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.
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.