What a Swaybar does
Sway bars are an integral part of your suspension system. Also known as stabilizer bars, anti-sway bars or anti-roll bars these devices prevent the body of the vehicle from leaning, or rolling, during a sharp turn. As a vehicle enters into a sharp turn the force pulls the vehicle towards the outside of the turn. This effect is forced onto every component on, or inside the car. This forces the portion of the car on the outside of the turn downwards while simultaneously lifting the inside potion of the car upwards, thus forcing the car to roll. Taking corners too fast can actually cause a vehicle to roll over.
When this applied to a vehicle more weight is placed on the outside tires and less on the inside. This reduces traction and steering. The best way to counter this force is to somehow make the car conform to a flat position while it enters and continues through the turn allowing the weight to remain equally distributed on all four tires. This is exactly what a sway bar does, it allows the vehicle’s body to remain flat through turns, but how does it work?
A sway bar is a metal rod attached to the frame of the vehicle in front of the tires. This bar is attached with bushings allowing it to rotate as the vehicle moves. Attached to this rod are rods that connect to the suspension system on both sides of the vehicle. As a vehicle enters a turn pressure is applied to the outside of the vehicle. As force is applied to the outside of the car the sway bar is pushed upwards. This force is transferred from the outside of the vehicle back towards the center of the sway bar forcing the other side of the car to adjust and compress, keeping the vehicle flat through the turn.
Driving without a stabilizing bar can cause body roll during turns. This in turn can lead to a loss of control at high speeds and during turns and can even lead to your vehicle turning over. Sway bars that are too stiff tend to generalize the suspension, loosing independence in each tire and causing bumps on one side of a car to transfer to the other. This can be damaging to your suspension and is generally considered a bad thing.
Ideally you want a stabilizer bar that reduces body roll while maintaining the independence of the vehicles suspension. Sway bars are vital to properly reducing roll while driving through turns or swiftly avoiding an obstruction in the road. These components assist in reducing roll while providing structural support and dampening during turns. Sway bars have become standard equipment on all new vehicles but several aftermarket options are available for high-performance vehicles. Most sway bar tensions can be adjusted by a service station or mechanic if you feel your suspension system feels too stiff when contacting bumps in the road.