Track rod ends
My Ford Fiesta is four years’ old and has 23,000 miles. I have just had an MOT advisory about slight play in the offside track rod end balljoint. In your experience, would you think it best to change both sides?
Also, I will be using genuine Ford parts. If I make sure the replacement is fitted in the same position – ie, if I fit the lock nut and wind it the same amount of threads, etc – do I need to have the tracking checked? Roy Middleton For the wear to be only an advisory, I would expect it to be minimal at the moment, although the play will increase in time. As the vehicle is only four years old and with low mileage, this is quite early for the track rod ends to wear.
In theory, removing one track rod end and replacing it with another which is wound up to the same point should not alter the tracking. In practice, I have found this is not always the case and would advise you to check the tracking after replacing the part.
It is normally the nearside track rod end which wears first, as it takes the occasional tap against the kerb, etc. Because the cost of having the tracking checked will be greater than the cost of a new track rod end, I would say replace both as a preventive measure before having the tracking checked.