Anti sway bars is an essential part of a vehicles suspension system. They are also referred to as anti-roll bars or stabilizer bars. Their primary function is to prevent the car from leaning or rolling over when taking a sharp turn.
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These sway bars do nothing unless the vehicle tends to lean on one side. When the car leans, anti-sway bars apply force on each side of the suspension system. It applies force upwards on one side and downwards on the other to resist the leaning.
How it works
A sway bar consists of a torsion spring which is resistant to twisting force. The anti-sway bar is connected to opposite wheels -both front wheels and both back wheels- at each end. The bar has to twist for one wheel to be higher than the other. This is why the bar will remain constant unless the car leans to one side. Similarly, if both wheels rise and fall at the same time, the anti-sway bar will not affect.
When you drive in turn, the sway bar arm is pushed upward. It applies torsion to the rod. The torsion moves the sway arm on the opposite side of the trod. This causes compression in the suspension system of the other side of the car. As a result, the car tends to stay flat.
Benefits of using an anti sway bar
A vehicle without a sway bar will have uncontrolled rolls often. Rolling too much can be uncomfortable and dangerous. Additionally, body roils will affect wheel alignment and camber to change hence reducing their grip on the road. Reducing body roll helps to keep camber in control and hence enhancing the grip for turning and griping.
However, using anti-sway bars has its own disadvantage. If one of the wheels hits a bump, it moves up relative to the body of the vehicle. Anti sway will apply force to resist the movement and keep wheels at par. Therefore the vehicle will feel stiffer, the wheel will lift off the road or both.
Symptoms of Bad Stabilizer Bar
- Rattling Noise
- Poor Handling
Lack of stabilizers will cause a lot of body rolls which can be quite troublesome. On the other hand, too much anti-sway bar reduces the wheels independence. When you hit a bump the force is transmitted to the other side. This is not necessarily the best thing. The trick is to find an ideal setting that prevents body roll but does not do away with the wheel independence.
It is prudent to have your anti-sway bars checked regularly. The best time to do this is when you are doing regular checkups.
Read more about your car’s suspension systems: