Non-Stick Steering: Replacing Your Tie Rod End Boots
Your tie rods are an integral link in your vehicle's steering system. It is one of the components connecting your steering wheel to your tires, thus allowing you to turn and control your vehicle. The ends of your tie rods are protected by rubber boots that keep the necessary lubricating fluids in while keeping road debris and other contaminants out. When these boots eventually wear out and crack, the grease inside the tie-rod ends will leak out, causing the joints to dry out and fail. When that happens, you will experience steering difficulties. Fortunately, with the right tools and know-how, replacing your tie-rod end boots can save you money without giving you too much trouble.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Here's what you'll need:
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Wheel chocks
- Open-end wrench set
- Tire irons
- Ball joint removal tool
- Pliers or flat-head screwdriver
- Tie rod end boot kit
- Vehicle Owner Manual
- Make sure your vehicle is on a level surface - it might roll away when jacked up.
- Never rely on just the floor jack to hold up your vehicle. Be sure your jack stands are properly placed.
- Place your vehicle in "Park" or "Neutral" before you begin.
- We recommend working after your vehicle's engine has cooled down.
- This is a general guide. Refer to your owner's manual for specific details.
And here are the steps:
Step 1: Place wheel chocks behind your rear wheels. Use the floor jack to raise the front of your vehicle. Set up the jack stands under your vehicle's frame before lowering your vehicle onto them.
Step 2: Use your tire irons to remove the front tires. Put them aside.
Step 3: Your tie rod end is the part of your tie rod that's connected to the steering knuckle. Use the open-end wrench to unbolt the tie rod end from the steering knuckle.
Step 4: Set the ball joint removal tool over the tie for end in such a way that the center bolt is directly on the ball joint. Use the open-end wrench to tighten the tool until the tie rod pops out of the steering knuckle.
Step 5: Use your open-end wrench to loosen the locking nut on the tie rod then use another wrench to remove the tie rod. Completely remove the locking nut.
Step 6: Depending on your vehicle, use either the pliers or the flat-head screwdriver to remove the clamps securing the inner tie rod end boot. Remove the tie rod end boot. Make sure that no traces of rubber remain on the tie rod end.
Step 7: Your tie rod end boot kit should have some grease. Apply a liberal amount of this grease to the tie rod end.
Step 8: Slide your new tie rod end boot onto the tie rod and secure it in place with the same clamps you removed earlier.
Step 9: Repeat on the procedure for the other side.
Step 10: Put everything back together by following the reverse order of disassembly.