Sway Bar Link
The sway bar is a thin, tubular metal piece that's connected to the suspension on each side of the vehicle. This bar makes sure that there won't be excessive body roll or side to side lean whenever the vehicle turns around a corner. The sway bar link is the part connecting the sway bar to the lower control arms. Over time, bushings in these links may wear out or the link itself may get damaged. You have to watch out for tell-tale signs of damage to know if the link has gone bad and already needs to be replaced.
How to tell if you have a bad sway bar link
Poor handling. When the link is broken or damaged, vehicle handling will suffer. A damaged link causes the sway bar to be loosely or improperly connected to the chassis, which can result in the car leaning heavily when cornering. You may also experience unpredictable handling when the bushing is missing or worn out.
Rattles, clicks, and other noises. When the link has gone bad, you may hear rattles and clicks as the sway bar's end moves around without a tight or solid connection to the suspension and chassis. Whenever the vehicle corners, the sway bar's end may move around and make unusual noises. As the vehicle encounters bumps, there could be loud clunks and clicks because of the excessive movement.
Broken links. Visual inspection will confirm if poor vehicle handling and unusual noises when cornering are because of a broken or damaged link of the sway bar. Check if the link is still attached to the suspension or the sway bar and if the bushing is still intact.
How to change a broken sway bar link
Step 1: As you raise the vehicle using a jack and some jack stands, you have to find the sway bar links underneath. These links connect the sway bar to the lower control arm.
Step 2: After locating the links, you have to remove the bolts at the end of each link using an open-end wrench and a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. The bolt must be taken out through the lower control arm's bottom. The bushings can be removed manually.
Step 3: Get ready to install the replacement sway bar link. See how this is assembled so you'll know where everything goes, from the bushing to the washer and other components.
Step 4: Once you've taken note of how the replacement is assembled, you can now remove the bolt of this link using an open-end wrench set and a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. The lower washer and bushing must remain on the bolt. You then have to slide up the bolt through the lower control arm until a couple inches of the bolt is showing. You also have to slide the bushing onto the bolt's end, followed by the washer and the long spacer. As the bolt is slid up higher, the washer and another bushing must be added. After pushing the bolt all the way in, you have to add the bushing and washer. Finally, the nut on top must be secured with your hands. This will later on be tightened down using tools.
Step 5: Do the same for the other side. Once done, you can now lower the vehicle with the jack and remove the stands until the vehicle's weight rests on the ground. You then have to tighten each sway bar link using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench set.