Hi Paul, I own a 2005 Subaru Forester and have enjoyed it for the last three years. Now it makes a strange rattling noise in front and my steering feels loose. A mechanic near my home says I have to change the tie rods (obukono) but I can’t afford the expense for now. What are tie rods and why are they got damaged? Can I delay the fixing for another three months or is there a temporary solution? Grace Nakabuye.
Hello Grace, the steering symptoms you describe suggest that your tie rod ends or steering linkage have failed. Tie rods or tie rod ends are found on a rack and pinion car steering system like yours. Tie rods are the connection of your steering system to the wheels. They help push or pull the wheels as you turn the steering. They play an important role in the vehicle steering and car safety. Tie rod ends have a ball and socket joint at their ends which help to give your steering some limited flexibility. Tie rods are built to last some years and will fail due to normal wear and tear when you drive over potholes or rocky road patches. They can also fail due to accidents or fitting of poor quality counterfeits or aged used ones. Postponing replacement of tie rods is a feeble attempt to delay danger, they could fail any time and this will endanger the lives of your car occupants. Worn out tie rods can lead to the damage or premature wear of other car components such as the front stabilizer and tyres.
Overall your steering will feel unresponsive and you will suffer anxiety from uncomfortable front rattle as you drive. The attempt to temporarily fix the tie rods by pressing their ball joints is not only (unlikely to work), but also increases the likelihood of catastrophic failure and accelerated damage of other car components mentioned above.