What Are Sway Bar Links in Vehicles?

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A vehicle’s suspension is made up of many different components, all of which work together to ensure that the vehicle handles safely and isolates the occupants from road irregularities like bumps and dips. Suspension components include sway bars, sway bar links, shocks, springs and control arms, among others. Sway bar links are an important part of a vehicle’s sway bar. A sway bar link cannot be properly described without first knowing what a sway bar is.

Sway Bar Function

  • A sway bar, also know as an anti-roll bar, is a critical part of a car or truck’s suspension that reduces body roll during cornering. When a vehicle is driven around a corner at speed, the inside of the vehicle lifts as weight is transferred to the outside of the corner. A sway bar is a rigid piece of tubular steel that connects the two opposing sides of the front or rear suspension. As the vehicle is driven around a corner, the sway bar acts a lever and forces the inside wheel towards the ground, reducing body roll.

Sway Bar Link Description

  • The sway bar is fastened to the car with a sway bar link. The link is fastened to the sway bar with a bushing and nut on one end and bolted to the suspension on the other end. Sway bar links are usually 4 to 6 inches in length, though this can vary, and are located at 90 degrees to the sway bar.

Symptoms of a Bad Sway Bar Link

  • Sway bar links can break, become bent or suffer from worn out bushings. If a sway bar link is damaged or not working properly, it can adversely affect the handling of the vehicle. This is particularly true if they are broken, since the sway bar will then not be fastened to the vehicle’s suspension and functioning properly. Broken links or worn bushings can make clunks and squeaks as well.

Replacing Sway Bar Links

  • Replacing a sway bar link is generally an easy task. Raise the vehicle with a floor jack at the corner where the sway bar link that needs to be replaced is located. Support the vehicle with a floor jack. Locate the sway bar and the end link. Unbolt the end link from the sway bar by removing the nut that holds it on with a socket and a ratchet. Remove the other end in the same manner from the suspension. Pull the link off and install the new one in the reverse of removal.

Sway Bar Link Cost

  • Sway bar links are generally relatively inexpensive, though the cost depends on the make and model of car. Sway bar links range from $15 to $40.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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