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Symptoms of Bad Sway Bar Links

What Is a Sway Bar?

Part of the suspension system, a sway bar is a metal rod that runs across the width of the vehicle and connects to the vehicle’s wheels. Also known as anti-roll bar, stabilizer bar or anti-sway bar, sway bars enable the suspension to flex as the vehicle is turning to help reduce body roll and leaning. Found on the front and/or back of the vehicle, sway bars deliver the handling and stability needed to maintain vehicle control.

What Are Sway Bar Links?

As the name implies, sway bar links are a suspension part that connects the sway bar to the control arms, steering knuckles or struts in the front and the control arms or frame in the rear. These connective parts are located on the outer ends of the sway bar on both sides of the vehicle. All modern vehicles have a front sway bar, and some have an additional rear sway bar, so a vehicle could have up to four sway bar links – one for each wheel.


What Do Sway Bar Links Do?

Sway bar links help maintain vehicle stability by connecting the sway bar to the frame or other suspension components. These small but important parts smooth out the movement of the sway bar when it is in motion by leveling the force between the bar and the control arm. Front links can help reduce leaning while turning and smooth out the ride while going over rough surfaces while rear links deliver stability.

Signs of Bad Sway Bar Links

Symptoms of a bad sway bar link can be the same warning signs of other failing steering and suspension parts. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your trusted auto technician to diagnose the source of the problem.


Clunking Noises

A metallic clunking or knocking sound when going over bumps or traveling athigher speeds is one of the most common signs of a bad sway bar link. When sway bar links have excessive play, it can lead to these unusual noises.


Loose Steering

An unresponsive or feel of excessive looseness while turning can be a sign of worn sway bar links.


Unstable Feeling

A bad sway bar link can cause your vehicle to feel unstable, especially when turning, changing lanes or traveling at higher speeds.


Uneven Tire Wear

Failing sway bar links can cause uneven tire war because the car’s weight shifts to the tire’s outer edge when turning.


Excessive Body Roll

Faulty sway bars can cause excessive body roll because the suspension system is less effective at reducing body roll.

Why Do Sway Bar Links Fail?

Sway bar links can fail due to:


Normal Wear and Tear

Exposed to water, road debris, heat and other contaminants, sway bar links can rust, corrode and fail over time.


Impact Damage

Impact from hitting a pothole, running into a curb or being involved in an accident can damage sway bar links.


Exceeding Load Limit

Hauling heavy loads or exceeding the vehicle’s weight limit puts stress on the sway bar links and the suspension system.

Learn more about premium steering and suspension parts, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content in this article is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have questions relating to any of the topics covered herein. Tenneco will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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