Car: 2006 scion tc

So the other day I had a problem, as I was driving, I hit a hard bump, my passenger side tie rod then fell out (I assume it wasn't screwed in correctly from the last time it was replace) my right tire then turned all the way to the left and I skidded to a stop. After, I inspected the tie rod, it looked good with no signs of damage, the inner and outer part were still locked in position by he nut, and the threaded ball joint that screws into the steering rack looked fine too. I screwed the tie rod back in, tightened everything down so I could drive it home down the street, but I realized the alignment was way off. When my steering wheel was in the middle it would veer to the right, only by turning the wheel about 15 degrees to the left I was able to go straight. I checked the alignment by sight and realized when the steering wheel was centered the right wheel stuck out to the right by about 5 cm or so. My question is, even though the inner and outer tie rods seenmed to be in the same place after it popped out, why would my alignment be off? Could there be any other thing affecting it at all? Thank you, feel free to ask for clarification if I may not have explained anything enough. Also the pic shows how the passenger side tire sticks out about 5cm to the right when the wheel is centered, compared to the drivers side which is straight

Tire alignment when straight

  • What is the year/make/model of the car? This matters for a couple of different reasons, but mainly to ensure we give you the best answer possible. Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 0:26
  • 2006 scion tc, I'll update the question my bad
    – Iqbal Khan
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


From your comment, the inner tie rod came out of the rack.

First inspect the end of the joint and the rack and pinon. It would have taken some time for the joint to work its way lose. This may have cause ware on the threads and end of the joint. Hopefully the boot is still in one piece. Be careful when reinstalling the joint. Getting an inner tie rod end screwed in tightly is tough without the right specialty tools. The joint should have a locking mechanism such as a plate with tangs that get bent over or a set screw. If this joint has none of that then use RED locktight.

Another cause could be that something was damaged or is lose from the wheel jerking over when the tie rod came out. Inspect the rest of the suspension for loose or bent parts.

Finally get an alignment. Be sure to get a before and after print out. Look for the caster or camber to be out which could indicate bent parts.

  • The outer tie rod isn't what came loose, it was the inner tie rod that somehow unscrewed itself from the steering rack assembly. I examined the threads and there was nothing wrong, I may have to examine the steering rack part which It screws in to. And I was thinking the same thing, as in other parts may be damaged. Going to do a run down and check everything, and opt for an alignment soon either way, thanks for the input!
    – Iqbal Khan
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 3:29
  • @IqbalKhan I updated my answer.
    – vini_i
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 10:37
  • Thanks for the update, going to definitely pick up some locktight. And inspect the rack and pinion more. Luckily the boot was still good at least. It does have a locking mechanism, same thing as you said, a plate with two tangs, and from the old tie rod it looked like the ends of the plate were bent over the flat edges on the inner tie rod end, bent them down all the way to make it secure as i could. Will keep updated!
    – Iqbal Khan
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 15:00

Assuming the track rods and ends have not spun separately and caused the alignment issue. It's likely that as one wheel hit the hole & the other has snatched to full lock when the joint popped out, that a lot of energy has been put through the rack assembly, quite often what happens is that the clamps that secure the rack to the bulkhead have bent on one side and thus the rack is now sitting higher on one side reducing the length on the other, skewing the wheel angle.

Also the track rods & their threads may have stretched or even bent so check everything including track rod lengths etc when you have the opportunity.

Also make sure the rack has no tight spots when the track rods are disconnected.

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