Your vehicle malfunctions, and when you take it to the mechanic, he says something is wrong with the stabilizer bar. You will wonder as you have not heard of this component ever before. Most people do not know about sway bars or stabilizer bars.
What Is A Stabilizer Bar?
The stabilizer bar is a component that is attached to the suspension system of your car on both sides. The whole contraption is hidden in the underbody of the car, but its importance is enormous. The stabilizer bar stabilizes the car during turning movements of the vehicle.
This prevents the car from swaying and helps reduce the impact of bumps and potholes in the road. This is also important for dampening driving sounds and making rides smoother.
The Mechanism Of The Sway Bar
These bars are fixed to the chassis. The bars remain fixed with the suspension system with brackets and bushings. You can maintain their efficiency with regular servicing.
But over time, they may start making high-pitched sounds indicating that they need maintenance. If you ignore these sounds, the suspension will soon be affected, and you may face more challenging issues in steering too.
The bar bushings can be fixed easily if you know the symptoms. Some signs that the bushings of the stabilizer bar need to be taken care of can be very minute, and unless you are aware of these, you may fail to recognize the same.
With each drive, these parts deteriorate very fast and may not last long if you don’t recognize the first symptoms.
Symptoms Of Bad Stabilizer Bushings
Squeaky sounds in the foot area
The first symptom is the high-pitched squeaky sounds from the belly of the car. There are multiple components in a vehicle, and they will make different types of sounds sometime in their life to attract your attention for repair.
But this is entirely different from all the other sounds and indicates only one thing: the bushings are worn out. This sound may be more prominent when you turn the car or on uneven roads. This symptom may be eliminated by lubricating the bushings.
Loud sounds from below the car
If you ignore the first symptom and do not take care of the bushings, they will be further damaged. Their support to the stabilizer bar will reduce and vibrate loudly while the car is in motion.
When the vehicle turns or goes over a speed bump, the voice will be louder. The bar sways more, and one day it may just drop, and that is why it is essential to pay attention the first time you hear any rattling sounds from the car.
The vehicle’s stability is compromised.
With time and further deterioration, the vehicle will lose its stability and roll even when the car is accelerating. The vehicles are known to wobble even at 25 miles an hour.
Vibrations may occur due to the car bushings
Broken or damaged sway bar bushings cause vibrations when driving especially when you are driving fast. However, you may not recognize this effect if you drive at a low speed.
The vehicle may respond slowly.
We become familiar with the way our cars feel while driving over a period of time. When the bushings become older, and the stabilizer is not working properly, you would immediately feel the change in the car’s movement.
The vehicle may respond slower than before, and steering will also be less effective. The car may also be unstable when you turn around bends and corners.
You must check the bar bushings.
You need to access the car’s undercarriage and cannot just raise one side of the car. Use protective gloves and take utmost care while using the tools needed for this inspection.
The vehicle must be lifted completely as you need to see the entire suspension system, and raising only one side will not help.
Check the bar bushings on both sides of the suspension and the stabilizer bar for any movement. The bar bushings should not move or vibrate. If you observe any movement, then inspect closely for signs of damage.
Damaged Stabilizer Bar Bushings Cannot Be Fixed
The stabilizer bushing bars cannot be repaired. These deteriorate with time and must be replaced. In the beginning, some lubrication may stop the squeaky sounds, but they are bound to wear out over time.
There is no fixed period for the bar bushings to last. The load in the car, the kind of roads used regularly, the stress on the suspension, etc., have a bearing on their durability. The bushings are made of rubber and may last for even a decade, but the environment may damage them within a few years too.
Do Not Drive With Damaged Sway Bar Bushings
Once you know that the car’s sway bar is broken or damaged, it is imperative to visit a mechanic immediately. But more important is to drive there slowly and with utmost care.
The bushing bars and stabilizer help you to drive with balance and allow you to turn the car without rolling. Once the bar bushings and the sway bar malfunction, you may lose control over these aspects.
Driving a vehicle with damaged bushing is considered dangerous because it allows you to control steering. Soon the wheel alignment will also be skewed, and tires will start wearing out with each bump and turn. People have reported losing complete control over the steering wheel leading to wavy or rolling movements.
If the rear sway bar is damaged, you may still be able to drive the car, but then your car will be unstable, and you will experience more rolling if the car speed is even slightly more. This is very dangerous when you turn around corners and may lose balance, leading to life and car damage.
You may not know much about the stabilizer bar bushings, but these are vital for the safe and smooth driving of the car. You must reach a service center or a mechanic at a very slow speed if you can identify any of the symptoms mentioned here.