What is a sway bar replacement?
During this service, a mechanic will assess the condition of your suspension to determine whether your sway bar is the piece at fault and replace the bar if necessary.
The sway bar is a steel torsion spring connected to each side of your vehicle’s suspension on a rear or front axle. It helps to counteract or resist twisting force, such as that experienced when switching lanes or rounding a corner.
When you turn your car at high speeds or are forced to perform emergency maneuvers, the sway bar is what keeps the body of your vehicle from swaying or rolling over as it leans to one side.
How to replace a sway bar
If your sway bar needs replaced, a mechanic will:
- Raise and support the vehicle on steel jack stands.
- Remove the vehicle subframe, exhaust system, and any suspension components blocking access to the sway bar.
- Remove the sway bar links to each control arm. Rubber mounts are discarded and replaced with new ones.
- Unbolt the sway bar from the car’s frame. Rubber bushings are discarded and replaced with new ones.
- Install the new sway bar to factory-shop, manual torque specifications.
While the sway bar itself does not influence or adjust your vehicle’s alignment, it is still recommended that a mechanic confirms proper vehicle alignment after any major repairs to your car’s suspension.
How do I know if my sway bar needs to be replaced?
You will need to replace your sway bar if you notice excessive corrosion, rust, or cracking along the ends or at welded joints—if left unchecked, these conditions can result in the sway bar breaking altogether.
A sway bar will also need to be replaced if it has been subjected to any serious damage, such as that from a crash or from driving over road debris. If your car begins to sway or lean more than usual while turning, this may be the issue.
How important is it that I replace the sway bar?
While you can still drive safely, albeit cautiously, with a sway bar issue, it is recommended you get it replaced at your earliest convenience. Driving with a faulty sway bar will result in increased car lean and sway when switching lanes, especially at high speeds, which may cause you to lose control and crash.
If you are unable to replace your sway bar for some time but still need to drive, take care to drive slower than normal, and avoid changing lanes whenever possible.
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