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How to Check Tie Rod Ball Joints
- 1). Place the floor jack under the subframe on either side of the vehicle and raise the jack until the tire is off the ground.
- 2). Grasp the tire at the 9 and 3 o'clock position and shake the tire to the left and right. If looseness is felt, place a hand on the tie rod end to feel if the looseness is located in the tie rod end or on the inner tie rod end where it attaches to the rack and pinion or conventional steering. If in fact one of the tie rod ends has worn enough to exhibit free play it will be obvious and easily detectable.
- 3). Inspect conventional steering a little closer, paying attention to the inner tie rod end attachment point to the drag link. Watch closely as the tire is moved to see if the tie rod is loose in its socket or if the hole that the tie rod end stud is inserted in is loose. Most of the time the outer tie rod is the culprit. When looseness is seen on the inside tie rod it could be a worn center link attachment point hole as easily as a worn inner tie rod.