Excessive body roll, tire wear, sloppy steering, awful suspension-you can blame all these to an old, stressed out sway bar. Without that resilient spring steel, high-speed cornering and sudden, sharp turns can make your car lean heavily on the other side or even roll over. If you want your ride to stay glued to the road with every twist and turn, then treat yourself to a trusty sway bar kit.
Why is it better to get a kit? And what should be in it?
You can get parts piece by piece-bushings, linkage assemblies, and a new sway bar. But while you can save some cash with this, wouldn't you worry about brackets, bolts, nuts, and other parts on the verge of wearing out? With a kit, you get everything brand new. It's complete with mounting clamps and brackets, bushings, bolts and nuts, links, and, of course, the sway bar. All these bits and pieces will surely fit-you'll know which goes with what. Installation is usually easier, with zero to minor welding or drilling required. Most kits are designed for bolt-on assembly. Some are available not merely as an OE replacement but as an upgrade, making them perfect companions for high-performance spring kits and other suspension parts.
So what's it going to be? A new front or rear sway bar kit?
Most cars come with front sway bars, but not all of them have rear anti-roll bars (you can find these mostly on high-performance models). If you're fed up with the lackluster handling of your ride, you can simply replace the worn-out front sway bar, install a rear sway bar, or get a larger stabilizer bar for the front (a common upgrade for some vintage Mustangs). Whatever you have in mind, don't gamble on a sway bar kit that isn't compatible with your ride-use your vehicle manual as a guide.
What are things to consider when in the market for a solid sway bar?
The sway bar can be made of high-carbon steel, hardened and stress relieved for better support to suspension. It can also be made of 4140 chrome moly steel or high-tensile steel alloy, both cold formed, short peened, and tempered for maximum durability. Your sway bar replacement may come in a light tubular steel, which can be stiffer than the stock but won't add unwanted pounds to your car. The sway bar should be powder coated for high resistance to rust.
Adjustable or non-adjustable?
Adjustable sway bar kits allow you to fine-tune the handling of your vehicle according to your driving style. These have different adjustment positions. But if you're simply looking for a new sway bar for day-to-day driving, a non-adjustable type will do.
What about the bushings?
Stock rubber bushings are softer and may provide more cushion, but performance-driven motorists prefer neoprene types because they're stiffer and more resistant to wear. Polyurethane bushings, meanwhile, combine the elastic quality of rubber and the sturdiness of metal.