Whenever a car turns into a corner, you might notice there is a shift in weight and it feels like the car is swaying. However, with stabilizer links or sway bars, you end up with a balanced car that does not sway from one side to another.
Excessive swaying on the other hand can be an issue generally. This should definitely be remedied as soon as possible.
The main reason you are having the car swaying from one side to another is because of broken or damaged sway bars. You could also be having worn shocks and springs that would contribute to experiencing the same.
We look at the various reasons for this behavior and the right way to improve the car’s performance.
Reasons Why the Car Sways from Side to Side
Here are the key reasons why the car is swaying from one side to another each time you are driving.
1. Broken sway bars
A sway bar is a tubular bar that is connected from one side of the suspension to the other. Its job is to control how the car sways each time you drive around the corners.
The bar is vital to work as a lever for pushing the inner tire into the ground thus helping to reduce how much the car leans.
There is also the sway bar link. This is where the bar connects to the suspension. If this link is damaged or broken, now the sway bar has no control over how much the car sways. That is how you end up with a car moving from side to side.
The solution to this problem is first identifying the location of the sway bar and inspecting the links. If the links are broken or the bushing is old, you simply need to install new ones.
Unbolt the old link and install a new one that offers good contact with the suspension.
Here is a video on how to replace a sway bar link
2. Worn Springs and Shocks
Another reason you are having excessive sway in your vehicle is because of worn shocks and springs. This would make the rear of your car fishtail a lot.
The worst can be when turning into a sharp corner. It is possible for you to lose control if the springs and shocks are worn.
Springs do not wear that easily, but you should always consider it when you are driving the high mileage cars. Chances are they might not have been replaced before.
Make sure to have the springs and shocks tested to see if they are still in good condition. Sometimes they can be overlooked, but they are vital to keeping the car from swaying side to side.
3. Worn Silentblocks or Bushings
A car would have a number of bushings in different parts of the suspension. When these bushings are worn, that is when you can experience swaying of the car.
That is not all. The rubber in the bushing is key in absorbing the vibrations. If the rubber is damaged, then you can end up experiencing more vibrations in the cabin in addition to the swaying.
For an old car, it is best to replace most of the bushings. This would leave you with a less noisy car that also maintains a straight line.
4. Faulty steering rod end and ball sockets
These two also affect the car’s stability while in motion. Having a malfunction in the two easily leads to a car that can sway from side to side.
They are not likely to fail easily, but you should consider having them replaced if they are found to be culprits.
5. Check the alignment
Alignment is commonly associated with the car pulling to one side. However, it can lead to swaying from side to side if the alignment is badly off.
The good thing with alignment is that it can be fixed easily and fast. Just have it looked at by a professional using the right diagnostic tools and realign the car to keep it from swaying again.
Here is a video on how to check the car’s alignment.
Signs of Bad Sway Bar
Since the sway bar is the biggest reason you might end up facing the swaying, we shall look at the signs it is going bad so that you know when to have it replaced.
- Rattling and clunking
When you hear the rattling and clunking, it means that the bushings that the sway bar goes through are worn. The result is that now the sway bar is in direct contact with the other metals making it hard for it to do its job correctly.
The excessive rattling and clunking also lead to more wear and tear on the sway bar.
- Improper handling and steering
The sway bar is responsible for keeping the car driving straight. As such, if you start to feel the steering is vague and handling is poor, it could be that the sway bar is not holding well.
Have the sway bar looked at in addition to other suspension components to improve the handling and steering of the car.
- Torn bushings
In case you notice there is a problem with the car’s handling, start by looking at the bushings. A visual inspection is needed for this part. This time look at the sway bar link bushings. People often neglect them and they could be the main reason for the sway.
If the bushings are damaged, go ahead to replace them for a better handling car.
Let us say you have identified that the sway bar is the one with issues, how would you replace the sway bar? We have a detailed video below for you to learn more about the whole process of changing the sway bar.
Can having bad alignment make the car sway?
Bad alignment can lead to loose handling which is also likely to lead to swaying. Still, if the driving conditions are also not good, then you would end up with a swaying car.
What are the common signs of having a bad sway bar?
The clunks and squeaks are likely to tell you that the sway bar has issues. Have a proper visual inspection to fully understand the problem.
Why does the car feel unstable?
Other than the sway bar having an issue you could also be having problems with the tires. Ensure the tires have the right tire pressure and the bushings are in good condition also to promote a stable ride.