5 Indicators That Your Jeep’s Sway Bar Links are Due for a Replacement

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Jeep Wranglers are reliable vehicles, known for their top-notch performance and excellent off-roading capabilities. However, Jeep Wranglers are also notorious for being easy to flip over. This is especially true for lifted vehicles. As such, they’re built with front and rear sway bars or stabiliser bars. These components, sometimes also called anti-sway bars or roll bars, are part of the vehicle’s suspension system.

The primary role of sway bars is to reduce the Jeep’s body roll when cornering or when driving over bumps and potholes by increasing stiffness. This gives your Jeep the ability to “hug” the road when cornering. 

The sway bars in your Jeep Wrangler are attached to the suspension by bushings and links. The bushings provide cushion to the ends of the sway bar links where they attach to the sway bar. The bushings are made of heavy-duty rubber, while the sway bar links are made of metal. In theory, the links should be able to last for years. However, metal fatigue can quickly set in because the sway bars rotate whenever you make a turn. This, in turn, puts stress on the links. Rust and corrosion can also cause damage to the metal.

In short, your sway bar links will eventually wear down. How do you know when to go to a quality Jeep parts supplier in NZ and get new sway bar links? Here are a few indicators to watch out for:

Your Jeep Feels Like It’s Going to Roll When Cornering

As mentioned earlier, the main role of the sway bars is to keep your Jeep steady when you make a turn. If you feel like your vehicle is about to tip over to its side when cornering, have the sway bars or sway bar links checked. They might be damaged and need to be replaced. Action movie sequences where the driver manoeuvres the car on its side on two wheels look cool, for sure. It’s much less fun, however, when it happens to you. (It’s also less fun for your Jeep’s suspension.)

The Steering Wheel Feels Loose

Does your steering wheel feel a little loose when you try to make a turn? This is a common indicator of damage or natural wear-and-tear to the sway bar and the sway bar links. Remember: the sway bar is designed to add a little stiffness to your Jeep. This allows you to control the vehicle better and keep all four wheels on the ground. If you feel a bit of “slack” on the steering wheel when cornering, you may need to get some sway bar and sway bar link replacements soon. Do note that a loose handling feel is an indication of trouble with the front sway bar or sway bar links. 

Rattling Noises from the Front or Rear

There are many reasons behind rattling noises in your Jeep. It could be a loose part in the exhaust, or there could be something wrong with the engine. If it’s the latter, it’s usually a problem with the water tank or the timing belt pulley. When there’s a rattling sound when you accelerate, it could be a problem with a torque converter.

If your trusted mechanic has already ruled out these other problems, then the sway bar links can be the source of the rattling sounds. Get them checked and replaced when necessary.

Knocking, Squeaking, or Squealing When Driving Over Bumps

Under normal conditions, your Jeep should make little to no noises when driving over bumps or potholes. If you notice a sudden uptick on knocks, squeaks, and squeals on bumpy roads, it’s possible that your vehicle’s sway bar links are worn down. Have the suspension system checked by a mechanic and buy replacement sway bar links from a reliable auto parts shop.

Poor Ride Quality

If your passengers are complaining of poor ride quality, the rear sway bar or sway bar links may be broken. In particular, you might feel the car body sway a little when you’re cornering, changing lanes, or driving on uneven roads. The change might not be noticeable when you’re driving straight and on flat roads, however.

Note that you can still drive your Jeep with damaged, broken sway bar links. But you will have to deal with the changes in handling and ride quality. You may not be able to notice the difference, especially since the Jeep is a performance-oriented vehicle. Nonetheless, the change will be there.

If you absolutely have to drive, go slow. Make sure to stay on flat roads and avoid highways where you have to change lanes frequently. Be extra cautious until you can have the sway bar links replaced. 

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