How to Install a Sway Bar Link
Replacing faulty sway bar links is critical because they are part of the vehicle's suspension system. Sway bars control how much the car "rolls" as it goes into corners of sharp turns. If the sway bar links are bad or gone, you could have a serious accident.
Preparation for Sway Bar Link Removal
- Find a dry and clean place to work on the car. Drive the car up on ramps for the front tires and place heavy wheel wedges behind the back wheels. Make sure the vehicle is in park and the hand brake is set.
- Set up some work lights, both above the vehicle and below in order to provide plenty of light.
- Place a drop cloth on the ground under the vehicle.
Removal of Sway Bar Links
- Position yourself under the vehicle near the sway bars setup. You will have to size the two nuts that hold the link in place. One nut is a through-nut style while one is a regular nut. Try a few wrenches until you determine the size.
- For stubborn nuts, spray some lubricant on the nut connections and then let sit for about 30 minutes or so.
- Hold the through-bolt with one wrench, while you remove the nut with the other. It's a good idea to have a helper with you.
- You may have to tap the wrenches with a hammer because automotive nuts are usually put on with air wrenches or maybe a torque wrench. Consult an expert to determine whether or not the sway link nuts have to be torqued down to a certain foot pound rating.
- Pay attention to the exact position of the old sway bar link. Remove the nuts and hit the sway bar link up with a sledge hammer until it pops loose. Repeat this for both sides.
- Take the sway bar links to the local auto parts dealer to make sure they get matched up perfectly. Make sure you know the make, model, and year of your vehicle too.
Installing New Sway Bar Links
- Position the new sway bar links in place. You may have to use a pry-bar and lift or move the suspension a bit to get the new links to align properly in their right place.
- Use the two wrenches and your helper again to install the new sway bar link.
- Tighten down on the links, one at a time. Tighten down on one side, then switch to the other. There is a rubber seal on both sides that has to be evenly compressed as you tighten down on the nuts.
- Continue to tighten down on both sides until the rubber seals are about two-thirds compressed. Again, check with an expert on how much to tighten down on these connections.
Replacing your sway bar links can be done with just a few basic tools and a weekend day or two. You may need to consult an auto expert if this job is too hard for you.