Sam R. Ask’s : What is an outer tie rod end ? What does it do?

Well Sam you actually have a left outer tie rod end , and a right outer tie rod end. Each tie rod end is connected to an inner tie rod end and finally connected to the power steering rack. In the picture you will see an old tie rod on the left and a new tie rod on the right. Under the black rubber boot there is a ball and socket, in other words a ball joint type socket that is packed with grease. Over time and mileage like any suspension component tie rod ends can wear out and develop excessive play or looseness as a result. A loose tie rod or any loose tie rod is definitely a safety item, and if you are told you need one during a safety inspection replace it. After you have  a tie rod end replaced, you must have the front end aligned to assure proper tracking  and tire wear from the vehicle. Notice the new tie rod on the right has a grease fitting, and if the tie rod is greased when the vehicle is serviced it will not wear out so fast. Most later model vehicles do not have grease fittings, except for most trucks. When you bring your vehicle in for service, make sure to ask if your vehicle has grease fittings. If your vehicle does have grease fittings make SURE that they are getting greased during an oil change service.

Old tie rod on left new tie rod  end on right

Old tie rod on left new tie rod end on right

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