The stabilizer bar that connects the suspension of both sides of the vehicle has a massive impact on how well your vehicle runs.
Without it, the car would have unwanted and possibly dangerous movements.
However, this stabilizer relies heavily on a small linkage piece – which is what we’re talking about today.
This link wears out over time, causing the sway bar and suspension to stop working together.
Eventually, this produces all kinds of undesirable results, affecting how easy your vehicle is to drive.
Here, we want to show you everything about replacing this bar link.
The sway bar linkage replacement cost will tell you whether you should do it right away or wait a bit.
And our brief setup guide should help you give your vehicle its pristine handling condition back without wasting a fortune.
If you’re looking to replace that sway bar linkage but don’t know much about the process, this article will help you enormously. Check it out!
- 1 Signs the Sway Bar Linkage Needs to be Replaced
- 2 Sway Bar Linkage Replacement Cost: What to Know
- 3 Best Sway Bank Linkage Kits Reviews 2021
- 4 Step-by-Step Guide: How to Replace a Sway Bar Link
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 6 Conclusion
What Is a Sway Bar?
First and foremost, you need to be well aware of what this sway bar refers to.
Some people also call it the anti-roll bar or the stabilizer.
Its only focus is preventing the car from moving away to the sides when taking corners or veering to the sides.
The sway bar is located in the rear part of most vehicles. Some also have it in the front, adding up extra stability to the experience.
Regardless of where it is located in a car, it is a large piece that typically never disappoints.
Whether in the smoothest of streets or harshest roads, the sway bar is there to keep the vehicle in balance.
But because the sway bar is a large part that works alongside the suspension, it needs a piece to keep this connection working.
Here’s where the sway bar linkage system enters into action.
Here’s a visual explanation of the role of a sway bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoSNAkteXjY
What is a Sway Bar Linkage?
While the sway bar increases stability in sharp turns and corners, the linkage system keeps it working with the suspension for more reliable performance.
This connection ensures a smoother driving experience.
It works to increase turning capacity, add extra balance, and more importantly, prevent the sway bar from jumping loosely.
Generally, these bar links have two ball joints on their ends.
One connects to the suspension and the other connects with the sway bar using rubber bushings.
These ball joints offer the chance for the sway to move freely while still being connected to the suspension, adding up extra stability to the car.
Because of these ball joints, linkage bars are prone to wearing out.
More importantly, they can break due to the amount of pressure they’re subjected to.
And what’s worse, they are in constant exposure to all kinds of external factors, going from dust and dirt to extreme colds and heat.
Even though they seem like extras in the suspension, these linkage pieces are actually vital.
Without them, the vehicle would start to lose its balance and possibly even make the car unsafe to drive.
When you start experiencing problems with a sway bar link, it is time to replace it. But how do you know when it’s time?
Signs the Sway Bar Linkage Needs to be Replaced
Even though these parts are sturdy and long-lasting, they still wear out within years of use.
This causes a wide array of sway bar linkage symptoms you may want to know about. These include:
Lack of Balance
The stabilizer bar can do the job by itself, but it needs the linkage’s extra sturdiness to offer a new driving balance.
That’s why it is common to experience over-leaning and body roll when the link bar is worn out or broke.
Body roll affects how stable the car feels. It also has a significant impact on handling.
For example, too much body roll can make you lose stability in sharp turns.
And in some cases, it may even cause the car to tilt too much, sometimes losing grip, which could cause serious accidents.
Apart from affecting balance and handling, a worn out or broken stabilizer link may also cause discomfort on the road.
This will mostly happen when going over bumps and over harsh terrain, where you will feel the impacts more intensely than usual.
Another common sign of advanced damage or wear is when the sway bar link making noise.
Cracking, rattling, clunking, or creaking, they are all usual noises.
The most common happens when the grease dries, so the metal-on-metal contact starts happening.
If you experience any of the above issues mildly, you can always go down close to the wheel and check this bar link.
When you grab and move it, the link shouldn’t move at all. But if it does, then that’s a sign it is loosened up due to worn-out ball joints.
Rust & Corrosion
Another physical condition that should tell you right away that this bar linkage needs to be replaced is rust or corrosion.
Because they’re exposed to all kinds of situations, they’re likely to corrode over time, causing them to loosen up or simply wear exponentially.
Looks Damaged or Worn
Lastly, you should always look for signs of breakage, cracks, or simple wear on the rubber bushings or ball joints.
Even signs of oil contamination and metal degradation should be enough to replace a sway bar linkage piece.
The following video will show you all the major physical damage you could spot by looking at a worn-out sway bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6SM5-zORL8
Sway Bar Linkage Replacement Cost: What to Know
Now that you have a better idea of the different reasons a stabilizer bar link may need to be replaced let’s learn how much it can cost.
Let’s start by saying it depends heavily on the make and year of the car you want to be fixed.
The sway bar link labor cost may change exponentially between a small Sedan and a large multi-cabin truck, for example.
Luckily, the process is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, there’s a high chance it is a lot cheaper than you think.
As a general rule, you should expect to spend about $100 replacing one of these link bars.
The labor is typically between $20 and $250 depending on the vehicle. The linkage bar shouldn’t cost more than $50.
If you find an expensive mechanic to get the job done, you can see prices of up to $300 for a simple sway bar link installation.
If you do it without any help, then this could cost you as little as $50.
Best Sway Bank Linkage Kits Reviews 2021
We wanted to go over a set of sway bar links that were impossible to dismiss. If you’re looking for a new stabilizer bar for your truck, then you may find it within these reviews:
01. ACDelco 45G0012 Professional Stabilizer Bar Link Kit – Best Choice Overall
- Greaseable design
- Low-friction build
- Full hardware kit
Simple but effective, the 45G0012 is a professional-level stabilizer for people who don’t want to waste a single dime of their money.
First off, it’s made of high-end materials. It withstands any use and can handle even the harshest of environments.
After installing this sway bar link, you’ll have nothing to worry about. This comes both from its greaseable design as well as the rust-resistant construction.
A low-friction design prevents wear over time while still preventing even the hardest of bumps from affecting your ride.
This ability helps to avoid unwanted experiences on the road, no matter how harsh it is.
Despite its magnificent affordability, the kit comes with all the hardware needed for the setup.
You won’t have to buy anything apart from what’s already in the kit. And what’s more important, it comes with helpful instructions so you can set it up with even less effort.
What We Liked
- Makes the installation a piece of cake
- Smooths out impacts and rough terrains
- Withstands even the harshest of uses
- It is incredibly affordable for the quality
What We Didn’t Like
- The short design doesn’t fit large trucks
02. labwork K80894 Stabilizer Sway Balance Bar – Best for Premium Quality
- Fits Dodge RAM 2006 to 2017
- Polished anti-rust finish
- Direct-placement installation
A premium-quality sway bar link doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be as affordable as the cheapest one without losing any of the quality.
The K80894 labwork balance bar is a perfect example of that.
High-end steel construction with a polished finish will ensure no damage for long.
This gets even better with the rust protection, preventing even the slightest sign of corrosion from happening.
And that’s without mentioning its capacity to withstand any kind of fatigue and wear over time.
Next-Level Road Softening
A fantastic design not only helps with durability but also withstands heavy use.
This helps to prevent any unwanted movement on the road, no matter how rough.
Whether it is the sharpest turns or the bulkiest bumps, this sway bar link will help you reduce the impacts exponentially.
Specifically made of the Dodge RAM 1500 4WD, this sway bar link doesn’t require an expert mechanic to install.
The design is entirely made to fit even in the most worn-out trucks.
As long as the make and year are precisely what this balance bar works for, you’ll have no problem setting it up.
What We Liked
- Won’t rust or break in the slightest
- Softens up even the toughest of roads
- Will fit like a charm on your Dodge RAM
- Boasts a good-looking yet resistant finish
What We Didn’t Like
- Lacks setup hardware
03. MOOG K90681 Stabilizer Bar Link
- Sealed boot shields
- Socket style design
- Greaseable socket
If your vehicle uses a nut socket-style link, then you’ll love the K90681 from MOOG – ideal for ensuring a more long-lasting and loosening-free experience on your car. Yet, there’s a lot more to it than that.
The combination of a barrel lock nut design with a quality array of ball joints completely is sealed to prevent even the slightest of dirt or humidity from getting inside.
You won’t have to worry about any of the components wearing out in the short or long term.
Every single part of this link comes with high-end metal construction, preventing any type of breakage or crack over time.
The metal bearings and the rubber preload come together to increase its lifespan even more.
And that’s without even mentioning the greaseable socket, ensuring fewer contaminants and smoother performance.
Ultra-Easy to Set Up
You won’t need special tools apart from a wrench to get it in and out.
For the cost, having such an easy-to-install piece will come like a huge advantage.
You will be saving a lot of money as well as tons of time in the installation process.
What We Liked
- Won’t rust or get dirt too easily
- Prevents any kind of crack or breakage
- The installation is a piece of cake
- Amazingly reliable for its price
What We Didn’t Like
- Grease fittings tend to wear out fast
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Replace a Sway Bar Link
After finding out how much you may need to spend to replace those linkage bars, you should be ready to learn how to do so.
Here’s a brief yet useful general guide to follow:
What You’ll Need
- A breaker bar
- A ratchet (with sockets)
- A torque wrench
- Torx and Allen screwdrivers
- A lifting jack
- Jack stands
These tools are not hard to find. If you don’t have any of these, feel free to ask a friend or family for the piece.
Otherwise, you may need to spend a few extra bucks unnecessarily.
01. Remove the Old Sway Bar Link
The firsts step is to remove the sway bar link that’s not working. Here’s how:
- Start by lifting the vehicle up with the jack. Once it is sufficiently raised so you can fit below, use the jack stands to support it.
- Use the breaker bar to loosen the wheel out. Be careful with the nuts. Then remove the whole wheel assembly.
- Now you’ll find the sway bar link. Some linkage systems are attached with an Allen head, others with a Torx slot, and some with a wrench head. Here, you need to use the specific tool necessary for the job.
- To remove this piece, you typically need to hold the link’s stud. Then you can easily loosen up the upper and bottom parts of the link as required. In case the link has bushings, you’ll have to pull the bolt through it first.
The process will depend on the type of sway bar link on the vehicle.
However, it is easy either way and pretty similar. The main difference is the stud or bolt that keeps it attached. Otherwise, the process is the same.
02. Install the New Link
With the old link out, it’s time to install the new one. This is relatively easy to do, as well.
You will generally need to follow the same steps as removing it but backward. Here’s what to do:
- You should have the new link in hand now. If not, get the same one you took out but new. In most vehicles, you won’t install a different type of link without complicated modifications.
- Once you have the link ready, put it in place. You should mount it directly on the slots as necessary. This includes the bolts, screws, or slots directly located on the suspension control arm and the sway bar.
- For ball joint links, this process is about sliding the stud in. If the link uses a bolt, try to install the bushings and sleeves first. Then tighten up as needed.
- In case the retaining nuts were worn out, we recommend replacing them as well. Torque them strongly now.
The new link should look neatly on your vehicle by now. Just remember to follow the instructions depending on the type of link you have. Either way, the process shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
03. Reinstall Everything
With the sway bar link in place, it’s time to reinstall everything.
If you know how to put a wheel on, this shouldn’t be much of a problem. Here’s how to proceed:
- Place the wheel and tire on the slot. Then tighten up the nuts using the breaker bar.
- Check that the wheel feels tightened on the vehicle. If yes, then proceed to activate the lifting jack again. Raise the car a bit higher and remove the jack stands.
- You can now lower down the jack slowly. Be aware going too hard could loosen the sway bar link.
- Once the car is lowered at standard driving height, then you can proceed to over-tighten the link. This should prevent loosening later on.
By now, you’ve successfully replaced a sway bar link from one side of the vehicle. It’s now time to start with the other.
For a more straightforward process to replacing a stabilizer link, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4GlHE4JQTI
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You’ve learned a thing or two about replacing sway bar links. But you may still have some unanswered questions.
In the following section, we aim to release those doubts from your mind:
The whole process of replacement, as explained above, should not last more than 30 minutes per link.
However, if you’re experienced and/or the vehicle requires unique modifications, this may easily extend to over 1 hour per link.
Sway bars are connected to both sides of the vehicle. This means you have not only one link but two.
In that case, it is common to find that if one wears out, the other will too.
Is it necessary to replace both at the same time? If they are worn out, yes. But if one of them seems ok, then replacing only one shouldn’t be a problem.
It depends on many different factors. First off, the amount of weight you often carry on the vehicle.
For trucks that carry a lot of weight, these links tend to wear out a lot faster. Second, the material of the link.
They’re generally made of steel, but an iron link is also possible, making it slightly more long-lasting.
Apart from that, exposure to moisture, heat, and cold can also affect its longevity.
Typically, however, you can expect these links to last over 5 years.
In some cases, these links don’t wear out or break in the slightest, so there’s a chance you won’t have to replace them.
If the links on your vehicle are broken, worn out, or simply not doing their job – then yes.
Replacing those links will not only be worth it but necessary.
You don’t want to be exposed to possible dangers for not having proper links that ensure stability, balance, and handling ease on your vehicle.
If you start driving a car with worn-out sway bars, you’ll start experiencing all kinds of symptoms, as we explained before.
However, as the ultimate danger to avoid, there’s a lack of handling capacity.
Due to the body roll, a lack of sway bar links produces, you may lose control of your car and get into serious accidents.
As one of the most critical parts of your car’s suspension system, it is an essential piece you can’t miss.
With a better idea of the sway bar linkage replacement cost, it’s time you put on the gloves and get the job done.
You can’t drive your car without one of these. So, why do it? Replace that worn-out link with a new one now. There’s no time to waste.