- The outer tie rod boot on a Subaru is a crucial component of the steering system that helps protect the tie rod from dirt and debris.
- It is a rubber or plastic cover that fits over the outer tie rod end and keeps dirt, water, and other contaminants from entering the joint.
- A damaged outer tie rod boot can lead to premature wear and tear on the tie rod end, which can cause steering problems and even safety issues.
- It is important to regularly inspect your outer tie rod boots for signs of damage and replace them as needed to ensure your vehicle’s safety and performance.
If you own a Subaru, you may already be familiar with the outer tie rod boot, or maybe you’ve never heard of it before. In either case, it’s important to understand what this component is and why it matters. The outer tie rod boot plays a critical role in protecting the tie rod end, ensuring it remains free from dirt and debris that can cause premature wear and tear. So, what exactly does an outer tie rod boot on Subaru look like, and how can you tell if it needs to be replaced? In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about outer tie rod boots on Subaru vehicles.
What is an Outer Tie Rod Boot?
Before we get into what an outer tie rod boot on a Subaru looks like, let’s first understand what it is and why it’s important. The outer tie rod end is where the steering system connects to the wheel, and it’s responsible for transferring force from the steering gear to the wheel. The tie rod end connects to the steering knuckle through a ball and socket joint, which allows it to move and pivot as the vehicle turns. This joint is covered by the outer tie rod boot, which is a rubber or plastic cover that fits snugly over the joint to protect it from dirt, water, and other contaminants that can cause premature wear and tear.
What Does an Outer Tie Rod Boot on Subaru Look Like?
Now that we know what an outer tie rod boot is, let’s take a closer look at what it looks like on a Subaru. Outer tie rod boots on Subaru vehicles are typically black and made of rubber or plastic material. They are shaped like a cone and fit tightly over the tie rod end joint, with a smaller opening on the inside and a larger opening on the outside. The smaller end fits snugly around the tie rod end, while the larger end extends outward to cover the joint, protecting it from dirt, water, and other contaminants.
Signs of a Damaged Outer Tie Rod Boot
While outer tie rod boots are designed to last for a long time, they can become damaged over time due to wear and tear or exposure to the elements. When this happens, it’s important to replace the boot as soon as possible to prevent damage to the tie rod end and avoid steering problems. Here are some signs that your outer tie rod boot may be damaged and in need of replacement:
- Cracks or tears in the rubber or plastic material
- Leaking grease around the joint
- Excessive play or movement in the joint
- Clicking or popping sounds when turning the steering wheel
- Uneven tire wear or steering problems
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic who can determine if the outer tie rod boot needs to be replaced.
How to Replace an Outer Tie Rod Boot
If you’re handy with tools and have some experience working on cars, you may be able to replace the outer tie rod boot yourself. However, it’s important to note that this can be a challenging job, and it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. Here are the basic steps involved in replacing an outer tie rod boot:
- Lift the vehicle and remove the tire
- Remove the cotter pin and loosen the nut on the tie rod end
- Use a ball joint separator tool to remove the tie rod end from the steering knuckle
- Remove the old boot from the tie rod end and clean the joint thoroughly
- Install the new boot, making sure it fits snugly over the joint
- Reconnect the tie rod end to the steering knuckle and tighten the nut
- Install a new cotter pin and reattach the tire
- Lower the vehicle and test the steering to ensure everything is working properly
Keep in mind that this is a general overview, and the specific steps involved may vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model. If you’re unsure of how to replace an outer tie rod boot, it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic.
The outer tie rod boot on your Subaru may not be the most glamorous component of your vehicle’s steering system, but it’s an important one. By protecting the tie rod end from dirt and debris, the outer tie rod boot helps ensure your vehicle’s steering remains responsive and safe. Regularly inspecting your boots for signs of damage and replacing them as needed can go a long way in keeping your vehicle running smoothly and safely.
Q: How long do outer tie rod boots last?
A: Outer tie rod boots are designed to last for a long time, typically around 100,000 miles or more. However, they can become damaged before this, especially if they are exposed to harsh weather conditions or other factors that cause wear and tear.
Q: What happens if I don’t replace a damaged outer tie rod boot?
A: If you don’t replace a damaged outer tie rod boot, dirt, water, and other contaminants can enter the joint and cause premature wear and tear on the tie rod end. This can lead to steering problems, uneven tire wear, and even safety issues.
Q: Can I drive my Subaru with a damaged outer tie rod boot?
A: While it’s possible to drive your Subaru with a damaged outer tie rod boot, it’s not recommended. Over time, the damage can worsen and lead to more serious issues with your vehicle’s steering system. It’s best to have the boot replaced as soon as possible to avoid any potential safety issues.