Sway bars are crucial to proper handling and stability for any vehicle. They’re designed to cut the amount of lean or “body roll” encountered during hard cornering, or over irregular pavement. Sway bars run from left wheel to right wheel, using end links and torsion springs to absorb the centrifugal-force energy that would otherwise create body roll. The stiffer the sway bar, the less body roll is allowed; changing sway bars is an easy, inexpensive way to fine-tune the handling properties of any vehicle. Good-quality sway bars should be made from high-tensile-strength steel alloy, cold-formed, tempered and shot-peened, with OEM-style pressed bushing locators and greasable urethane bushings.
Lifting a vehicle’s suspension for extra ground clearance means refitting all sorts of accessories and components, including the sway bar. For off-road use, sway bars can limit the amount of suspension travel for each individual wheel; in such cases, a quick-disconnect end link can allow you to unhook or re-connect the sway bar without unbolting anything. Dropping the sway bar (by using a drop bracket) is also crucial to proper handling and correct steering geometry.
Like any other elastomeric parts on a vehicle’s undercarriage, sway bar bushings can decay, soften or dry-rot over time. Worn sway bar bushings can seriously affect handling and stability; polyurethane replacement bushings are made from a high-grade compound that won’t degrade over the years like OEM rubber parts.