How to Change Sway Bar Bushingsby Jody L. Campbell
Sway bar bushings wear down after a while and can create a looseness in the control of your steering and also make clunking noises in the front end. The sway bar connects the left wheel to the right and helps the control of the vehicle when leaning and turning. The bar is attached to each knuckle of the wheel with a sway bar end link and then the bar is also attached to the undercarriage of the vehicle with two brackets and two bushings. The level of difficulty to replace them depends on the vehicle type you have and the location of the bushings.
Park the vehicle on a paved level surface. Apply the parking brake and release the hood latch. Place a wheel chock behind of the rear tires and open the hood of the vehicle. This will help to allow some light down into the engine compartment for you when you're underneath it.
Lift the left front quarter of the vehicle with the floor jack and place a jack stand in a safe and secure location. A front frame rail would be ideal if applicable. Repeat this step for the right front quarter to elevate the front axle.
Put on the safety glasses, grab the tools, replacement bushings, and creeper and crawl under the front of the vehicle.
Locate the sway bar bushings by following the sway bar from the links behind the front tire(s) to where it is mounted to the undercarriage of the car by a bracket. In some vehicles, it may be necessary to remove heat shield, brackets or other components to obtain access to the sway bar brackets for removal. If this is the case, remove anything to help you gain access. The brackets are mounted by one or two bolts. Sometimes the bolt may be steadied with a nut or sometimes it may be screwed into a fixed threaded hole in the undercarriage. Remove the bolts using the ratchet, socket and hand wrench if necessary. One bolt sway bar brackets will have a hinged top or bottom that you'd swing away once the single bolt was extracted.
Slide the old bushing along the sway bar to a location that's easy for you to extract it from the sway bar. Pry the slotted opening of the bushing using the pry bar to convince it off of the sway bar. The bushing are generally a rubber coated steel bushing so they're going to come off stubbornly. Place the new bushing onto the sway bar in the same fashion. Since they're new, they're going to be even more stubborn than the old one(s).
Position the bushing back in the correct location on the sway bar and replace the brackets. Tighten with the ratchet, socket and hand wrench as necessary.
Replace any components that you may have had to remove. Collect all the tools and debris from under the vehicle and crawl out. Lower the vehicle, close the hood, and remove the wheel chock.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands (2)
- Wheel chock
- Safety glasses
- 1/2-inch drive ratchet
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- Replacement bushings
- Medium pry bar
- Box end hand wrench set
Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.