Posted on September 12, 2022
Are you worried that the sway bar might require replacing? Or have you just got it replaced and wondering how long are they going to last? Well, no matter which information you are looking for, you have just stumbled upon the right place for getting that specific information.
Being an experienced mechanic, we generally go over the cars that need sway bar link replacement. And we know how long should sway bar links last and when they require a replacement. In this article, we are going to describe all of that and much more regarding sway bars. So, grab yourself a drink and continue reading.
How Long Does a Sway Bar Link Last?
Before letting you know about the typical lifespan of a sway bar link, allow us to ensure that you know what a sway bar exactly is. This bar basically prevents the car from rolling. And it does that by limiting the leaning of the car by shifting the weight to the other side while taking a turn.
Usually, the sway bar is going to be on the front suspension or beside the front wheel. However, you will find vehicles that have them on the rear. There are some that might have these bars on both the front and the back. Those will be able to remain highly stable on roads.
Nonetheless, the sway bar will be connected to the suspension by rubber bushings. And the outer ends of the bar will usually be connected to the suspension of the wheel. The connecting point is called the control arm or struts. Also, the thing that connects the outer ends is the link. That is what we are going to focus on here.
Now, when it comes to the overall lifespan of the sway bar link, it will be from four to five years. However, if the roads have treated the car exceptionally well and the turns were not that sharp, you can expect them to last over five years.
When to Replace the Sway Bar Linkage?
One of the most common questions we answer in our workshop is when to get the sway bar linkage replaced. Well, even though these are rated for at least five years of use, they might give in a bit earlier than that. The condition of the roads can wear these out, which will make a replacement necessary.
And it is totally possible to tell when the linkage requires a replacement. These are the factors:
As you know by now, the sway bar basically balances the car while making a turn. It shifts the weight to the other side, which keeps the vehicle balanced during the turns. Now, if the sway bar or the link has given up, the vehicle will not be able to balance properly. You will notice the car leaning more towards the turning side.
On that note, if the condition of the bar is too bad, the car might roll over when you are making a sharp turn. So, if you notice one bit of balancing issue, you need to head right over a mechanic and get the sway bar or the link replaced.
In addition to balancing issues, you will notice some handling issues. And you will only notice them while making a turn. Along with just leaning too much to the side, the handling might see degradation on those turns. Also, too much leaning can lower the overall stability, which will eventually lower down the handling.
Like balancing issues, if the condition of the sway bar or the link is too bad, the handling can degrade substantially. And in that case, you will be waiting for an accident to happen. That is why you should get the link replaced as soon as possible.
If the link is not in the best condition, the ride quality can also degrade. And you will notice that when driving on top of bumps. The degradation can also be felt when treading on uneven terrains. You will feel the impacts more, and the suspensions will not be able to do much in terms of lowering the impacts.
One of the common signs of the sway bar linkage wearing out is the noise. However, the linkage will only make noise in the worst conditions. You will hear rattling, creaking, clunking, and cracking noises. Once these noises start coming out, get the sway bar checked by a mechanic or grease up the sway bar linkage.
Steering Wheel Feeling Loose
The sway bar has a direct connection to the steering wheel. So, if anything bad occurs to the linkage, it will have an effect on the steering wheel. And one of the most common signs is that the wheel will feel loose. This happens when the ball joints are worn out or loosened.
When this happens, you might not have to replace the whole linkage. However, if the condition of the joints is not adequate, you might have to get it replaced.
Rust and Corrosion
One of the physical condition factors that can tell whether the link requires a replacement or not is rust and corrosions. If you can notice the linkage full of rust and corrosion, get it replaced right away. The rust and corrosion will degrade the overall functionality of the sway bar, and it will not operate optimally with those.
On that note, corrosion can make the joint balls loose. And if they loosen up, the steering wheel will also feel a bit loose. So, in that case, check whether there is corrosion on the bar.
Damaged Or Worn Out
Another physical condition that gives away whether the linkage needs a replacement is the visible damages and signs of wearing out. Upon a clear inspection, you can notice that there are wearing signs on the ball joints, or there might be physical cracks or breaking on the bar.
The damages on the bar occur only after using the bar for a long amount of time. Usually, the metal will degrade, and there will be signs of breakage and cracks. Once you notice any of these, you must get the linkage or the bar replaced.
How Much Would It Cost to Replace the Sway Bar?
Once you are sure that the sway bar is going to need replacement, you might wonder how much would it actually cost. Well, the bar is not that expensive. In fact, the whole bar replacement will cost about $50. However, if you are opting for a high-quality bar, it can increase.
The cost would increase substantially if you consider the labor cost. That cost can hover from $20 to $300. So, if you are planning to replace the bar with a mechanic, you would be looking at about $400 of expenditure.
That being said, if you have a little experience and can carry out the replacement by yourself, it would only cost $50.
How to Replace the Sway Bar?
Getting the bar replaced by a mechanic can cost a lot. You would be looking to spend as much as $300 if you choose that option. However, replacing the sway bar is not a difficult task. Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Remove the Old Bar
First, work on removing the old bar. Here, you will need a breaker bar, a ratchet, a torque wrench, Torx and Allen screwdrivers, jack stands, and a lifting jack. By lifting the car up, use the tools and work on loosening up the joints and the screws. Then take the whole thing apart by removing the wheels first.
You will need to use multiple numbers of Allen heads and Torx screws to remove the old bar. Also, do not pull anything with extreme force. That might damage the parts that the bar is connected to. Instead, loosen up all the screws and Allen heads and then gently pull the bar from the connection.
Step 2: Install the New Bar
First, check whether the new bar is compatible with your car or not. Then, work on placing the link and the bar in place. Here, you will need to place each of the screws, bolts, and Allen head right back into the place you took them out from. Also, do not tamper with the ball joints too much.
After installing the new bar, place the breaker bar first. Then work on the wheels and tighten the bolts accordingly. Do not tighten them too much, or else the sway bar might not work optimally. Lower the car, and it should be ready to ride.
We hope that we were able to answer the question of how long should sway bar links last and all the things related to it. To recapitulate, it should last for at least four years. However, sometimes, these can last for five years or more.