Also known as a stabilizer bar or roll bar, the sway bar is one of the most important components of the suspension system of a vehicle. It uses a torsion spring to connect the right wheel to the left wheel. Over time, its main parts, including the bushings and the end links, can be prone to wear, which can loosen your steering control and make a clunking sound.
In the rest of this post, I will teach you the basics of how to replace the sway bar bushings and end links like a pro. The bushings are cheaper to replace compared to the end links. To enjoy the best outcomes, it is important that you follow the right steps. Fortunately, there is no need for in-depth knowledge to complete the task successfully.
What You Will Need to Follow this Tutorial
Before anything else, be sure that the following materials are ready:
- Sway bar bushings and end links
- Penetrating oil
- Breaker bar
- Jack lift
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Replace Sway Bar Bushings and End Links
In this section, we will go through the steps that are involved in the replacement of the sway bar bushings and the end links. It is as easy as removing the old ones and putting in your replacement. However, things can go wrong and the performance of the vehicle can be compromised if you end up following the wrong steps.
Before I discuss the next steps, watch the short video below:
1. Check if the Sway Bar is Indeed the Problem
Nothing can be worse than wasting your time, effort, and money on repairing one thing that is not broken in the first place or that is not the cause of the problem that you are experiencing. With this, perform a quick diagnostic so that you can be sure that the sway bar bushings and end links are indeed asking for a replacement.
Having a loose steering wheel and poor handling are also common indications that there are problems with the sway bar bushings and the end links. You will notice that the steering wheel seems to be looser, and you are having difficulty in controlling the direction of the car.
2. Park your Car on an Even Surface
For your safety and your convenience, before you start with the replacement of the sway bar bushings and end links, see to it that the car is in a stable position. Use the jack to lift the car. At this point, you can now remove the wheels of the car.
3. Unbolt the Bushing
At this point, you are now ready to remove the sway bar bushings. Use a breaker bar and a wrench so that you will be able to easily loosen the nut from its original position. As you do this, be sure to have a firm grip on the shaft so that it will not turn. The end links are now unbolted and they will be free to move.
4. Take off the Sway Bar
By now, you can remove the sway bar from the car and place it in an open area where you can work freely. You can remove the end links. You might need a penetrating oil so that it will lubricate the surface, making it easier to remove.
5. Replace the Bushings
Before you replace the bushings, take a look at the old one and compare it with the replacement that you have on hand. The two should be the same so that they will be compatible with the sway bar that you have.
If you intend to replace the sway bar bushings, after the removal, you can proceed directly to the installation of the new one. Begin with the lower part and follow it up with the upper part. See to it that its installation will be the same as the position of the one that has been removed earlier. Use silicone when installing the bushings, which will prevent squeaking.
Tighten the nuts, put back the wheels, and now, you have successfully completed the task!
Here are some tips that you might find useful when it comes to the replacement of the sway bar bushings and end links:
- Before you work under the car, open the hood. This will allow light to pass through, and hence, make things a lot easier for you.
- If you are having difficulty in removing nuts and bolts from the sway bar, WD-40 can help to loosen and lubricate the metal components, making the removal a lot easier on your end.
- Use vise grips or needle nose pliers to stabilize the sway bar while you are removing the nuts and bolts. This will prevent the sway bar from turning.
If you are experiencing a clunking sound in your transmission or engine, do not immediately make the assumption that there is a need to replace sway bar bushings and end links. There are other reasons and methods to address the situation.
- One of the reasons for the clunking noise would be having low transmission fluid. Like other oils, it has the function of providing the lubrication that is needed so that you will be able to shift smoothly. If it seems like the fluid is already discolored or if there is already gunk, this is an obvious indication that it is asking for a replacement.
- The computerized sensors can also be the problem why there is annoying noise. This is especially true if you are driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. If the sensor sends out wrong information, there could be problems with the shifting gears, which can produce noise.
- At the end of the day, the most important is to have a routine inspection of the car to make sure that all parts are working at their best. The sooner you are able to spot a problem, the less likely it will be a burden on your end.
Every car owner must know how to replace sway bar bushings and end links. Once you notice a clunking noise that is unusual for you, it is time to inspect the sway bar and determine if there is a problem. It can be corroded or it is evident of other signs of wear. It can compromise both safety and performance, which is why it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Have you tried fixing your sway bar before? Are there useful tips that you would like to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below.