What does a sway bar do? Often, this question is like a puzzle for people. There are many different parts used in a vehicle’s suspension assembly, such as control arms, ball joints, and sway bars. All these parts of the vehicle’s suspension assembly have their own functions.
Similarly, the sway bar is also an important component in the suspension assembly. Sway bars in vehicles are often Sway bars in vehicles are often “U”-shaped. But sometimes many problems related to the sway bar are seen in the vehicle, which if not resolved on time can cause abnormal noise in the suspension system.
Through this article, you will learn about sway bars in detail, like what a sway bar is, how it works, the symptoms of a bad sway bar, and how much a sway bar replacement can cost.
What Is A Sway Bar?
A sway bar is a component used in a vehicle’s suspension system, also known as an anti-roll bar. Sway bars are made in the shape of a U in most vehicles. The main function of a sway bar is to reduce the amount of body roll or lean during cornering.
Often, when a vehicle is cornered while in motion, it tends to lean to one side. In the suspension system of vehicles, the sway bar connects the right and left wheels of the vehicle.
The sway bar is helpful in distributing the forces of vehicle weight transfer equally on both sides of the vehicle, irrespective of the direction in which the vehicle is being turned under any circumstances. Sway bars help in improving the handling and stability of the vehicle, which helps in greater control and balance of the vehicle.
What Does A Sway Bar Do?
A sway bar is a vital component in the suspension system of a vehicle, also known as a stabilizer bar or anti-roll bar. It is designed to improve vehicle stability and handling during cornering. The main function of the sway bar is to reduce body roll or swing when the vehicle turns, helping all four wheels of the vehicle maintain optimal contact with the road surface.
In a vehicle’s suspension system, a sway bar connects the left and right wheels to an axle with links or bushings and spans the width of the vehicle. When the vehicle turns, centrifugal forces attempt to transfer the weight of the vehicle to the outside wheels, causing the vehicle body to roll. This is where the sway bar comes into play. It counteracts this weight transfer by transmitting force from the outside wheel to the inside wheel, effectively counteracting body roll.
By reducing vehicle body roll during turns, a sway bar increases stability and improves overall traction. This results in more stable and controlled handling and a reduced risk of rollover, especially when the vehicle is in challenging road conditions or taking turns.
Symptoms Of A Bad Sway Bar
Symptoms of a bad sway bar include excessive body rotation during turns, loss of stability and control, floating while driving, abnormal tire wear, and rattling or clunking noises on rough roads. Additionally, a damaged sway bar can affect the handling and safety of your vehicle.
Let us learn about these symptoms one by one, so that you can easily identify a bad sway bar.
1. Excessive Body Roll
If the sway bar in a vehicle’s suspension system is damaged or not working properly, the vehicle will lean more to one side when cornering while in motion, making the vehicle more difficult to stabilize and control. Due to this, the handling of the vehicle is also affected.
2. Uneven Tire Wear
If your vehicle’s sway bar is not working properly, it can lead to uneven tire wear on both sides of your vehicle because, due to the malfunction of the sway bar, the inner wheels are on the outer wheels of the vehicle. There is more load and pressure than However, there can be many other reasons for uneven tire wear, which should be investigated in depth.
3. Clunking or Rattling Noises
If the sway bar bushing or link in your vehicle’s suspension system is worn or damaged. So driving the vehicle over bumps or rough surfaces causes a clunking or rattling noise from the sway bar.
If the sway bar link is broken or damaged, you will feel the complete suspension failure of the vehicle, as the sway bar link makes the vehicle more noisy when driving on bad surfaces.
4. Pull A Side
If the sway bar in your vehicle’s suspension system is bent or damaged, it can cause the vehicle to pull to one side while driving, as a bent or damaged sway bar can throw the vehicle out of balance, causing the vehicle to drive on a straight road. Also, keeping the vehicle in a straight line can be difficult.
5. Reduced Handling & Stability
A damaged or bent sway bar on your vehicle can also decrease your vehicle’s handling and stability, making the vehicle feel less responsive and less predictable, as it can cause your vehicle to lean to one side when cornering and lose balance. can affect you badly.
Causes Of A Sway Bar Damage & Failure
Causes of a bad sway bar include breakdown impact, impact damage, corrosion impact, improper installation, a bent sway bar, or a lack of maintenance.
1. Breakdown Effect
In the suspension system of any vehicle, the sway bar weakens over time, which makes it more prone to bending, and the bushings and links connecting the sway bar to the suspension can wear out over time. This can cause the sway bar to become loose or disconnected, severely affecting the way the sway bar functions.
2. Impact Damage
A sway bar that connects to your vehicle’s suspension can get damaged if the vehicle is involved in an accident or the wheel of the vehicle hits a big rock on the road or goes out of a pothole while at high speed. These factors can also negatively affect the functioning of the sway bar.
3. Get Rust Effect
The sway bar in a vehicle’s suspension is often installed under the vehicle, and the sway bar is constantly exposed to water and other debris, which can cause the sway bar to rust. Corrosion can weaken and incapacitate the sway bar over time. Therefore, the sway bar can become weak due to corrosion, and its functioning can be completely affected.
4. Improper Installation
Improper installation of your vehicle’s suspension sway bar can also cause sway bar failure. Because improperly installed sway bars can cause problems with the suspension, including uneven tire wear or decreased vehicle handling and stability.
5. Bent Sway Bar
If the sway bar of your vehicle is bent due to any reason, even then, the sway bar is unable to maintain the tilt and balance of the vehicle. So due to the bent sway bar, you can pull the vehicle to one side while driving, and while turning the vehicle, the vehicle will lean more to one side.
6. Lack Of Maintenance
The bushings and links of the suspension sway bars in vehicles require lubrication from time to time. If timely sway bar maintenance is neglected, it can adversely affect the functioning of your vehicle’s sway bar. Sway bar links and bushings wear out more quickly without lubrication over a long period of time.
When Should Sway Bar Links And Bushings Be Replaced?
There is no set time to replace the sway bar links and bushings in any vehicle. because changing sway bar links and bushings depends on many factors. But you can identify the symptoms of failure of the sway bar and its related parts.
If this failure symptom is related to the sway bar’s links and bushing, then you will need to replace the sway bar and associated parts. Because the links and bushing of the sway bar can be damaged, the entire functioning of the sway bar can fail completely.
How To Replace Sway Bar
Gather materials and proper tools: To replace the sway bar of the vehicle, all the necessary tools have to be gathered, such as
- Jack and Jack Stands
- Wrenches:Socket Set
- Torque Wrench
- Sway Bar Link Tool
- New Sway Bar
Replace Sway Bar Process
- First of all, you have to raise the vehicle with a jack and place the jack stand under the vehicle for safety.
- After this, find the location of the sway bar. Often in vehicles the sway bar is located lower towards the front of the vehicle.
- After this, with the help of a wrench, open the nuts on the joint links of the sway bar and separate the links from the sway bar.
- Then free the sway bar from the bushing by loosening the nuts on the bushing cover.
- Then install the new sway bar with the new bushings into the vehicle, but align the bushings properly.
- Next, reinstall the sway bar links. For that, you need to tighten the nuts of the sway bar links with the help of a wrench.
- After this, lift the vehicle with a jack and remove the jack stand.
- Now take a test drive to ensure the performance of the sway bar.
- Through this process, you can change the save bar.
Sway Bar Replacement Cost
On average, you can expect the replacement cost of a sway bar to be between $130 and $200, including the cost of a mechanic’s labor. Taxes and fees have not been included in this estimated cost.
Normal cars and other vehicles can expect sway bars replacement cost between $80 and $120 on average, and the labor cost for replacement by a mechanic can be between $50 and $80.
The replacement cost of a sway bar depends more on the model of the vehicle and the mechanic’s labor rates and location.
You can save some on mechanic labor costs if you have an independent mechanic replace the sway bar instead of a certified garage mechanic. But if you have experience with sway bar replacement and have the right tools, you can replace it yourself, saving the mechanic’s labor cost.
Q. Can you drive without sway bar?
It is not safe to drive a vehicle without sway bar, because without sway bar your vehicle’s steering system is not fully activated, which can lead to loss of control of your vehicle during high speed and also vehicles without sway bar will lean more to one side while turning.
Q. Is a Sway Bar Worth Replacing?
If you hear a screeching or knocking noise while your vehicle is running, then you should replace the sway bar links and bushings. But if your vehicle’s steering system is also being affected by this, then you should consider replacing the sway bar.
Q. What happens when a sway bar breaks?
If your vehicle’s sway bar has broken or failed during high speed. So this situation can become the cause of an accident for you and the vehicle. Because the sway bar of the vehicle breaking while moving at high speed can suddenly spoil the control of your vehicle.
Q How many sway bars are there in a car?
The sway bar in vehicles depends on the model of the vehicle. Some vehicles have one sway bar, and some vehicles may have two or more sway bars. Two links are attached to each end of a sway bar.
Banty is the owner of Autorepairszone.com & is also a vehicle mechanic by profession. We have almost 12 years of experience in the field of automotive repair, and we strive to provide you with accurate information about vehicle malfunctions and repairs based on our experience.