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Q: Tie rod broke, scared to drive truck now

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A tie rod just broke in my Dodge Ram 1500. The truck is from 2011 and only has 50,000 miles on it! Is this normal? If the truck were traveling at a higher speed when the rod broke there could have been a serious accident. Is there anything I could have done to cause the break? Is the truck safe once the rod is replaced or is this a sign that other steering parts are not working right?

A: The failure was most likely caused by water...

The failure was most likely caused by water intrusion. Dodge has released customer satisfaction letter L04 that outlines the issue that you have experienced. The letter states that vehicles shipped to cold weather climates allow water ingression; thus causing wear in the sockets, which then causes a rattle in certain conditions. This letter also indicates that replacing both tie rod ends is needed. Generally speaking, any ball and socket type joint, like a tie rod end or ball joint will commonly cause a rattle noise over bumps when worn and can be an indicator that there is an issue. Other than impact during an accident, there is almost nothing that you could have done to cause the wear and progressive failure. The original part does not have grease fittings, but some of the replacements do, so ensure that they get greased at oil changes. This is not normally an indication that other steering or suspension parts are worn, but it is important to make sure. A comprehensive steering and suspension inspection will be the best way to know for sure.

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