Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Stabilizer bar, Sway bar

What is a sway bar?

A sway bar is a thick round steel bar made of steel that’s formed

sway bar

Sway bar

into a “U” shape and attached at each end to the left and right wheels with a sway bar end link. It’s also referred to as roll bar, anti-sway bar, or stabilizer bar.

What does a sway bar do?

In short, a sway bar controls body roll in turns to improve a vehicle’s cornering agility and prevent the tire opposite from the turn from lifting off the pavement.

How does a sway bar work?

Here’s an example. When turning hard left, body weight shifts to the left wheels. The sway bar is attached to the left and right wheels. So the extra weight on the left front wheel exerts downward on the left portion of the sway bar. During the body roll to the left, the right front wheel and entire ride side of vehicle, having less weight upon it, would normally tend to lift up slightly.

sway bar

The sway bar prevents or at least diminishes the lift on the right side. As more downward force is placed on the left side of the sway bar, the steel bar transfers the same downward force to the right wheel.

What goes wrong with sway bars?

A sway bar generally lasts the life of the vehicle. But the rubber bushings holding the bar in place wear out. When that happens, you’ll hear a clunking sounds in turns or as body weight shifts.

Also, the sway bar ends links wear out, also causing a clunking sound. Sway bar end links and sway bar bushings are fairly inexpensive and replacing them restores more control in turns and eliminates noise.

sway bar bushings
©, 2018 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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