NAPA Auto Parts Sterling, VA
45449 Severn Way
Sterling,  VA  20166-8918
(703) 378-6666
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Sway Bars, Sway Bar Links & Hardware

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What Does a Sway Bar Do?

A sway bar, also known as a roll bar, stabilizer bar, anti-sway bar and anti-roll bar, is a device made of hollow steel that runs across the front and back of your vehicle. It's designed to stabilize your vehicle when cornering. It does this by limiting how much a control arm can move up and down independently of its opposite member.

When you turn a vehicle, the weight gravitates toward the outside of the turn, which results in imbalance and loss of tire traction. This is also known as "body roll" or "lean." You know that feeling of taking a tight turn at high speeds and not quite having all four wheels firmly on the ground? That's what we're talking about here. You might have more sensitivity to this if you're driving a tall SUV with an especially high center of gravity.

But sway bars aren't just needed in personal commuter vehicles; they're also found in ATVs, forklifts and other high-powered machinery with a suspension system. These stabilizer bars attach to the chassis with sway bar links, which are the connector pieces on the outer ends of the torsion bar. When the sway bar is in motion, these links soothe the abrupt movement by leveling the force between the bar itself and the control arm of your suspension system. Sway bar bushings are another integral part of your sway bar assembly and act to divide the bar from your vehicle's frame to minimize noise and friction.

Signs of a Bad Sway Bar

While your sway bar is made of durable metal and should last you many years, individual sway links and sway hardware can start to deteriorate under consistent heat and pressure. You might only find yourself needing to replace sway bar links once in the lifetime of your vehicle, but it's important to address that maintenance task when the signs of failure are present. Check out "What Is a Sway Bar?" for a brief history behind the mechanical device and common problems associated with it, including poor or precarious cornering ability and loud, clunking noises coming from your vehicle's undercarriage.

When It's Time for a Sway Bar Replacement

Sometimes, lubrication can bring worn sway bar hardware back to life. Other times, the damage is too far gone, and you'll need a repair kit to replace the rusted links or bushings. However, if you start to notice the forementioned noises or issues with turning your vehicle, then it's time to start shopping for replacement sway bars, sway bar links and related hardware. For expert sway bar maintenance, trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations.