Tie rods are attached to the steering rack. They play a critical role in helping push and pull the front tires as the steering wheel is turned. There are two tie rod ends, the inner and outer, which connect to the steering knuckle and turn the front wheels. The outer tie rod end is adjustable and used to set a vehicle’s alignment angle.
To make sure the tie rods are working properly, we recommend having them checked once a year or during your alignment check. However, if your tires are wearing down or you are having erratic steering, chances are your tie rod ends are worn out and need replacement. A bad tie rod end will cause the tires to become misaligned, which will lead to tire replacement and an alignment check. If ignored long enough, it can cause substantial damage to your steering and suspension systems.
From a safety standpoint there is a large risk, because erratic driving can cause an accident. From an environmental point of view, there is low impact from a worn-out tie rod end.