The steering and suspension mechanism in your automobile is made up of many components that function together to develop a pleasant driving experience and efficient handling. The sway bar links, a.k.a end links and stabilizer links, are a frequently overlooked component of the system. Although your car’s sway bar links are intended to last the life of your automobile, they might wear out or shatter, bringing apparent symptoms. In this article, we’ll be answering one of the most frequently asked questions when motorists feel vibrations in their cars; can a bad sway bar link cause vibration? And discuss this certain part of your suspension. Read on to learn more!
What’s A Sway Bar Link, And How Does It Work?
To understand the function of the sway bar links, it’s necessary first to get familiar with your sway bar itself, sometimes called anti-roll bar or anti-sway bar. Your car’s sway bar is part of your numerous suspension components that lowers body roll while turning or going over uneven terrain, enhancing control and stability. Many automobiles feature only a front sway bar. Specific car models additionally include a rear sway bar. The sway bar links connect your sway bar (affixed to the chassis) to your control arms. Both ends of your sway bar have one link. Certain sway bar links are equipped with studs and ball joints, whereas others are just long bolts with bushings and sleeves. The sway bar link helps to smooth the transfer of motion between your sway bar and control arm since your sway bar serves as a torsional swing.
It’s a simple yet essential component that lowers the level of body roll or leaning that an automobile suffers while cornering or turning. Sway bars are narrow, tubular pieces of steel fastened into both ends of your car’s suspension, either on the front or rear, but usually both. To regulate unnecessary movements on your car’s handling: your sway bar link keeps the overall camber angle of your car’s inner wheels. Like numerous other automobile components, your sway bar links can deteriorate over time. Moisture or water ingress, which causes rust, age, and poor lubrication, can cause degradation over time.
Can A Bad Sway Bar Link Cause Vibration?
The simple answer is no; broken or bad links won’t generate vibration or even excessive steering wheel vibrations but is a safety hazard, especially while traveling at highway speeds. Sway bars engage when your car’s suspension is unevenly loaded, for as, when your right tire is packed with more weight than the left tire, or conversely. Sway bars connect the right and left sides of your suspension and help to prevent body roll induced by weight transfer to one side during speedy turns.
Damaged links rarely create vibrations in your car’s body. Bad sway bar links or bushings may undoubtedly generate a minor steering wheel shake or a clunking sensation on bumps, potholes, or while turning, which some drivers sometimes suspect their steering rack. However, if your sway bar links are damaged, you can simply replace them. It’s not a complicated or costly fix.
Signs Your Sway Bar Links Are Bad
This is how you can detect whether your sway bar link is bad. Functional connections should fit tightly, with no space for movement. In severe damage, noises will be heard while driving and visible uneven tire wear (mostly on inside tires) if the damage has been left unaddressed for too long. Don’t wait for your automobile to get to this point. Do you believe you might have a damaged sway bar link? You could be correct if you detect one of the symptoms below.
Poor Handling Ability
A bad sway bar link might lead your car to handle poorly. Once damaged, your sway bar isn’t effectively linked to your chassis and won’t keep your vehicle from swaying while turning. The handling performance might seem twitchy if your link is compromised or its bushing is broken or missing.
Strange noises generated by a broken sway bar link are another sign. If your link breaks, the sway bar’s end can flop about freely of your chassis and suspension. It might generate noises as it moves about and bangs against your car as you go through turns. You might hear an apparent clanking noise when you drive through bumps or at lower speeds, and your sway bar might move excessively. A similar symptom could occur if the link’s bushing is broken or missing, causing strange rattling noises.
Visibly Worn Out
Another sign of a bad link is determined by examining visually and is also the quickest method to identify whether the issue is with your link and not another component. Also, a visual check will reveal whether or not the bushing is broken or gone. Each end of your link is held by nuts, washers, and bushings that connect your sway bar to your suspension. If the connection is damaged, it must be replaced.
Can You Drive With A Bad Sway Bar Link?
Since the significant function of your sway bar link is to offer stability, it’s reasonable to question if a damaged sway bar link could endanger you once you drive your vehicle. You can still drive your automobile whenever your link is damaged, but your car’s performance might decrease. As a result, you must go with extra care than usual. If any portion of your automobile is broken, it’s almost sure that it won’t function like its parts were in perfect working order. However, broken components might not necessarily imply a loss of capability.
What to Do If The Sway Bar Link is Damaged?
You can still run your vehicle with a damaged sway bar link, but you must take measures to prevent accidents. If your front link has been compromised, your steering wheel will work differently. You might drive your vehicle in such situations, yet you must do it at speeds slower than 30 miles per hour. When your steering wheel seems loose, your driving might not be smooth, but you won’t fear losing stability or control of your vehicle as you would if you were speeding faster. Losing control could increase the probability of accidents.
Damage to your rear link is less hazardous than damage to your front link. Even at somewhat greater speeds, the drive is far more manageable. You might have difficulty switching lanes or making turns. You must maintain a stronger hold on your steering wheel and execute cautious maneuvers in these circumstances. Thus, you might prevent losing control and travel more safely. However, in an ideal situation, you must not drive at greater speeds, regardless of whichever link is missing. Lowering your car’s speed can lessen the effect of air resistance on your vehicle, therefore reducing its sway. It’s advisable to drive on narrower, more closed-off roads and steer your car gently.
However, you must only drive your vehicle in an emergency if you have a damaged sway bar link. It would be best if you prioritized replacing it as quickly as possible. No matter how many safety measures you follow, there’s always the possibility of mishaps if you lose control.
Cost Of Replacing A Sway Bar Link
Because of their age and overuse, swaybar links or their bushings often wear out before the sway bar and are very inexpensive to repair. Depending on your car, sway bar link prices range between $40 and $120 apiece, and labor expenses run around $40 and $70, depending on the task’s difficulty. Sway bar bushings are roughly $30 to $50, and labor to replace them costs approximately $40 to $60.
Hopefully, this article clarified your concern and that you already got a better grasp of what and how a sway bar link works. While a bad sway bar link won’t largely compromise your car’s safety, it’s always good to get your vehicle examined if you notice anything unusual while driving. Include it during your tire change, inspect your control arm bushings, ball joints, shocks, and other suspension components. A decent suspension inspection won’t empty your pockets and will keep you far from any risks caused by a poor suspension.
Can the sway bar impact the steering?
Since the sway bar links are coupled to your lower control arm, your handling and steering worsen once they break. Your steering wheel can seem “loose,” Your vehicle might sway excessively from the right or left as your links and bushings break.
Can bad links affect wheel alignment?
They are unrelated to wheel alignment. They must be free of tension while the automobile is level. They only operate when one wheel goes down or up concerning the other wheel.