Torque rods should be part of a vehicle’s routine inspection schedule. These should happen at least once a month. When performing inspections, check the following:
- Torque rod fasteners and bracket fasteners to ensure they are tightened to specification
- Bends, cracks or other damage
- Worn, torn, cut or walked out bushings
- Mounting locations for elongated holes, cracks and or other damage
Damaged torque rods can result in one of the most severe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) violations, resulting in a 7-point penalty. Damaged torque rods must be replaced immediately.
Why replace damaged torque rods?
If maintenance and inspection is overlooked, damaged torque rods could lead to:
- Unstable steering, including shaking or swaying during lane changes and wandering when driving in a straight line
- Thumping or banging sounds when decelerating or going around turns
- Increased road noise and rattling
- Universal joint (U-joint) failure
- Driveline vibrations, also known as driveline whip
- Loss of traction
- Excessive tire wear, especially feathering, cupping, and odd tread patterns
- Cracks in the frame or suspension brackets
- Excessive suspension bushing wear and premature failure
- Axle housing fatigue
- Air spring fatigue and premature failure
- Transmission and differential seal leaks
When should torque rods be replaced?
While there is not a prescribed mileage or date for replacement, routine visual inspection should tell you when a torque rod should be replaced. Replacement should occur when:
- The torque rod is bent
- There is more than 1/8 inch of movement in the rod end
- A bushing is cracked, has unequal exposure, is ruptured or otherwise damaged
- The mounting bolt hole is damaged
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