What is the Center (Drag) Link all about?
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 find 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 connects 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.
Keep in mind:
- In addition to the drag link, our expert mechanic will also check 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 replace the whole part.
- One of our expert mechanics will also inspect the shocks and struts when checking the drag link to make sure these parts remain in good shape.
How it’s done:
- The vehicle front wheels are turned straight and the vehicle is lifted and supported on jack stands
- The defective center drag link is removed
- The new center drag link is installed
- The vehicle is removed from jack stands
- The vehicle is road tested and checked for proper steering operation
By following your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule, you should have the linkage beneath the vehicle, including the drag link, inspected 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 our expert mechanics inspect the drag link when performing a tire rotation or change, a vehicle alignment, or whenever your vehicle displays symptoms that might indicate a problem is developing with the drag link or any of its related components.
When inspecting the drag link, the mechanic will look for any excessive play, a strong indicator that the part needs replacing.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Center (Drag) Link?
- Vibration while driving
- Wobbling while driving
How important is this service?
The drag link is an important component in the operation 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 replaced, the vehicle will eventually become inoperable.