Troubleshooting the Lexus IS350 Sway Bar
The sway bar isn't a strange club where people drink to rock themselves from side to side. It's actually the part of your IS350 that connects the left and right sides of your suspension system. Also known as a stabilizer bar, it helps reduce your car's body roll while you quickly turn a corner or go over a few road bumps. It also regulates the handling balance of your car, so it won't matter so much if you oversteer or understeer. Your Lexus IS350 sway bar can just adjust your front and rear axle's reactions to the roll so that both of them are tuned in the same way. However, a sway bar isn't immune to encountering problems throughout its lifetime. That's why you need to be aware of the following symptoms to stop them from getting worse.
Obviously, a broken sway bar will affect the smoothness of your ride. You might experience any increase in roll stiffness, jarring, and waddling while driving over rough roads. If this happens, the bars may cause your wheels to lift up when your cars change direction.
Clunking and rattling
A broken sway bar can also make clunking sounds while rattling the front end of your IS350. You'll need to fix this by tightening or replacing the bar so that you won't need to experience difficult steering or get a system tune-up.
Leaning while cornering
If your sway bar flops around while you drive, then it could be because the link that connects it to your chassis could be broken. You'll need to replace this with a new one.
Continuing problems with the sway bars
If you've already replaced your sway bars but you continue to experience problems, then you could be experiencing other suspension system problems that are affecting its performance. Suspension problems can often be diagnosed with a bounce test. Park your car on a level surface and lean on either its front or its rear before letting go. If your Lexus IS350 bounces more than twice and then makes a clunking sound afterwards, then your shock absorber's at fault. If it bounces only once but continues to clunk, then it could be the control arm or the rubber housing that's rotted.
Keep Your Lexus IS350 in Its Prime
As the owner of a luxury vehicle, you expect your Lexus IS350 to give you a smooth ride. You can thank your sway bar for making sure of that. It fine-tunes the movement of your suspension so that any understeering or oversteering on your part will not significantly make the reaction of your front and rear axles different from each other. This results in less body roll while cornering or going over rough roads. To ensure that you keep getting a smooth ride, you need to keep your Lexus IS350 sway bar in its prime. Here are a few tips that can help you do so:
Customize your sway bar's stiffness.
If you're feeling extra creative, you can get a pair of extra sway bars and experiment in changing its stiffness to suit your needs. Get a square piece of steel stock in the same width as your sway bars and turn it into a U-channel stock. Afterwards, weld this over the straight part of one of the bars and test its stiffness. If it's not enough for you, keep adding two-inch U-channels to the ends of the first one until you get the stiffness you want. Cut a new U-channel to the width of these pieces and weld this to the second bar to get the handling of your dreams.
Adjust the sway bar to your driving style.
Even if you're a great driver, there's a big chance that you could be oversteering or understeering your Lexus IS350. If you want to correct your driving balance, you can do so by installing a new sway bar that promotes the right steering style. Get a thicker or stiffer sway bar installed at the front of your car if you understeer. This will give the front end an enhanced grip, increasing your steer. You can get a larger bar for your rear if you oversteer to promote understeering.
Maintain its alignment.
Ensure that your sway bar is properly aligned so that you get a more comfortable drive. You'll be able to steer smoothly over rough roads if you take it in for an alignment after an installation.