National average cost of a Sway Bar Bushing Replacement for popular vehicles:
GMC Sierra 1500
Avg. cost $311
What is a sway bar bushing 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 bushing is a rubber bushing used to hold the sway bar in place while isolating the bar from the vehicle body or frame. Each sway bar typically includes two bushings and the brackets that hold them in place.
What are signs that sway bar bushings need to be replaced?
It is rare for a sway bar to go bad. Not so much with sway bar bushings. These rubber components wrap around the sway bar the way a weight lifter might hold onto a barbell with hands spread wide. Each bushing is attached to the vehicle body or frame with a bracket.
Over time, sway bar bushings tend to wear out. When they do, you might notice a squeaking sound, especially when going over bumps or when turning. Significantly worn bushings might allow the sway bar to contact the metal bracket and cause a clicking or clunking sound. You might also sense a change in how your vehicle handles in turns.
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To replace a pair of sway bar bushings (they should be replaced in pairs), a technician will first need to lift and support your vehicle off of the ground to relieve tension cause by the weight of the vehicle. The tires and wheels might need to be removed for access. From there, a technician will unbolt the sway bar bushing brackets from the vehicle body, frame, or sub-frame. The old bushings are removed from the sway bar and new bushings are installed in their place. The brackets are reinstalled, and the fasteners are torqued.
On some vehicles, it might be necessary for the technician to detach the sway bar links as well. And on certain other vehicles, it is required that the engine subframe or cradle be lowered to access the bushings.
OTHER QUESTIONS CUSTOMERS ASK
What happens if you don’t replace sway bar bushings?
Sway bar bushings are made of rubber and are in place to isolate the metal sway bar so that it does not make metal to metal contact with its mounting bracket or the body/frame of your vehicle. If you do not replace them when they are significantly worn, a couple of things can happen. First, deteriorated bushings will let the bar collide with the bracket or frame every time your vehicle shifts weight in a turn. You might hear a clunking sound when this happens. Also, worn bushings will no longer hold the bar fast, preventing it from adequately compensating for body roll in turns.
Do you need an alignment after replacing sway bar links and bushings?
There should be no need for a wheel alignment if the components being replaced are limited to the sway bar links and bushings. That said, if the new links are of a custom length (rather than the original, factory links) or if other steering and suspension components are also being replaced (such as tie rod ends or ball joints), then your vehicle should undergo a wheel alignment.
Can sway bar links cause clunking?
Yes. Severely worn sway bar links can cause a clunking noise when you drive over bumps or turn around corners. A similar clunking noise can be heard if your sway bar bushings are significantly worn.
What parts are related to a Sway Bar Bushing Replacement?