July Newsletter | Early Edition
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Before you head out on your summer road trip, you want to be sure that your car, truck, mini-van or SUV is safe for travel. If you have noticed uneven tire wear, a loose or vibrating steering wheel, or knocking sounds when turning at low speeds, it might be time to replace the tie rod ends. Replacing Tie Rod ends is a DIY friendly job that can help prevent loss of steering control, for a safer and more enjoyable drive.

Most Moog Tie Rod Ends feature a gusher bearing made of hardened, powdered-metal, which is not prone to the excessive wear that plastic bearings can suffer under harsh road conditions. The gusher bearing also offers greater resistance to corrosion and degradation from water, dirt and other road contaminants, giving Moog Tie Rod Ends a longer life and more reliable performance.

Moog Tie Rod Ends


For the month of July, Moog is offering RockAuto customers a 10% instant rebateStar in catalog on select Tie Rod Ends. Simply add a qualifying Moog Tie Rod End to your cart to instantly save 10% on RockAuto's reliably low prices. You can find Tie Rod Ends for your car, truck, mini-van or SUV in the "Steering" section of the RockAuto catalog.

Forum of the Month

SiennaChat.com is an online destination for owners of all generations of the Toyota Sienna minivan. You will find active discussions on general maintenance, repairs, towing and hauling, along with topics on purchasing a new or used Sienna. There is even a section on road trip and adventure tips.

If you are the administrator or member of a forum and you would like to see your website featured in an upcoming newsletter and receive a discount code to share with your members, contact marketing@rockauto.com.

Repair Mistakes & Blunders
Repair Mistakes & Blunders

Several years ago, I had a 1996 Ford Explorer with about 200k miles that was due for a rebuild of the front end. A local shop wanted about $1,200 for the job. I was retired, so I figured if I could do it in under two days, and for about $200 in parts it was worth a shot. I had a Haynes manual, and along with some online research, I planned out the appropriate steps for the repair. So I ordered upper control arms, upper and lower ball joints, tie rod ends, stabilizer links and shocks. I did one side at a time in my driveway, took my time, and easily completed the job.

I then drove the truck to an alignment shop. They put it on the rack and after about a half hour the technician came out and told me they were going to have to order special camber bolts because they could not make the adjustments far enough to get it into spec. I went into the shop and got under the car with the technician and his supervisor so I could understand what the problem was. While the tech explained it to me, the supervisor pointed up to the upper right control arm and said "There's the problem." The right control arm had an "L" on it. He confirmed the problem when we saw an "R" on the left arm. They asked if I wanted them to swap the control arms to the correct sides. I said "No...I am going to take it back to the guy who put them in wrong and let him fix it." I drove home, reinstalled them correctly, and had the alignment done the next day. The Explorer drove for many more worry free miles after that.

JP in Oklahoma

Upper Control Arms
"L" and "R" stamped on upper control arms

Tell us about your most infamous auto repair blunder or unconventional fix. Use your woe to help others avoid similar mistakes or share off-the-wall solutions that worked (at least for a while!). Please email your story to flamur@rockauto.com. Include your mailing address and if you would like a RockAuto T-Shirt (please let us know your shirt size) or Hat if we publish your story. See the T-Shirts and Hats under Tools & Universal Parts in the RockAuto catalog. The story will be credited using only your first name and your vague geographic location (state, province, country, continent, etc.) so you can remain semi-anonymous!

Automotive Trivia
Automotive Trivia

In 1982, Ford launched the two-seat EXP (Mercury LN7) which Ford proclaimed had the same "flair" as which earlier Ford model?

A. 1928 Model A

B. 1955 Thunderbird

C. 1964 GT40

D. All the above

Answer below

Trailer Tips & Tools
Tom's Story

My daughter's bagpipe band has a nice, 10ft. (3m) long trailer that has been shepherded by a string of volunteers. A couple of years ago, the trailer was dropped off at my place, and then it sat for a couple of years while COVID-19 played out. This spring, another dad with a trailer hitch equipped truck and I dusted off the trailer and got it back on the road. We of course checked the condition of the trailer's tires and light bulbs. Here are some other trailer tips/tools we discovered that might help other people who have not towed light-duty trailers recently.

Trailer Tools

Trailer Hitch Ball Size and Trailer Coupler Latch:
The most common light-duty trailer hitch balls are either 1-7/8 in. or 2 in. diameter. The diameter may be stamped on the top of the trailer hitch ball or a ruler can be used to measure it.

If the trailer hitch ball is the right size and seats snuggly in the coupler, but the trailer coupler latch will not hold the ball and coupler together, then it might be because the trailer coupler latch has loose rivets, is bent, has broken springs or is otherwise worn out. Replacing a battered trailer coupler latch usually just requires removing one large nut on the underside of the trailer's coupler.

Trailer Wiring Harness:
The electrical connector on the vehicle and/or the electrical connector on the trailer may be too dirty and the plastic/rubber too hardened to seat properly. Cleaning with hot water and then lubricating the connectors may limber them up. A Trailer Connector Tester can be plugged directly into the vehicle's connector to simplify troubleshooting by verifying the vehicle's connector does or does not have power.

The electrical connector on the bagpipe trailer tow vehicle is mounted awkwardly behind the bumper which means craning my neck and dirtying my knees. Plugging in an inexpensive wiring harness extension can move the vehicle/trailer electrical connection to a place where the Electrical Connector is more accessible.

Trailer Theft Prevention:
Look at the trailers guests have parked in hotel parking lots, and you will notice that some of the trailers are not only festooned with locks but also carefully trapped between the tow vehicle and a wall or large bush. The goal is to add multiple layers of security so the trailer is less attractive to thieves.

Installing a Trailer Coupler Lock rather than just a pin on the trailer coupler latch is a good start, but if the trailer is left hooked up to the tow vehicle then a Hitch Lock rather than just a pin also needs to hold the trailer hitch in the receiver tube on the tow vehicle. Otherwise, thieves could just pull out the trailer hitch and slip it into the receiver tube on their getaway vehicle; stealing the hitch, the trailer coupler lock and the trailer.

If the trailer is unhooked from the tow vehicle, then it is a good idea to install a Trailer Coupler Lock that covers the end of the trailer's coupler, blocking a thief from inserting his trailer hitch ball.

For the finishing touch, install a Wheel Chock Lock on at least one of the trailer's wheels. If your daughter is a bagpiper, then maybe also ask her to stand guard and use her pipes to sound the alarm as needed!

Tom Taylor,

To read more of Tom's articles, click this link and choose from story titles on the Newsletter Archives page.

Annie's 1995 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Station Wagon
Annie's 1995 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Station Wagon

I have had my 1995 Chevy Caprice Classic station wagon since early 2019. The car had been sitting for over 14 years after the original owner had passed away. It only ran a couple of times during that 14 years, so it needed... a lot of maintenance! After a couple of months of work, she was on the road again and has not stopped since! We have driven the car up and down the east coast to car shows, vacations and cruises. This car is so much fun because everyone has a story to tell! I call it the, "I remember..." moment. Everyone either had one, or knew someone who had a full size station wagon and the fun they had with the rear-facing third-row-seat! I get a chuckle when I see high priced luxury cars roll down their windows and shout "Nice Car!" along with a thumbs up!

All of this fun would not have been possible without rebuilding the cooling system, fuel system, installing new brakes, hoses, belts, plugs and wires and oil and fuel filters. Fortunately, RockAuto.com has everything we needed to piece her back together to make her run cool and smooth. All of the suspension components were available as well - bushings, shocks, rods, bearings, and lube to make her ride like a dream going down the highway.

Annie in North Carolina

Share Your Hard Work
Do you purchase parts from RockAuto? If so, RockAuto would like to give you the opportunity to have your car or truck possibly featured in one (or occasionally more) of our publications such as the monthly newsletter, collector magnets, RockAuto social media or other commercial use. New, old, import, domestic, daily driver, trailer queen, classic, antique, we want to see them all! For submission instructions and tips for taking pictures of your car, please visit our Photography Tips & Submission Info page

Automotive Trivia Answer
Automotive Trivia

In 1982, Ford launched the two-seat EXP (Mercury LN7) which Ford proclaimed had the same "flair" as which earlier Ford model?

A. 1928 Model A

Answer: B. 1955 Thunderbird (source: https://www.hemmings.com/... )

C. 1964 GT40

D. All the above

Mercury LN7

Back up to trivia question