A part of your car's sway bar assembly, the sway bar bushing allows the sway bar to react to the movements of the vehicle on the road as well as assist in steering. So we don't need to emphasize how important it is for you to replace the sway bar bushings in your car once it gets worn out or damaged. But with so many choices of sway bar bushings in the market, it can be hard to choose. So if you are looking for new bushings for you ride, here are some tips to help you decide:
Rubber vs. urethane/polyurethane bushings
One of the first things that you will need to decide on when purchasing a sway bar bushing is whether you want one made from rubber or urethane. Most sway bar bushings found in cars today are made from rubber. Aside from being cheap, rubber bushings are virtually maintenance-free?there is no need to lubricate them compared to the metal bushings found in old vehicles. However, because rubber flexes, compresses, and stretches when put under stress, rubber bushings often change the suspension alignment of the car and lead to handling problems later on.
Because of rubber's tendency to warp, there are aftermarket bushings that are made of stiffer urethane and, later on, polyurethane. Urethane and polyurethane are almost as rigid as metal, but unlike metal bushings they do not wear out as much. But because they are far stiffer than rubber bushings, urethane and polyurethane bushings tend to bind quicker to the sway bar. This in turn leads to a slight decrease in the free movement of the bar as well as the occasional squeaks once the bushings dry out.
Sway bar bushings also come in either greasable or non-greasable type. Greasable sway bar bushings have a special channel design that allows grease to flow through all the inner bushing surfaces, significantly reducing friction and squeaking. Non-greasable bushings, on the other hand, are cheaper than their greasable counterparts but are not as silent as the greasable bushing.
Sway bar bushings come in different sizes to match different car makes and models, so make sure to choose one that matches the specifications of the sway bar of your vehicle. Sway bars range in size, with the biggest ones reaching 2 inches in diameter. The brackets that are used to attach the bushing to the chassis, meanwhile, range from 1 1/4 inches high by 3 5/8 inches wide to 1 5/8 inches high by 4 1/4 inches wide in size.