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Toyota Tacoma Tie Rod End

Common Signs of a Bad Toyota Tacoma Tie Rod End

The Toyota Tacoma tie rod end attached to the steering rack helps move the front tires as the steering wheel is turned. If this component gets loose or broken, it will be too dangerous for you to drive. A lot of bad car accidents are caused by this component being faulty. If you experience these warning signs, better take a look at the tie rod end right away.

Pulling to one side while driving

Do a road test on your truck by driving on a flat, level, smooth highway. Then, let your grip on the steering wheel loosen enough to let your vehicle run on its own while driving down a straight road. Make sure that the weather is dry and the wind is calm when you do this. If you notice that your vehicle is pulling to one side while you're driving, then the steering components-particularly the tie rod end-might be bad.

Flip-flop wheel shimmy

If your truck's wheels seem to wander and wiggle rapidly back and forth as you drive, then the tie rod end might be loose. To make sure that this component is causing the shimmy, visually inspect the suspension system. Lift your vehicle while it is in neutral gear and with the ignition key in the accessory position to ensure that the steering column is in the unlocked position. Once your truck is secure on the jack stands, move the front wheels. Place your hands on one tire at the 9 and 3 o' clock positions then move it back and forth rapidly. Do the same procedure to the other front tire. If the front end is properly tightened, it should give no signs of excess movement. It should also give you the feeling of the wheel moving back and forth tight to the hub.

Other troubleshooting tips

Before attempting to diagnose the tie rod end, you have to be sure that your tires are not causing the steering problems you are experiencing. Check the air pressure on all four tires, and make sure that they are inflated to the recommended pressure. Inspect the tread and tire size as well and see if they are the same on both front wheels.

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  • Tips on Keeping the Toyota Tacoma Tie Rod End in Good Condition 27 February 2013

    Found on rack-and-pinion steering types, the Toyota Tacoma tie rod end is there to maintain the maneuverability of your steering. It is also manipulated during wheel alignments in order to adjust the toe. Because of strict alignment specifications, a slight problem with the tie rod end could already compromise your truck's steering performance and your safety. To avoid this, it is very important that you keep this component in good shape. If you don't know where to start, try these tips:


    Lubricate the tie rod end to prevent wear.

    Because the tie rod end moves whenever you turn the wheel, over time it would start to squeak and not function as well as it used to. With regular lubrication, it will continue to work well for a longer period. However, make sure that you do not overly grease the tie rod end as it will cause the protective boot, which holds the lubricant in and the debris out, to get torn.


    When checking the tie rod end, use a floor jack and jack stands to lift and steady your truck.

    In order for you to see the tie rod end, you need to easily control the front wheels. To do this, you have to lift your truck to an appropriate level and place two jack stands underneath. Before you elevate your truck, make sure that you have placed it in neutral gear and that the ignition key is turned to accessory.


    Inspect the tie rod end for problems.

    The tie rod end is connected to the inner tie rod and the knuckle. Make sure that there is no vertical or horizontal movement in this component. You can test this using your hands only. With the steering column unlocked and the front axle-or the entire vehicle-lifted, place your hands on the tire. Note that your hands should be at the 9 o' clock and at the 3 o' clock positions. Wiggle the tire back and forth in short steady movements while an assistant inspects the outer tie rod end's motion. You can also feel and maybe hear its movement. Then, ask your assistant to get inside the car and have him quickly turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and then all the way to the right for a few times. While he is doing this, examine the outer tie rod ends for vertical movement.