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Leo, Auto Service Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 770
Experience:  2005 Dodge ASE master technician of the year
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How do I tell if outer or inner tie rod is bad

Customer Question

I had my tires changed, and the place called me and told me I had a bad tie rod on the passenger side. I need to be able to tell if its outer or inner so my brother in law can fix it and I know what part to buy from the auto parts store.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Leo replied 9 years ago.

Hi, and welcome to just answer!

If you have the equipment to safely jack the front end up (don't trust the jack that came with the car). Get the wheel up high enough so it just clears the ground.. Now have a helper wiggle the wheel side to side. Watch the outer tie rod end, if you see it moving in relation to the steering knuckle, it's the outer.

If you can feel play in the wheel, but the outer tie doesn't have any play in it, then it's the inner tie rod end.

If you don't have the equipment to jack it up, you can still check it. With the car on the ground, steer the wheels all the way to the left. You should then be able to see the tie rod behind the passenger side wheel, have a helper turn the wheel back and forth (say 1/8 of a turn) repeatedly and watch the outer tie rod.. if you can see any play in it, that would also indicate the outer tie rod is bad.

The easiest option would to give the tire store a ring, they should be more than happy to tell you if it was the inner or the outer that was loose if your unsure.