How to Tell if a Center Link Is Bad

by Brandy Alexander
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The center link, also often referred to as the drag link, is the element that keeps your two front steering wheels in line. Connected at either end via a ball joint, the center link is often bolted to the tie rod ends, which then control the angle each front steering wheel makes in relation to the direction the car is travelling. If you feel vibrations or wobbling while operating the vehicle, one of the first things to check would be for play in the center link.

Step 1

Jack up the front of your car and support the frame with jack stands.

Step 2

Lie down on your back and slide under the front end of your car.

Step 3

Locate the center link bar. This will be parallel to the front bumper and will connect each driving wheel with a ball joint at either end of a heavy metal bar.

Step 4

Examine the center link for excessive play. Firmly grasp the center link bar and try to shake it firmly, checking for any movement. If any movement is detected, this is most likely the source of your problem.

Step 5

Examine the ball joints on either end of the center link bar. Check that the rubber dust seal boots are intact and show no signs of wear or cracking. There should be no play in the ball joint when shaken by hand. If any play exists in the center link or ball joints, either the whole unit or just the ball joints must be replaced.

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