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How to Replace Tie Rod Ends

Learning how to replace tie rod ends could save you a lot of time and money while helping to prevent future problems with your steering. Tie Rod Ends are essential parts of your vehicle as they are responsible for making your wheels turn when you turn the steering wheel. They hook directly onto the tire’s knuckle, which makes it crucial to do this job with care while considering the overall alignment of the vehicle. However, you don’t have to be a mechanic, and you don’t need any special tools to get the job done right. Here’s how to replace tie rod ends.

Tools You’ll Need:

Step 1 – Loosen the Connecting Nut

Begin by loosening the nut which connects the old tie rod to the steering line. Once it’s loose, it’s important that you tighten it back just a tiny bit in order to maintain the proper alignment spec.

Step 2 – Remove the Cotter Pin

There is more than likely a cotter pin that goes through the castle nut and wraps around it. You can remove the cotter pin by pulling the sides out with a simple pair of pliers.

Step 3 – Remove the Castle Nut

Use a ratchet along the appropriate socket size to remove the castle nut. If it is too tight to remove, you may need to use a breaker bar to remove it. If not, you don’t need the breaker bar for this job.


Step 4 – Pull the Tie Rod Out of the Knuckle

The tie rod is usually so tight onto the knuckle that it can’t simply be removed by hand. There is a tie rod removal tool, but you don’t need it if you follow these instructions on how to replace tie rod ends. Simply place the castle nut that you just removed onto the bottom of the tie rod end upside down. Tighten it a little bit, and use your hammer/mallet to hit the tie rod end upwards and out of the knuckle. Remove the castle nut and lift out the tie rod.


Step 5 – Remove the Tie Rod Completely

Now that your Tie Rod is loose and out of the knuckle, place an open wrench onto the small flat part, which is located around the center of the tie rod. Remember that first nut that we left on to maintain our alignment? We’re going to keep it there. Avoid touching it at all costs while removing the tie rod.

Step 6 – Install the New Tie Rod

So far, so good! The hard part is over, but of course this isn’t just how to remove tie rod ends, it’s how to replace tie rod ends.

Installing the new tie rod will essentially be the same steps in reverse.

  • Screw the new tie rod onto the steering line
  • Place the tie rod onto the knuckle
  • Replace the castle nut
  • Slip the new cotter pin through the designated hole and wrap it around with pliers
  • Make sure everything is nice and tight and you are done!

The next time you notice your steering being a little off and/or noises and squeaks occurring when you make turns, at least you can say you know how to replace tie rod ends.

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