Need tie rods replaced - dangerous to drive?
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  1. #1
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    Need tie rods replaced - dangerous to drive?

    Hi-

    I have a 2000 B5 with around 120k miles.

    My mechanic told me I need to have both inner tie rods replaced (plus a wheel alignment). The only symptom at this point is that I hear a loud squeaking when I turn the steering wheel.

    I'm driving only very short distances right now and I'll have the work done as soon as I can afford to.

    My question is whether it's dangerous for me to drive at all. I asked (let's call him John, since that's his name) and he said short distances are okay, and he did pass my car through inspection with it the way it is.

    I don't notice any shimmying or pulling while I'm driving, but I haven't been on a highway, and my top speed has only been about 45mph.

    I won't hold anybody to anything here, just wondering how urgent a repair this is generally considered to be.

    Thanks-

    -Susan

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  3. #2
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    It seems the situation is not dire. John was fine with letting you drive the car away and pass what I presume was a safety inspection. A separate potential you face is unusual tire wear that takes life off your tires.

  4. #3
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    In my experience, you would feel vibration issues at highway speeds with a bad tie rod. It's also possible that you would experience extra play from side to side in your steering wheel and/or hear thunking as you turn. Have another mechanic at another shop check them as well- it seems fishy that someone could diagnose bad tie rods without any symptoms. Did he recommend that you have the blinker fluid changed or the flux capacitor rotated too? If they are actually bad but not showing any suspicious symptoms, it's probably not an emergency but you might want to take care of getting them replaced fairly soon. Having a tie rod break at even 45 mph might prove to be more exciting than you want, ie uncontrolled steering, settling down and dragging important parts of your car against the ground, flipping over and rolling 47 times before coming to a complete stop as your car turns into a flaming ball of wreckage (just kidding). Good luck!

  5. #4
    PZ
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    Usually it is the outer tie rod ends that squeak when the boots are torn. Either way there would be some play in the steering, but since it would be a gradual decline, you may not notice.

    You should be ok if the mechanic said you would be. I've seen bad ball joints last for more than a year before finally falling out and causing the car to crash.

  6. #5
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    I don't take chances with any components related to steering and braking

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4ePikanini View Post
    I don't take chances with any components related to steering and braking
    Agreed... these are CRITICAL functions of a vehicle, involving both your safety, and that of other people on the road.
    make your own choices, but for me, it would be a mandatory fix.

  8. #7
    Mr. Bieber 1st place WaterFest 17
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    If its any help, I drove from cleveland, ohio to orlando, florida on bad tie rods and control arms. and back

  9. #8
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    My B5.5 V6 4motion just recently needed the tie rod ends (outer) replaced. I was getting a slight vibration at highway speeds for a few months before replacing them. I can say that I personally never want to experience a complete tie rod failure, so I would try to get things repaired as soon as possible.

    We do have a selection of replacement HD tie rods available if needed:

    http://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-...aign=postreply


  10. #9
    I only have eyes for Princess Alisa
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    Do it not worth risking your life they are only $80 for pair.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpassat03 View Post
    Do it not worth risking your life they are only $80 for pair.
    and easy as pie to replace.

  12. #11
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    ^^ INNER tie rods??? Not the outer ones as pictured...

    Susan, I don't think they'd be bad enough that I'd really have to worry. I drove a car with ones that were almost rusted through (just before we junked it), and my father just said, "If the car suddenly veers somewhere you didn't tell it to, just slam on the brakes as hard as you can..."

    *Chuckle* Words to live by... They're NOT that expensive, but if you suspect something, I'd get a second opinion. Otherwise, maybe he's right and your squeaking sound (if it's not a mouse caught in there ) will go away...

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PZ View Post
    Usually it is the outer tie rod ends that squeak when the boots are torn. Either way there would be some play in the steering, but since it would be a gradual decline, you may not notice.
    I would also be surprised if the inners were bad, the bushings on the outers go much more frequently than the inners. Having just replaced the tie rods on mine, if I had to do the job over again, I'd just buy the complete assembly. I spent a few hours working to break apart the inner from the outer. It required I remove the inner anyhow and had to use quite a bit of heat to separate them.

  14. #13
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    Thanks so much, everybody!

    [Sorry for the delay posting back. I could've sworn I'd asked for automatic email replies when someone posted, but I guess not... yep, it's there -- "Instant mail notification"... oops, old address, my bad, fixed. -- but then it wouldn't let me post this reply until I was "authorized", which took a while.]

    The squeaking came and went for a while, but now it's very noticeable whenever I turn the wheel even just a little.

    A 2nd opinion sounds like an excellent idea. John definitely wrote down "both inner tie rods", but it's possible he meant "both inner and outer", I suppose.

    I'll read through all your posts carefully now and take them to heart. I'm also going to call the dealer tomorrow -- surprisingly enough, they're sometimes cheaper and faster (but a *lot* further away).

    Thanks again-

    -Susan

  15. #14
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    Just to note, the email notifications for PM's or thread responses do not work here on Passatworld and haven't for quite some time.

    Good luck with everything!

  16. #15
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    Definitely get it aligned after. I've done a bunch where people don't want to spend extra for the alignment and end up having their tires wear because of bad toe. Like everyone else said. Well worth the 80 dollars a pair.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by deef89 View Post
    Definitely get it aligned after. I've done a bunch where people don't want to spend extra for the alignment and end up having their tires wear because of bad toe. Like everyone else said. Well worth the 80 dollars a pair.
    Hi deef-

    Will do, thanks.

    The VW dealer said the tie rods + alignment would be between $750 & $800 -- ouch! John said somewhere in the 6-700 range, so I guess I'll have him do it.

    @jon- That's good to know about the notifications, thanks.

    And thanks again to all of you for your input!

    -Susan

  18. #17
    PZ
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    $6-700 is still too much. $60-70 for an alignment. $60 per side for parts for both inner and out tie rod ends. $160 for 2 hours of labor at the local shop rate. $350 total. Many shops will not allow you to bring your own parts as they make a 50% markup on them.

    You should update your profile to add your location. Someone may know a good shop to use that will give a better price. There are several home mechanics like me who charge half the labor a shop would.

  19. #18
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    wow , 600 !?!? i paid 175 installed plus 80 for alignment

  20. #19
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    Agree w PZ that quote appears high. I had one side done by my mechanic recently. $102 for the part [markup profit], and $65 labor. If you double this and add the alignment, total is in the $400 range to have both side professionally done.

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