How to Replace a Tie Rod in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer

Tie rods on your Vehicles transmit the steering motion from the steering rack to the wheels. They should be replaced when you feel looseness in the steering wheel. If you feel that any part of the steering system isn't working as it should, then stop driving the Vehicles inspect it and replace what is needed. Fortunately, replacing the tie rod ends on your Vehicles is simple, cheap and quick.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Nissan Maxima

Buy tie rod ends that are specific to your Nissan Maxima's model year, as the parts can vary from model year to model year. These come with replacement nuts.

Disconnect the cable for the negative post of the battery. Loosen the lug nuts of the front wheels with a lug nut wrench, and jack up your vehicle. Support the vehicle on jack stands and remove the wheels.

Loosen the tie rod nut with a wrench and remove it. Separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle with a tie rod separator or a ball joint separator.

Undo the nut at the top of the tie rod, and separate tie rod from the rack and pinion.

Slip in the tie rod into the rack and pinion and tighten the nut. Screw the tie rod end onto the tie rod and slip the tie rod end into the steering knuckle and tighten the nut to 29 foot pounds.

Put on the wheels and tighten the lug nuts to 80 foot pounds. Reconnect the battery cable and have your Nissan Maxima aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Tie rod separator

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Tie Rod on a Buick

Jack the Buick up and place it securely on jack stands.

Remove the wheels with a lug nut wrench that can be found in the trunk.

Remove the cotter pin from the tie rod end with needle nose pliers.

Remove the nut from the tie rod end with a ratchet.

Pull the tie rod off of the steering knuckle with a tie rod separator. Simply place the tie rod separator between the tie rod and the steering knuckle and hammer the end of the tie rod puller until the tie rod pops out.

Use white-out to mark where the tie rod end meets the inner tie rod. Doing this will reference how far to thread in the new tie rod and will ensure that your alignment won't be too far off.

Loosen the old tie rod with a 19 mm wrench and unscrew the tie rod from the inner tie rod.

Thread in the new tie rod up to the white mark that you made earlier and tighten the nut with a wrench.

Place the tie rod through the steering knuckle, tighten the nut, place the cotter pin through it and secure it.

Replace the wheels and lower the Buick. Take the car to get it aligned because the alignment will be slightly off due to your work. An alignment will ensure that your tires don't wear prematurely.

Items you will need

  • Eye protection

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchet

  • Sockets

  • Tie rod separator

  • Tie rod puller

  • Hammer

  • White-out

  • New tie rods

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Honda Accord

Remove the Tie Rod

Make sure you buy the right tie rods for your Honda Accord. These can vary from model year to model year.

Remove the lug nuts on the front tires, then raise up your vehicle with a jack. Support it securely on jack stands. Remove the wheels.

Clean the threads on the tie rod, between the steering boot and the lock nut on the outer tie rod. Use a rag with lubricating oil to do this.

Use a wrench to loosen the nut on the tie rod end 1/8th of a turn. Next, loosen the clamps that fasten the steering boot in place, and slide the clamp down off the boot.

Slide the boot down so you have access to the steering rack and the fastener that connects the tie rod to it.

Loosen the tie rod nut, and turn the ball socket of the tie rod nut one turn. Mark the position of the nut with paint of a marker, then pull out the cotter pin and remove the castellated nut on the tie rod end. Separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle using a tie rod separator, then unscrew it.

Take off the nut on the tie rod, and remove the steering rack boot. Remove the socket nut from the tie rod.

Replace the Tie Rod

Replace the steering rack boot if necessary. Put power steering fluid on the threaded portion of the new tie rod as well as a locking agent to help secure the tie rod socket. Put on new nuts (that come with the tie rod).

Install the new tie rod and make sure you tighten it to 40 foot pounds. Put the new washer over the nut and peen it in place.

Put silicone grease on the socket of the tie rod, as well as the groove around it. Put grease inside the steering rack boot, then slide the boot into place. Put on new clamps.

Add some anti-seize compound to onto the threaded portion of the tie rod, and put on a jam nut. Screw on the tie rod end, and tighten the nut to 29 to 35 foot pounds.

Place the tires, and tighten the lug nuts to 80 foot pounds. Get your Honda Accord aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Lubricant and a rag

  • Marker or paint

  • Tie rod remover

  • Steering fluid

  • Locking agent

  • Tie rods

  • Torque wrench

  • Anti-seize

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Ford Focus

Buy tie rods for your Ford Focus. Make sure you get the right ones as they can vary from model year to model year.

Disconnect the cable from the negative post on the battery. Loosen the lug nuts on the front tires, then jack up your car. Support your car on jack stands and remove the tires.

Remove the bolt that connects the tie rod to the steering gear. Mark the threads of the tie rod to mark its position in the rod adjuster. Paint or markers work well.

Loosen the nut that secures the tie rod to the rod adjuster. Unscrew the tie rod, keeping track of the number of turns it takes. Write that number down.

Transfer the marks from the old tie rod onto the new one. Screw on the new tie rod with the same number of turns as it took to remove the old one. Tighten the nut to secure it to 35 foot pounds.

Put the other end of the tie rod end into the steering gear, then insert the bolt that secures it. Repeat the steps for the other tie rod. Put back on the tires, and tighten the lug nuts to 94 foot pounds. Reconnect the cable to the battery, and get your Ford Focus aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Paint or marker

  • Pen and paper

  • Tie rods

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Chevy Cobalt

Remove the Tie Rod

Buy tie rods that are specific to your Chevy Cobalt. These can vary from model year, so you want to make sure you get the right ones.

Lock the steering wheel by taking the key from the ignition, and turning the wheel counter clockwise. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels with the lug nut wrench, then jack up your car. Support the car on jack stands and remove the tires.

Use a wrench to remove the pinch bolt that connects the steering gear to the tie rod, then separate the steering gear and the tie rod.

Take off the nuts that secure the outer tie rod to the steering knuckle.

Separate the outer tie rod from the steering knuckles. Unscrew the tie rod end.

Replace the Tie Rod

Insert the intermediate shaft into the steering gear, and install a new pinch bolt, tightening it to 25 foot pounds.

Screw on the tie rod end, and connect it to the steering knuckle. Put on new nuts, and tighten them to 44 foot pounds.

Repeat the steps for the other tie rod. Put back on the tires, tightening the lug nuts to 58 to 72 foot pounds. Get your Chevy Cobalt aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Puller

  • Tie rods

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Pontiac Grand Prix

Buy tie rods that are specific to your Pontiac Grand Prix as these parts can vary from model year to model year.

Loosen the lug nuts on the front tires with a lug nut wrench, then jack up the car. Support the Grand Prix on jack stands, then remove the wheels.

Use a wrench to loosen the nut for the tie rod end as well as the tie rod.

Take nut off the outer tie rod, and separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle, then unscrew the tie rod end from the tie rod.

Remove the clamps from the rubber boot on the end of the tie rod, and slip the boot down to expose the end of the tie rod. Separate the tie rod from the rack and pinion with a tie rod separator.

Insert the new tie rod into the rack and pinion, and tighten the nut to 50 foot pounds. Slip down the boot and tighten the clamp around it.

Screw on the tie rod end, and insert it into the steering knuckle, tightening the nut to 45 foot pounds.

Put back on the tires and tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot pounds. Get an alignment.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Tie rod separator

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Chevy Silverado

Remove the Inner Tie Rod

Purchase inner tie rods that are specific to your Chevy Silverado. Inner tie rods vary from model year to model year. These inner tie rods usually come with a new castellated nut as well as a cotter pin (think heavy-duty bobby pin).

Loosen the lug nuts on the front tires on the Chevy Silverado with a lug nut wrench, then lift the truck up with a jack. Replace the jack with jack stands, and put on the parking brake. Take off the wheels.

Take out the cotter pin, and loosen the castellated nut that's located on the ball stud, but don't remove it.

Separate the end of the tie rod from the steering knuckle with a two-jaw puller. Take off the castellated nut and pull the tie rod end away from the steering knuckle.

Remove the nut that holds the inner tie rod end to the relay rod, and take out the inner tie rod end.

Check the condition of the tie rod end on the inner tie rod, and replace it if necessary.

Install the Inner Tie Rod

Put the inner tie rod end ball stud into the relay rod. Make sure it seals and tighten it to 40 foot pounds.

Tighten the clamp nuts, making sure that the bolt's center is nearly horizontal, and the adjuster tube's slot doesn't line up with the clamp's gap.

Install the tire, lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts to 105 foot pounds if the Silverado is 1990 and earlier, and 120 foot pounds if 1991 and later.

Repeat Sections One and Two for the inner tie rod on the other side.

Align the Chevy Silverado.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Pliers or wrench

  • Inner tie rod

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Pontiac Grand Am

Buy the tie rods that are specific to your Pontiac Grand Am's model year.

Disconnect the cable for the negative post on your battery, then loosen the lug nuts. Hack up your car, support it on jack stands, then remove the wheels.

Take out the rack and pinion gear by disconnecting the stabilizer shafts and the control arms, removing the pinch bolt for the intermediate shaft, as well as the through bolt that secures the rear transaxle mount.

Remove the lock plate that covers the bolts on the inner tie rod, then take out the tie rod assembly.

Put back the center housing cover washer back into the rack and pinion boot, then install the bolts of the inner tie rods through the bolt support plate, the bushing for the inner pivot, as well as the center housing cover washer, and the holes that are threaded.

Tighten the bolts for the tie rod to 65 foot pounds, then install a lock plate, making sure it's notches line up with the bolt flats.

Reinstall the rack and pinion gear and fill the power steering pump, then bleed the entire steering system.

Repeat all of the steps for the other tie rod, then reconnect the battery cable. Put on the wheels, tightening the lug nuts to 100 foot pounds. Get your Grand Am aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Pliers and wrench

  • Torque wrench

  • Steering fluid

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Mercury Cougar

Remove Tie Rod

Buy the right tie rods for your Mercury Cougar. These can vary from model year to model year.

Open the hood and disconnect the cable from the negative pole on the battery. Use a lug nut wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the front tires, then jack the Cougar up. Once you have your car supported on jack stands, remove the wheels.

Take out the front subframe as well as the rack and pinion steering gear. Secure the rack and pinion in place with a holding fixture.

Unscrew the outer tie rod, making sure you keep track of the number of turns, and then take off the jam nut on the outer tie rod.

Use a wrench to remove the outer clamp that connects the tie rod bellows to the tie rod's spindle.

Employ a wrench or a screwdriver to loosen the inner clamp enough so you can remove the tie rod's bellows, then move the rack and pinion so you can see some of the pinion's teeth.

Grasp the rack with a wrench as you use a pipe wrench to loosen the ball joint nut on the tie rod, then remove the tie rod.

Check over the rack and pinion to make sure you don't see any steering fluid leaks. If need be, you can replace the rack and pinion if the seals are leaking.

Replace the Tie Rod

Put in a new inner tie rod assembly, then turn the rack and pinion to secure it in place.

Grasp the rack with a wrench as you tighten the ball joint nut with a pipe wrench.

Place some grease on the bellow's lips, especially where is connects to the tie rod spindle. This frees the shaft to turn without obstruction or resistance.

Install the bellows and secure it in place with the inner clamp. Use a wrench to tighten the clamp.

Replace the outer clamp with a new one using needle-nosed pliers. Screw on the jam nut onto the spindle of the tie rod.

Add some grease to the outer tie rod threads and screw it on (the same number of turns it took to remove it). Repeat Section 1 and 2 for the other tie rod, then reinstall the rack and pinion back into the front subframe.

Reinstall the tires, and tighten the lug nuts to 27 to 35 foot pounds. Reattach the battery cable, then get your Mercury Cougar aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrenches

  • Pen and paper

  • Pipe wrench

  • Rack and pinion (if needed)

  • Grease

  • Outer clamp (comes with tie rod)

  • Tie rod

 How to Replace a Tie Rod in a Nissan Altima

Buy tie rods for your Nissan Altima. Make sure they're the ones that are specific to your car's model year, as these parts can vary. Also, buy name brand parts instead of the cheaper versions, which might not be as good and the risk isn't worth the little money you'll save.

Use a lug nut wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the front tires, then jack up your car. Once you have it safely supported on jack stands, remove the tires.

Remove the bolt that connects the tie rod to the steering rack with a wrench or pliers, then mark the position of the other end of the tie rod in the rod adjuster with paint or a marker. Take out the bolt.

Unscrew the tie rod with a wrench or pliers, making sure you keep track of the number turns it takes to do so. Write that number down with a pen on paper.

Transfer the marks from the old tie rod onto the new one with a marker or paint, then screw it into position with pliers or a wrench. Tighten the 34 to 38 foot pounds with a torque wrench. Insert the other end of the tie rod into the steering gear and put in the bolt.

Repeat the steps for the other tie rod. Put back on the tires and tighten the lug nuts to 80 foot pounds with a torque wrench. Reconnect the battery cable and get your Nissan Altima aligned.

Items you will need

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Wrench

  • Paint or marker

  • Pen and paper

  • Tie rods

  • Torque wrench