Wondering “When should I replace both the inner and outer tie rods?” Find out why we recommend replacing these two parts together as a pair as our expert mechanic reviews what can happen if you don’t.
When Should I Replace Both the Inner and Outer Tie Rods Together?
We recommend replacing both the inner and outer tie rod together as a set. You can run into issues like a worn or loose nut, stripped threads, or a worn or torn boot that can cause problems while driving.
Here are some of the problems you may run into when replacing the inner and outer tie rod
Jam Nut Issues
The jam nut might feel stuck when you try to turn it with a wrench. The wrench can slip and strip the jam nut out, making it difficult to loosen.
Tie Rods Having Trouble Separating
To break the tie rods free from each other, you might try to heat the connecting area up. That will weaken the metal, which you don’t want to do. It could also damage surrounding parts, the nut, or tie rod ends.
Damaged Outer Tie Rod If Only Replacing the Inner Tie Rod
To reach the inner tie rod, you’ll need to remove the outer tie rod. To do that, you’ll need to remove the nut and use a stud remover specialty tool to grip and loosen and remove the outer tie rod end. You might use a hammer to loosen it, but this could damage the stud or threads. You also risk peening up the end and making it difficult to reinstall the nut. This could also damage the knuckle made of a softer metal.
Also, the outer tie rod typically has a locking nut that is for single-time use and should be replaced if removed. It has a boot that protects the joint inside. Make sure no moisture or debris can leak in. If you pinch or damage the boot, it could cause an issue with the ball and socket area. If you cause separation, that will cause movement from the outer tie rod.
Worn Jam Nut or Inner Tie Rod Threads
With the outer tie rod removed, check the jam nut. Check the inner tie rod threads underneath the nut, and make sure they’re not stripped or rotted. If moisture sits inside, it can cause those symptoms. Check the threads on the inside of the nut. That nut holding the parts together could cause an issue if it’s not in good condition.
Damaged or Worn Boots
The boot should be soft and pliable so it can move with the vehicle. Make sure it’s not worn or damaged. You might find it has a little rip or tear, which means you’ll need to replace the boot. This will prevent damage to the inner tie rod end or steering rack.
Ball and socket on the tie rod end should have movement but not so much that it’s easily loose. If it is, the joint on the inside could be worn. It’s a bad sign if you can wiggle it in and out. While it’s protected by a boot, it can get physically damaged.
If you’re only replacing the outer tie rod and not the inner, you may have a problem like a power steering fluid leak from steering rack, which will affect steering and safety, go unnoticed.
How-to Videos to Install Parts
Learn how to replace tie rods and more on many vehicle with our how-to videos. Do your own repairs with our step-by-step instructions. Once you’ve installed new tie rods, we recommend you get an alignment.