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Jeep Grand Cherokee Tie Rod End

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.

Wheel play

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.

Excessive vibrations

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.

Strange noises

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.

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  • How to Properly Main Jeep Grand Cherokee Tie Rod Ends

    The tie rod ends of the Jeep Grand Cherokee are often overlooked when it comes to maintenance, and despite its heavy duty construction they will break down from wear if not properly cared for. This is especially true if you often drive your Grand Cherokee SUV in rough, unpaved roads, as the excessive vibrations from irregular terrain can put excessive strain on the tie rods and the tie rod ends. But with regular maintenance, the effects of wear on the tie rod ends are reduced and its service life significantly lengthened. In this guide, we'll share some simple maintenance tips for Jeep Grand Cherokee tie rod ends.

    Inspect the tie rod ends regularly for wear.

    We strongly recommend inspecting the tie rod ends after driving under poor road conditions as these can cause the couplings to work incorrectly. Warning signs that indicate tie rod end wear, such as clunking noises coming from the tie rod or a shaky steering wheel, for example, should also warrant an inspection. When checking for wear, some of the things you should look for include cracks, loose connections, tears on the protective rubber boot, and excessive play from the wheels. If any of these signs are present in your tie rod end, bring it to a mechanic and have the tie rod ends replaced if necessary.

    Lubricate the tie rod end properly.

    Lubricating the tie rod ends with grease can help reduce friction and delay the onset of wear, but only if it is done properly. First, check if the tie rod end is a sealed type or has a grease or Zerk fitting on its flat side, as only the latter can be lubricated. Clean the grease fitting of grime and dirt to prevent contamination and, using a grease gun, pump it with moly grease until the rubber boot swells slightly. Don't put any more grease after that as too much may cause the boot to tear.

    Don't squeeze the joint.

    One of the common mistakes car owners make is to squeeze the joint of the tie rod end with a pair of pliers determine check it is worn or not. Aside from being an inaccurate method of determining tie rod end wear, squeezing the joints with anything harder than your fingers finger can damage the internal spring and ruin a perfectly fine tie rod end.