How to Troubleshoot Common Signs of Jeep Grand Cherokee Tie Rod End Wear
A lot of Jeep Grand Cherokee owners only become familiar with the tie rod ends on their vehicles once the steering starts to go bad. A critical component of steering system, Jeep Grand Cherokee tie rod ends are built to last, but everyday wear and tear can take its toll and eventually cause these components to fail. And how long these tie rod ends will last before wearing out varies greatly from one vehicle to another, but once they do show signs of breaking down, they must be replaced immediately to avoid any serious problems with your SUV's steering system. In this guide, we'll outline some of the common signs of tie rod end wear for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and how you can troubleshoot them.
Excess wheel play is a good indicator of tie rod end wear, but there are cases where it's just due to a loose connection of the coupling to the steering rack. With the Cherokee propped by a jack, place your hands on the wheel at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions and rapidly move the tire back and forth. If the tie rod end is working properly, the tire will remain stationary and should only give the sensation of the wheel moving tightly against the hub. But if there is movement, have someone check if it is coming from the tie rod end (particularly in the ball area where the coupling sits down into the control arm knuckle). If the tie rod end is the source of the movement, check the joints for wear. But if the joints appear to be fine, the tie rod end is more likely to be loose and simply requires tightening.
Once the tie rod ends wear out, the steering system is starting to lose control over the wheels. This will result with the steering and wheels fighting over which way the vehicle will go, resulting in excessive vibrations. In addition, worn tie rod ends can also result with shaking in the steering wheel especially when turning, as the steering wheel is unable to handle the strain.
Failing tie rod ends have also been known to produce clunking sounds. Drive your SUV no more 15 mph and turn to the left and the right. If you hear a clunking noise, it means one of the tie rod ends have failed.