Tie rods are an important yet often neglected part of your car’s steering system. Like any car part, tie rods can wear down over time and will 4eventually need to be replaced.
Overall, you can expect to pay approximately $200 to replace an inner and outer tie rod. You can buy tie rod kits for anywhere between $50 to $200 and install them yourself.
The exact costs will depend on your car make/model, the age of your car, and your mechanic’s location.
There are a lot of factors that determine the cost of tie rods. So we put together this comprehensive article covering the average costs of replacing a tie rod.
- Tie Rod Replacement Costs
- Related Cost
- Factors that Affect Tie Rod Replacement Cost
- Signs of a Bad Tie Rod
- What Is a Tie Rod?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Guides
Tie Rod Replacement Costs
The average car owner can expect to pay approximately $200 to replace a single tie rod. If you wanted to replace all 4 tie rods in your car, you will most likely pay around $800 to $1,000 for a full set.
These costs depend on the age of your car, the make/model of your car, and any other related fixes such as rack/pinion gears and alignment.
|Make/Model||Price (per tie rod)|
|BMW 3 Series||$600|
As you can see, the average cost for replacing a tie rod is around $200 on average. Consumer models such as Toyota and Honda are generally much cheaper to replace while luxury and foreign brands like BMW or Audi cost more to replace.
As is the case with any car part, you have the option of buying OEM and aftermarket parts. Original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM) are created by the original manufacturer and are designed for specific models.
Aftermarket parts are made by third-party companies not associated with the original manufacturer. OEM parts are high-quality but they are also more expensive. OEM parts can also be harder to find if your car model has been discontinued.
Tie Rod Kits Cost
If you do not want to go to a mechanic, you can buy the tie rods on your own and install them. Compared to other car parts, changing a tie rod is relatively straightforward and can be done on your own if you have some automotive experience.
Tie rod kits come with both inner and outer rods. You can buy these parts separately but we recommend replacing both at the same time. That way, you can be sure your tie rod parts are calibrated with one another.
The following table has the average cost for tie rods from various manufacturers and vendors. These prices are averages and subject to change.
|Detroit Axle Inner and Outer Tie Rods||$60|
|Lemforder 512738 Tie Rod Kit $70||$220|
|DMAX XD Tie Rods for Chevy GMC|
|TRW JTE1502 Premium Tie Rod End||$50|
|Suspension Dudes 4-Piece Inner/Outer Tie Rod Ends for Toyota $50||$105|
|All Balls Tie Rod Upgrade Kit for Honda|
|AM Autoparts Tie Rod Inner/Outer Set||$115|
|SCITO 4-Piece Inner/Outer Tie Rod Kit||$50|
As you can see, the average cost for tie rod kits is between $50 to $100. Make sure that you are buying the parts that you need. You don’t want to order a set and figure out that you only ordered tie rod ends instead of both parts.
Tie rod problems are rarely isolated. You may have to make additional repairs when replacing tie rods.
Rack and Pinion
The rack and pinion is the main gearbox that takes motion from the steering wheel and turns it into a lateral motion to move the wheels. If your inner tie rods sustain damage, they can damage the gears in your rack and pinion system.
You can expect to pay around $1,800 to fully replace the typical rack and pinion system.
Tie rods also connect to the steering knuckle. Steering knuckles are the final part of the steering system and turn in unison with the wheels. Damaged tie rods can easily damage your steering knuckles as well.
You can also damage tie rods and steering knuckles at the same time if you hit a large pothole. You can expect to pay about $180 per knuckle for replacement.
Tie rods connect to the knuckle with a special nut called an end nut or castle nut. This nut can crack and break from wear and tear. End nuts are fairly cheap.
You can buy a full set of replacement nuts for around $5-$15 each. Not all tie rod kits come with end nuts, so make sure you have the parts you need. You may also need a special wrench to access castle nuts.
Factors that Affect Tie Rod Replacement Cost
- Materials. Like most car parts, materials will affect costs. Most tie rods are made from some kind of alloy such as mild steel. Tie rods can also be made from other materials such as carbon fiber, aluminum alloy, and carbon steel. Most of the time, you want to use either mild or stainless steel.
- Make/Model. Some cars, such as foreign brands or luxury brands, will cost more to repair. This is because these kinds of cars have specialty parts and advanced, unique systems. For example, it will probably cost more to change tie rods on a Volvo S40 than on a Honda CRV.
- OEM vs Aftermarket. You also have the choice between OEM and aftermarket parts. As you might expect, OEM parts are higher-quality and usually come with a warranty. However, they can be expensive and difficult to find if your car’s model has been discontinued. Aftermarket parts are cheaper and more widely compatible, but they are not as high-quality.
- Additional Repairs. Tie rod problems rarely present alone. You may also have to pay for extra repairs to the rack and pinion or the steering knuckle. Also, your mechanic will likely recommend that you also re-align your tires after installing new tie rods. Alignment usually costs about $100.
- Inner and outer. Tie rods have two parts: the inner rod and the outer rod. These parts are distinct and can be replaced separately. Generally, you will want to replace both the inner and outer rod at the same time, but you can replace just one or the other. Replacing both will cost more than replacing just one part.
Signs of a Bad Tie Rod
Here are some of the most common signs of a bad tie rod:
The most obvious sign of a bad tie rod is excessive vibration along the drive shaft. As the tie rod’s connection loosens, the wheels can move back and forth randomly from bumps on the road.
The result is a harsh, jarring vibration along with the steering wheel and your entire car.
Shaky Steering Wheel
Another common sign of a broken tie rod is a shaky steering wheel. The tie rod becomes loose and loses control of the wheels, which results in a shaky steering wheel.
Your steering wheel may also be difficult to turn or non-responsive. These effects should be more noticeable as you turn the steering wheel.
If you notice your car’s wheels drifting to one side, it could be due to a bad tie rod. When the tie rod starts to break down, your wheels may become unaligned.
The result is that your car pulls to the left or to the right when you take your hands off the steering wheel.
A broken tie rod can also cause excessive wear on your tires. When the tie rod is disconnected, your tires may “toe-out,” which can cause wear on the sidewalls of your tires.
These parts are weaker than the treads, so it is easy to pop a tire when your tie rod is broken. Also, since you cannot control your wheels properly, you can’t keep them straight on bumpy roads and they wear down more.
Squealing or Grinding Noise
One final common sign of a broken tie rod is a grinding or squealing sound when you turn the steering wheel. Disconnected or loose tie rods can scrape against the rack and pinion gears or against the steering knuckle.
Continuing to use a broken tie rod can damage other components of your steering system.
What Is a Tie Rod?
Tie rods are an integral part of your car’s steering system. Tie rods connect to the steering gears (also known as the rack and pinion gears) on one end and to the steering knuckle on the other end.
Tie rods connect to steering gears and work to translate the rotational motion of your steering wheel into the lateral motion that moves the car wheels when turning.
Tie rods allow for a smooth ride and ensure you can turn your wheels easily. Without tie rods, you wouldn’t be able to turn your wheels correctly.
As you can imagine, a broken tie rod can be very dangerous as it can cause you to lose control of your car. Most cars have 4 tie rods, one at each corner.
Each tie rod has two parts: the inner rod which connects to the steering rack and the outer rod which connects to the steering knuckle. The threads that connect these two parts of the tie rod are adjustable and are changed when adjusting the car’s steering alignment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a tie rod do?
Tie rods connect to the rack and pinion gears and work to turn the wheels of your car. Tie rods transform the rotational motion of turning the steering wheel into lateral motion that moves your car tires left and right.
Without a tie rod, you would not be able to properly maneuver your vehicle.
How much does it cost to replace a tie rod?
You can expect to pay about $200 per tire rod for a replacement. So, for 4 tire rods, you will most likely pay between $80o to $1,000 for labor and parts.
Individual tire rod parts usually cost between $80 to $100 on average. You can find tie rods for under $50, but we do not recommend going below this price.
Can I drive on a bad tie rod?
Yes, most of the time you can still drive on a bad tie rod. However, driving on a bad tie rod can be dangerous as you won’t have full control of the wheel and it will be much harder to steer.
So while you can, we would not recommend driving too much on a broken tie rod.
How often should I replace my tie rod?
Tie rods are designed to last the entire life of your car, so there is no definitive answer about how long they can last. That being said, you may start to notice steering problems after about 150,000 miles, especially if you regularly drive on rough terrain.
Experts recommend having your steering system checked by a professional at least once per year.
Can I replace a tie rod on my own?
Yes, if you have the right tools and know-how, you can change a tire rod on your own. If you want to do a DIY replacement, then you will need a wrench, a set of needle-nose pliers, a ratchet set, a mallet, and a special tie rod tool to access the hex or wrench flats.
We do not recommend replacing your tie rod on your own unless you have previous experience working with cars.
Tie rods are an extremely important part of your steering system. If a tie rod is broken, then you need to replace it as quickly as possible. You can drive on a bad tie rod, but it’s not recommended.
Damaged tie rods can cause you to lose control of your steering. Fortunately, compared to many other car parts, tie rods are fairly cheap to replace.
Most owners end up paying about $200 per tie rod, with a typical range between $100 to $300. Make sure that you get several quotes to get the best price.