how to check bad tie rods?
so i have a 97 grand prix and i ran over something by a construction site near my house. i think one of the tie rods may have gotten loose or broken. ever since then my car has been awfully shaky, my steering is all over the place and one of the wheels slightly points a diffrent way from the other. just seeing if anyone knew how i could check the tie rods at home with minimal tools and also if these symtomps sound like it could be anything else. thank you!
Those symptoms do sound like a tie rod, you can visually inspect them to make sure the ball and socket joint is still intact, that the boot cover is still in place and not ripped, that the rods themselves haven't been bent. Tie rods directly impact steering and toe/camber of the wheels. Symptoms include shaky steering/vibration, loose/sloppy steering, bad alignment/toe. If there is no visible damage to the tie rods the only real way to tell if they are bad is by following the same procedure for a wheel alignment. You don't mention any noise coming from them, but that doesn't mean they can't still be bad. Based on your description I would suspect tie rods as well, although I'd inspect everything else too, ball joints, sway links, upper/lower control arms...
thank you!!! ill go ahead and see if i can check all of that. i really appreciate the help.
Glad to be of help, and if you decide to replace the tie rods yourself be sure to get an alignment.
Sounds like you hit something awfully hard. I hope it is only a bent or broken tie rod, but I do fear for your safety and the safety of others. Be certain you have found the problem before driving this car anywhere and definitely do have it professionally aligned and inspected before going too far with it. Aside from the safety factors, it will eat tires like there's no tomorrow if the front end is not tracking properly.
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