Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Drag Link

A drag link is a suspension linkage component that is found in vehicles equipped with steering gear type steering systems. Drag links are most commonly found on larger trucks and vans, and serve as the component that links the vehicle’s steering gear box to the tie rod ends. One side of the drag link connects onto the pitman arm, and the other connects to a fixed pivot point while the ends connect to the tie rods. When the steering wheel is turned, the drag link transfers the rotating motion from the gearbox to the wheels so that the vehicle can be steered. As the drag link is one of the central components to the entire steering system, when it fails or has any problems, it can cause issues with the vehicle’s handling. Usually a bad or failing drag link will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Abnormal tire wear

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the drag link is abnormal tire wear. If the vehicle’s drag link wears out at the ends, it may cause the tires to wear unevenly. The tires may wear at an accelerated rate on the inside or outside of the tread. This will not only reduce the service life of the tire, but will also put additional stress and wear on the other steering components as well.

2. Steering wheel play or vibration

Another symptom of a bad or failing drag link is play in the steering wheel. If the drag link wears out or develops any play at any of its linkage points, it may be felt as play in the steering wheel. Depending on the amount of play, the vehicle may also experience shimmy or vibration in the steering wheel when the vehicle is in motion.

3. Steering drifts to the left or right

A bad or failing drag link can also cause the vehicle’s steering to wander when it is in motion. The vehicle may drift to the left or right on its own when traveling down the road. This will require the driver to have to constantly correct steering in order to maintain control of the vehicle, and may even make the vehicle unsafe to drive.

The drag link is one of the most important steering components for vehicles equipped with steering gear type steering systems. It links together several of the steering components and can greatly affect the handling of the vehicle if it has an issue. If you suspect that your vehicle’s drag link may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your vehicle needs a drag link replacement.


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Dan

39 years of experience
975 reviews
Dan
39 years of experience
Toyota Camry L4-2.2L - Oxygen Sensor Replacement (Rear/Lower/Downstream) - Cumming, Georgia
Very satisfied with the work performed. On time with a fixed quote before any work was done. This was a recent used care purchase. Dan Barber only replaced the part I needed (Oxygen Sensor) and did not try to upsell me. I also had a 75 point inspection done on this 1999 Toyota Camry. I have the full report along with the peace of mind knowing that I am in a safe vehicle and can schedule Dan's recommendations of repairs at my convenience.
Toyota Sequoia - Oil Change - Alpharetta, Georgia
Very convenient service with a knowledgeable mechanic. Would use this service again and recommend it to others.

Dustin

8 years of experience
65 reviews
Dustin
8 years of experience
Lexus IS250 V6-2.5L - Steering Inspection - Spring, Texas
Highly knowledgeable and very professional. Dustin had dealer-quality diagnostic equipment and I'm confident of his assessment. Will request him again when needed.

Michael

9 years of experience
28 reviews
Michael
9 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Steering Inspection - Tehachapi, California
Michael showed up on time. Was very knowledgeable, courteous, and thorough. He pin pointed the problem and shared his recommendations. I would definitely call him again

John

36 years of experience
434 reviews
John
36 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.4L - Steering Inspection - Sacramento, California
John was very professional, knowledgeable. We drove around the block and he pen pointed the problem after hearing and a few questions. Definitely want John back for follow ups and and car issues.

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