The steering and suspension systems in your car are a couple of the most important systems in your vehicle. They aid in controlling the direction of your vehicle's motion. Effort is required to turn the steering wheel because of friction between the road and the front tires. As such, the wheel is connected through a system of gears and components that position the tires to lessen the effort required from both you and the car. As a system, it is composed of linkages, wheel, gears and other components like a tie rod that function together to provide your vehicle a smooth steering. These gears give a mechanical advantage to the driver, because the force he applies is being multiplied. Moreover, the distance through which he turns the wheel is also increased to turn the tires.
One of the many components comprising your car's steering system is the tie rod. This steering component connects the steering knuckles to the center link on cars with re-circulating ball steering gears and conventional suspension systems. The main purpose of the tie rod is to cause the wheels to turn by transmitting the force from the rack gear or steering center link to the steering knuckle. It is composed of an inner and an outer end, which allows the tie rod's length to be adjustable. Though complicated sounding, it really is not that difficult to understand how these systems work.
To maintain the smooth flow of your vehicle's steering, you must check the steering and suspension systems regularly, along with a complete wheel alignment at least once a year. A worn out tie rod is one huge inconvenience, because it will cause excessive wear and tear on your tires, as well as wandering and erratic steering. When you spot these symptoms, it is highly advisable for you to find an immediate replacement before it becomes dangerous to you and your passengers.
Car maintenance can be done by your mechanic, true. But you can also be your own mechanic if you so wish! Pop the hoods of your rides and check the tie rods of your cars regularly. As already mentioned, they are quite important though small in size. Also, have a look at your car manual and online forums too. In here you can get detailed information on tie rods and how to install, take apart and simply check them out.
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