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Summary
  • If you plan to replace the sway bar links, you’ll need tools like a breaker bar, jack and jack stands, a ratchet, and sockets and wrenches of the correct size.
  • Depending on the sway bar link’s type, some steps of the replacement process can vary.
  • Replacing a bad sway bar link takes less than an hour, but severe corrosion and rust can extend the repair time.
  • A sway bar link can break because of corrosion, rust, metal fatigue, and overextension from overloading.
  • Sway bar links connect the sway bar to the control arms, improving the vehicle’s stability.
  • A sway bar has one sway bar link on each end, and most vehicles have a front and a rear sway bar.

If you hear a knocking or clunking sound when driving over bumps, it might be because your car’s sway bar links (also known as stabilizer links) are worn-out or broken.

Sway bar links play an important role—they connect two parts of the suspension (the sway bar and control arm) together. As such, you’ll want to replace a broken sway bar link as soon as possible.

suspension bracket stabilizer
Sway bar link with ball joint.

Sway Bar Link Replacement: A Step-By-Step Guide

Some sway bar links have ball joints and studs, while others are basically a long bolt with a sleeve and bushings.

Most professionals recommend replacing sway bar links in pairs (i.e., both front links or both rear links).

Let’s discuss what the replacement process typically entails.

What You’ll Need:

The tools needed to replace a sway bar link will vary, depending on what type of car you have. But, in general, you’ll need:

  • Breaker bar
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Ratchet and appropriate size sockets and wrenches
  • Appropriate size Torx or Allen head screwdriver (some vehicles)
  • Safety glasses
  • Torque wrench
  • Wheel chocks

Once you’ve got everything collected, you can get to work replacing the sway bar links.

Note: The following are general guidelines for educational and entertainment purposes only. Consult your vehicle’s factory information for specific repair instructions and recommended safety procedures.

sway bar link
Bolt-style sway bar links

Sway Bar Link Removal

  1. Put on your safety glasses.
  2. Use a breaker bar to loosen the wheel lug nuts. Do not remove the nuts completely at this time.
  3. Safely raise and support the vehicle using a jack and jack stands. Chock the rear wheels and set the parking brake.
  4. Remove the lug nuts by hand. Then remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  5. Remove the sway bar link. How you perform this step will depend on the type of sway bar links your car has:
See also  Sway Bar End Link Guide: What It Is, Replacement FAQs, and More

Ball joint-type sway bar link

Ball joint-type sway bar links have two nuts. Start by removing the lower nut. Usually, you must hold the stud portion of the link (to keep it from spinning) while loosening the nut.

  • Use an open-end wrench, Torx-head screwdriver, or an Allen-head screwdriver (depending on the vehicle design) to hold the stud portion of the sway bar link.
  • While holding the stud, loosen and remove the retaining nut using another wrench or a ratchet and socket.
  • Repeat the above procedure to remove the lower retaining nut. After freeing both of the nuts, you can remove the sway bar link from the vehicle.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to replace ball joint-type sway bar links:

Bolt-type sway bar link

Bolt-type sway bar links have a long bolt (inside a sleeve and bushings) with a nut on the bottom. You must hold the bolt (to keep it from spinning) while loosening the nut.

  • Use a wrench to hold the sway bar link bolt.
  • Next, use a wrench or socket to remove the stabilizer link nut.
  • Pull the bolt up through the sleeve and bushings.
  • Then remove the sleeve and other remaining components from the vehicle.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to replace bolt-type sway bar links:

Sway Bar Link Installation

  1. Compare the new sway bar link to the old sway bar link to be sure both are the same design.
  2. Install the new sway bar link into the mounting slots in the control arm and the sway bar.

    Ball joint-type sway bar link: All you need to do is slide the studs into the slots.
    Bolt-type sway bar link: You’ll need to slide the sway bar link bolt through the sleeve and bushings, as well as the slots in the sway bar and control arm.
  3. Reinstall the retaining nuts. Do not tighten the nuts down all the way at this time; you will torque them to specification later.

    Note: To prevent premature wear, most automakers recommend torquing the sway bar link nuts with the vehicle at ride height. But this may not be possible if your car is low to the ground.
  4. Reinstall the wheel/tire assembly on the lug nuts.
  5. Tighten the lug nuts until they’re snug using a ratchet and socket.
  6. Safely remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle.
  7. Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specification.
  8. With the vehicle at its normal ride height, use a torque wrench to tighten the sway bar link nuts to the manufacturer’s specification. Remember to hold the stud or bolt portion of the link while turning the nut.
  9. If you’re replacing the sway bar links as a pair (recommended) repeat the process on the other side of the vehicle.
See also  Is There a Rattling Noise Under Your Car When Going Over Bumps? This Could Be Why

You can also check out these videos for tips on how to replace your sway bar end links:

How Long Does it Take to Replace Sway Bar Links?

As long as a vehicle doesn’t have severe rust and corrosion, replacing a pair of sway bar links is usually a pretty straightforward job. On most vehicles, a professional can complete the task in under an hour.

Why Would a Sway Bar Link Break?

In most instances, sway bar links simply wear out due to time, miles, and use. But the links can also break due to rust and corrosion, or metal fatigue. It’s also possible for worn control arm or sway bar bushings to over-extend the links, causing them to break.

In some cases, overloading your vehicle is what causes a sway bar link to break. All vehicles have a weight limit, and most manufacturers write this down in the owner’s manual. Going beyond this recommended weight limit increases the stress on your sway bar links. This can eventually cause your links to bend or snap.

These links are usually weaker than the other parts of your suspension, so you can expect to replace your sway bar end links more frequently than the stabilizer, control arms, and other components.

sway bar and control arm of a car
Sway bar links connect the sway bar to the control arm.

What Does a Sway Bar Link Do?

Sway bar links connect the sway bar to the control arm. There is one link at each end of the sway bar.

The sway bar (also known as a stabilizer bar) itself is basically a large-diameter steel bar designed to prevent body roll during cornering. When the car is traveling over bumps, the stabilizer bar also provides a certain level of stability.

See also  Bad Sway Bar Link Symptoms, Plus FAQ

Most modern vehicles have both a front and rear sway bar, as well as front and rear sway bar links.

Sway Bar Link Location

Before replacing your vehicle’s stabilizer link, you’ll need to know where the sway bar’s located. It can vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model, but most cars have one sway bar in front and another in the rear. Rubber bushings connect one end of the sway bar to the car’s frame, while the sway bar link connects the outer end of the stabilizer to the control arm.

Where to Get New Sway Bar Links for Your Vehicle

Road trips won’t be enjoyable when you’re dealing with a bumpy ride because of worn-out sway bar links. Get a top-notch replacement sway bar link delivered to your doorstep in as fast as two business days when you shop here at CarParts.com.

Our strategically located warehouses across the US make it possible to deliver the parts you need in a jiffy, and it only takes a few clicks to place your order.

Simply enter your ride’s specifications into our vehicle selector to start browsing our catalog of direct-fit sway bar links. You can also use the search filters to find sway bar links according to your preferred brand, price range, and mode. All our products passed stringent testing procedures, so you can rest assured that you’re only getting the best parts for your ride.

Enjoy the best prices on auto parts when you shop from us. All our products come with a lifetime replacement and low-price guarantee, so you don’t have to worry about going over budget to replace your old sway bar links. If you happen to get the wrong part, simply file a claim through our Returns Center, and we’ll deal with it right away and give your money back.

Shop now for a new sway bar link today!

Products Mentioned in this Guide

About The Author
Written By Automotive Subject Matter Expert at CarParts.com

Mia Bevacqua has over 14 years of experience in the auto industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in Advanced Automotive Systems. Certifications include ASE Master Automobile Technician, Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technician, L1, L2, L3, and L4 Advanced Level Specialist. Mia loves fixer-upper oddballs, like her 1987 Cavalier Z-24 and 1998 Astro Van AWD.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : DIY , Suspension Tagged With : ,
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Brook Campbell

72 G-10 Van factory brackets, a rectangle u shaped bolts to frame bolt sway bar bracket insert sway”bar just need the two mounts/bracket

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