What to know about the Center (Drag) Link:
The center link, also known as a drag link, converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel of a vehicle into the corresponding direction of the wheels when turning. You can see the drag link connected to the pitman arm, which attaches to the steering column. The other end of the drag link connects to the steering arm and eventually to the tie rods, which play a major part in pivoting the wheels that steer the vehicle.
In some vehicles, the drag link joins directly to the tie rod assembly via a ball joint instead of to a steering arm. Drag links come in either a solid single-piece or as an adjustable design.
Facts to Note:
In addition to the drag link, your expert mechanic will also inspect the ball joints connecting the drag link to the pitman arm and the steering arm or tie rod assembly for wear or cracking.
Many drag links feature replaceable ends so you do not have to change the whole part.
One of your expert mechanics will also check the shocks and struts when inspecting the drag link to make sure these parts remain in good condition.
How to Fix:
The vehicle front wheels are turned straight and the vehicle is lifted and placed on jack stands
The defective center drag link is taken out
The new center drag link is fixed
The vehicle is taken away from jack stands
The vehicle is road tested and checked for proper steering operation
By observing your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule, you should have the linkage beneath the vehicle, including the drag link, checked whenever you have the vehicle lubed. Most often, though, today’s ball joints, tie rods, and other parts are sealed and require little to no maintenance. In this case, have one of your expert mechanics inspect the drag link when performing a tire rotation or change, a vehicle alignment, or whenever your vehicle shows symptoms that might mean a problem is developing with the drag link or any of its related parts.
When inspecting the drag link, the mechanic will look for any excessive play, a strong sign that the part needs replacing.
Common symptoms indicating you may need to change the Center (Drag) Link:
Vibration while driving
Wobbling while driving
Importance of this service:
The drag link is an essential part in the working of your vehicle. A faulty drag link can cause your vehicle to vibrate or wobble while driving, affecting the handling, stability, and alignment of the vehicle, making it more difficult to drive. If the faulty drag link is not changed, the vehicle will eventually become inoperable.