still on the original. This is because the outer tie rod needs to be taken out before the inner rod can be changed.

Tie rods should be replaced as soon as possible when they get faulty. Keep reading to get detailed information on how inner and outer tie rods can be replaced and signs that they may be faulty.

Replacing a new tie rod placed on the table, Should You Replace Both Inner And Outer Tie Rods?

What Are Tie Rods?

Tie rods connect the car's steering wheel with its front floor wheels. They are a two-part devicesystem consisting of the inner and outer tie rod, which have different functions but come together to connect or tie the steering gear and the front floor wheels together.

When there is a problem or any defect to the tie rods (either one or both), the vehicle could have poor steering control, which is very dangerous for drivers. Such a situation demands an immediate replacement of the tie rod(s).

A black brand new tie rod on a white background

Should You Replace Both Inner And Outer Tie Rod?

When just one of the tie rods gets faulty, you may not need to replace both tie rods together, but this still depends on the issue. If you have a defective inner tie rod without a bad outer tie rod, a mechanic may advise you to replace them both.

This is because the inner tie rod can't be taken out without removing the outer tie rod. The outer tie rod (as the name implies) is situated on the outer side. It serves as the access point when work needs to be done on them.

Most of the time, you will be required to change both tie rods even if the interior is the only one defective. This is because of compatibility reasons, as you would want both of the rods to be able to work together. 

It can be more challenging to find an inner tie rod that fits perfectly into your outer rod than an outer tie rod that fits perfectly with your inner rod. This is the reason why you should change both inner and outer tie rods when the inner one is defective.

Of course, you have the option to replace both rods regardless of which one is defective. This might not be an economical option, but it gives assurance that you will have two new, properly functioning rods on your car.

How To Replace Tie Rod Ends

Replacing a new tie rod placed on the table, Should You Replace Both Inner And Outer Tie Rods?

Replacing a tie rod or tie rods requires the skills of a professional mechanic since it can get complex. But if you decide to give it a go yourself, then follow these steps:

  1. Loosen the lug nuts of the vehicle's front tires after parking the car on level ground.
  2. Lift the car with a safety jack.
  3. Remove the front tires by removing all the lug nuts from the tires.
  4. Push out the necessary tie rod by turning the steering in the right direction.
  5. Take out the old tie rod(s) end.
  6. Install the new rod(s) by screwing it in.
  7. Finally, put the tires back on.

We advise that you only do this if you possess the proper tools and knowledge, as this is a fairly technical job. Improperly installed tire rods can cause accidents, especially if they detach while you're driving.

So we advise that, as much as possible, go to a mechanic. You might save a few bucks at the beginning, but it might cost you way more in the long run. 

How Often Should You Replace Inner And Outer Tie Rods?

There is no specific time to change your tie rods. They should only be changed or replaced when you notice some signs indicating that they are bad. 

What you can do from time to time is check the tie rods for damage, which is an easy-to-do task. You have to lift the car and take out the front wheel to check the rods. Then turn the wheels to the right to check the inner tie rod end at the passenger side and turn the wheels to the left to check the inner tie rod at the driver's side.

Here are some signs that you should change your tie rods:


If you notice that your vehicle is vibrating, there is a chance that your tie rods are faulty. When the steering fails to control the wheels, the tires begin to shake randomly. These vibrations tend to worsen as you increase or decrease your speed.

Unsteady Steering Wheel

Truck driver holding a steering wheel

Most of the time, this is the initial sign that a tie rod is going bad. This occurs because the steering starts losing control of the wheels. The steering may become unresponsive. You may notice this well when you try to turn your wheel.

Bad Tires

If you keep using your vehicle when its tie rods are loose or damaged, the wear pattern on your tires can be affected. Faulty, loose, or failing rods may make tires toe out, causing them to go out of alignment.

If you use a car with toed-out tires for a long time, the inner tire treads may go bad faster. Tie rods are not usually responsible for tire wear, but they significantly affect a vehicle's alignment.

Poor Alignment

If you notice that your car is pulling or drifting to one side, the chances are you have a bad tie rod. If the tie rods stop working, your vehicle may lose its alignment.

It would require a properly functioning set of tie rods to have your vehicle aligned properly. Having loose or worn-out tie rods will make alignment nearly impossible. That is why it needs to be prepared as soon as possible. 

How Much Should Tie Rod Replacement Cost?

On average, your tie rod should cost about $45 to $125, depending on your vehicle. The replacement may cost you about $47 to $87, with the inner rod being more expensive than the outer one. Altogether, the replacement cost could be between $92 to $212.

Are Inner Tie Rods The Same As The Outer Ones?

Both rods are not the same. The inner tie rod is a bit smaller than the outer tie rod and is joined with the outer rod. The inner and outer tie rods also have different connections. The inner tie rod is connected to the steering gear assembly or steering rack, while the outer tie rod is connected to the front floor wheel's spindle. 

Two brand new tie rods on a white background

Tie Rod maintenance

Tie rods are meant to last a long time. As we said earlier, your tie rods can remain effective throughout the lifespan of your vehicle. However, the lifespan of your tie rods depends on how you use them.

If you are careless with maintenance and don't lubricate the tie rods occasionally, they may get stiff and rust after a couple of years. Also, they may possibly break from potholes and curbs. 

Can A Tie Rod Break While Driving?

There is a zero percent chance of a new or good tie rod breaking while driving. Tie rods are designed for high flexibility and durability and can withstand shock from pothole dips and curb swerves. 

On the other hand, a defective tie rod can break while you're driving, as it may be stiff and unable to withstand the dips and swerves that it was designed for.

To Wrap Up

Replacing a new tie rod placed on the table

It is advisable to have your tie rods checked from time to time. In a situation where your tie rod(s) are bad, you can either change one of them or both. But you should consider changing both the inner and outer tie rods as it comes with the benefits of safety assurance.

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