Sway Bar Bushing
The sway bar helps keep things all tied up and in place. It links both sides of the suspension to keep the vehicle from swaying as it turns. A sway bar bushing gives it the protection and support that it needs. When this part breaks, you may encounter some troubles with the sway bar.
Signs of a bad sway bar bushing
- When a bushing cracks, wears out, or fails, a rattling sound can be heard. The metallic rattling noise comes from a link with broken bushings on top and/or at the bottom. For the rattling to stop, you have to replace the damaged bushing.
- The sway bar will start moving up and down when the center sway bar bushing fails. There'll be loud thumps coming from the front end when the vehicle hits bumps or turns too hard. With a cracked or worn-out bushing, the sway bar won't be insulated properly. It may hit the mounting bracket directly, creating a thumping noise.
- Damaged sway bar link bushings can affect vehicle handling. After all, bushings on the sway bar link help the vehicle achieve a good stance. They make the link more rigid and flexible. If these bushings crack or fail, the vehicle body may roll or flex a lot. The vehicle may stop flexing all of a sudden because of the impact caused by the sway bar on the link or mount. In effect, vehicle handling can be difficult, which is more noticeable during high speeds.
How to replace a sway bar bushing
- The vehicle must be parked on a level surface or ground. For your safety, be sure to set the parking brake on. Pop the hood latch. An open hood will let in some light as you crawl underneath the vehicle. Put a wheel chock right behind the rear tires to make sure that the vehicle won't move. Raise the vehicle on its left front quarter. After lifting it to the right level using a floor jack, put a jack stand in place where it's safe. Do this on the other side in order to raise the front axle.
- Remember to wear some safety glasses. Also prepare the needed tools: 1/2-inch drive socket set, 1/2-inch drive ratchet, medium pry bar, and box end hand wrench set. Get the right kind of replacement bushings and use a creeper to get underneath the vehicle.
- Trace the location of the sway bar bushings from the links behind the tire(s) in the front. You may have to pull out the brackets, heat shield, and other parts to get to the sway bar brackets in some vehicle models. Get anything out of the way to remove the brackets. This can be done by removing the bolt(s) with a ratchet, socket, and hand wrench. The bolt may be screwed into the threaded hole or may be secured with a nut. Some brackets, usually those secured by a single bolt, may have hinges on the top or bottom.
- The old bushing must slide along the sway bar. Use a pry bar on the slotted opening to remove the bushing from the bar. After this, you may now slide in a new bushing.
- As you set the new bushing in place, the brackets have to be replaced. Tighten it using the same tools and put back other components that had been removed. Once everything is fixed, you can finally lower the vehicle. Close the hood and pull out the wheel chock. Take your vehicle out for a spin to see how the sway bar bushing replacement went. See if there's still thumping or rattling noises or if handling has improved.