Sway Bar (Anti Roll Bar) Problems, Symptoms, Cost
A sway bar (also known as a stabilizer bar, anti-roll bar, anti-sway bar) is used to keep the car body from leaning excessively in the wrong direction during turns. The sway bar is made of steel. It fastens to both lower control arms and to the frame or it can also be fastened across from one strut tower to the other strut tower. A sway bar is designed to twist. Think of a sway bar as a spring that can twist. Rubber bushings are usually fitted between the sway bar and the control arms. Brackets and bushing are used to secure the bar to the control arms or the sway bar end links connect it to the strut.
Front and rear sway bar bushing and links can be purchased online at a fraction of dealer prices.
What does a sway bar do?
When a vehicle turns a corner, centrifugal force makes the outside of the body drop and the inside of the body rise. This twists the sway bar. The bar’s resistance to this twisting motion limits body leans in corners. Like most components of the suspension; the sway bar helps stabilize the vehicle during turning. If the sway bar happens were to break or has a severely deteriorated bushing the vehicle will lose stability during turning. This will cause the body to lean more in the oposite direction than the one it is turning. It is considered dangerous as this reduction in stability can lead to the loss of control and result in a possible accident or collision.
Symptoms of bad sway bar
Some of the common symptoms of a bad sway bar bushing and sway bar link are:
- clunking noise,
- rattling noise,
- knocking noise uneven road,
- lack of stability when driving and noise going over speed bumps
- poor handling during turns.
Broken Sway Bar
If your sway bar end links are broken, you can still drive the car. The problem is that you will notice excessive body roll when making turns at speeds over 30 mph. This can make the vehicle unstable. If your sway bar bushings or links broke while driving, drive the car home or to a mechanic. You should drive carefully but more importantly, slow down when taking a highway exit ramp. This is when you will notice the body roll the most. At slow speeds or in neighborhood driving you will not even notice the missing sway bar link.
Worn Sway Bar Bushing or Links
If the sway bar is worn out but still intact, you can drive the car normally. The downside is that you will hear squeaking or clunking noise when you hit any bumps or pot holes. Worn out sway bar bushings can make the car feel like it has loose or light steering at high speeds.
Troubleshooting sway bar problems
First, determine where the noise is coming from. Do not confuse deteriorated sway bar bushing noise from surrounding suspension noises. Lift the vehicle with a floor jack and safely place the vehicle on a jack stand. Be mindful when doing this. Locate the sway bar and inspect the bushing. The bushing should not be torn and should be in good condition. Next grab the sway bar and move it side to side. If there slight movement, the sway bushing has deteriorated. Moreover, inspect the sway bar link for deteriorated rubber. There should be limited movement. Again, grab the sway bar link and move it up and down. If there is excessive movement; replace the sway bar link.
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between bad sway bar bushings and bad sway bar end links. Keep in mind that sway bar bushings will produce a squeaky noise when you go over speed bumps. While the sway bar links will make a clunk or thum when you hit a pot hole . Stabilizer bar links can be easily checked and if they are loose they are damgaed .
Sway bar bushings may not be as easy to tell they are bad because they sometimes will shrink before they start to crack.
How to change sway bar end link
Replacing the sway bar link is very easy. Watch the following video on how to change the sway bar.
Sway Bar Replacement Cost
Typical cost to change the front sway bar bushings and links ranges between $450 and $900 depending on make and model. The good news is that the parts themseves are very cheap, espically if you buy them online. Typical cost of front sway bar links and bushings is under $100. Sometimes you can even upgrade the stabilizer bar and links for better handling. Replacing the sway bar bushings yourself is easy and can be done in your driveway. In most cases it is not required to perform front wheel aliment if you are only replacing the sway bar parts.
Buy Sway Bar Parts
Use the search below to find cheap sway bar parts such as end links, bushings, and brackets.
Can you drive a car with bad sway bar end links or bushing?
Yes but it is not recommended. Vehcile stabily will be reduced and you will hear noises from the suspention. We often see car owners drive their cars for months and even years with worn sway bar links or bushings. Often times they don't even know that their anti sway bar links and bushings are worn.
Can you drive a car without a stabilizer bar or disconnected sway bar link?
Yes. A car can be driven without sway bar bushings, but the chances of you losing control of the vehicle while making a turn at the high-speed increase. You will feel excessive body roll when exing the highway, driving on curvy roads. Slow down before entering an exit or entry ramp. Replace the sway bar link as soon as possible.