National average cost of a Sway Bar Link Replacement for popular vehicles:
Avg. cost $166
Avg. cost $83
Avg. cost $256
What is a sway bar link and how does it work?
A sway bar is a component of the suspension system found on many vehicles on the road today. Also known by other names - anti-sway bar, anti-roll bar, and stabilizer bar - the sway bar helps your vehicle to resist leaning or “swaying” when going around a turn. The sway bar links connect the ends of the sway bar to the suspension on each side of a vehicle.
Whenever you travel around a turn, the vehicle’s weight leans toward the outside of the turn. For instance, if you are turning left, the body rolls to the right. In the process, its weight is applied excessively to the tires on the right side. At the same time, weight is reduced on the tires on the left side. This rolling or swaying can be uncomfortable. But more than that, it can become dangerous as the tires no longer maintain proper alignment with the road and are unable to grip the surface of the ground.
The sway bar links allow the sway bar to be tied to the lower control arm or knuckle in a way that allows for up and down movement of the suspension. While there are various designs for sway bar links, many feature a ball joint at each end, encapsulated by a rubber boot.
What are signs that sway bar links need to be replaced?
It is unlikely that the sway bar in your vehicle will go bad, but it is not uncommon for sway bar links to fail. The ball joints at each end are subject to a lot of jarring movement. If the protective boots deteriorate or become damaged, grease can leak out and leave the ends unlubricated and prone to failure.
When sway bar links do fail, you might notice a clicking, rattling, or clunking sound, especially when driving over bumps or around corners. If a link breaks, you might notice a difference in how your vehicle handles, since the sway bar will no longer be connected to the suspension.
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To replace a pair of sway bar links - and they should be replaced in pairs - a technician will need to lift and support your vehicle off of the ground to relieve tension from the suspension caused by the weight of the vehicle. The tires and wheels will need to be removed for access. From there and depending on your vehicle make and model, the technician will follow these general steps
Disconnect the sway bar links from the sway bar
Unfasten the links from either the lower control arm or knuckle
Remove the links from the vehicle
Insert the new links, start the fasteners, and torque to manufacturer’s specifications
Reinstall the wheels and tires and lower your vehicle
While it might sound like a fairly simple procedure (it is), the fasteners that hold the links in place are often difficult to remove, making the job more difficult. This is especially true on older vehicles or those that experience a lot of corrosion due to road conditions.
OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK
How do you lubricate sway bar links?
Most sway bar links feature ball joints at each end that are lubricated with grease and encased in protective rubber boots. Most are unserviceable, meaning they do not need to be serviced. But some links, especially aftermarket components, include grease fittings so that the grease can be replenished. For these sway bar links, it is important to connect a grease gun and fill the boot until you notice grease begin to come out of the joint.
Can you drive with a bad sway bar link?
It is possible but not recommended to drive a vehicle with a bad sway bar link. However, if a link breaks, your sway bar will be rendered inoperable. Vehicle handling, especially through curves, around corners, and while changing lanes can be significantly compromised. If you need to drive after a sway bar link breaks, use caution. Drive slowly and only on paved roads if possible. Take turns gently. Avoid highways and freeways that require high speeds and lane changes.
Can I replace my sway bar links myself?
Sway bar link replacement is a fairly simple repair, at least it would seem so on the surface. While the job does not require a great many tools, it does require that you be able to safely lift and support your vehicle off of the ground and remove the wheels and tires. That is something that should only be performed by someone who is properly trained and has experience. Beyond that, it is very common for the fasteners that hold the sway bar links in place to be difficult to remove, even for a professional.
What parts are related to a Sway Bar Link Replacement?