Best Sway Bar Bushings: Improve Your Vehicle’s Handling
These top sway bar bushings will make your ride smoother
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON December 18, 2020
The stabilizer bar on your car is designed to absorb bumps and reduce noise when you’re driving. They feature rubber bushings that prevent your vehicle from rolling as it corners. Sway bar bushings wear out over time and can cause issues with steering and handling. Check out this buying guide to find the best sway bar bushings on the market.
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Benefits of Sway Bar Bushings
- Reduced road noise. Everyone wants a quiet drive, especially if you are driving for long distances. When you hear rattling, clunking sounds, or squeaking noises under your car, you should know it’s a result of worn-out sway bar bushings. Since the stabilizer bar bushings are located underneath your car, you may want to lube them properly or replace them in order to eliminate the irritating noises.
- Reduced vibrations. Sway bar bushings and sway bar end link bushings are commonly known as anti-vibration mountings due to their role in absorbing bumps and cracks on the road, delivering a softer ride. Properly fitted and high-quality sway bar bushings offer less NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) transmission compared to solid connections.
- Enhanced handling. If you notice slow or sluggish vehicle handling when making quick turns, it is time to change your sway bar bushings. New bushings enhance the cornering capabilities of your vehicle to ensure your driving is comfortable and safe.
Types of Sway Bar Bushings
These bushings are made of metals such as iron and steel. They are commonly found in old car models and heavy trucks. They are preferred in heavy equipment due to their stiffness and ability to withstand stretching and abuse. However, they are prone to fast wearing and you may need to lube them constantly for enhanced performance and extended lifespan.
These are the most common types of bushings found in cars today. Rubber is preferred in making bushings due to its ability to withstand friction, heat, and cold. Additionally, rubber bushings are cheap and maintenance-free—no need to lubricate them. However, rubber tends to stretch when put under too much stress, leading to suspension alignment problems.
Urethane or Polyurethane Bushings
Due to the fact that rubber compresses, flexes, and stretches, it may lead to handling problems. For this reason, manufacturers have come up with a stiffer material for bushings—urethane and polyurethane. These types of bushings are almost as rigid as metal bushings but they do not wear as much as their metal counterparts, and they do not wrap around like the rubber bushings. However, they are a bit more expensive compared to metal and rubber bushings
Greasable or Non-Greasable Bushings
Sway bars can either be greasable or non-greaseable. Greasable sway bar bushings feature specialize channels that allow the lube to flow to all the surfaces of the bushings, hence reducing friction and noise. They are long-lasting and provide a very quiet and smooth ride.
On the other hand, non-greasable bushings do not need any grease to function. They are cheaper and maintenance-free as compared to their greasable counterparts. However, they are not very durable and do not offer a very silent ride.
Energy Suspension Inc.
This is an American international company that has been in the manufacturing business for over 30 years. With its plant in San Clemente, Calif., the company has established itself in the world as the leading manufacturer of bushings and suspensions kits. The company uses modern technology, state-of-the-art equipment, rubber, and polyurethane materials to make high-performance, durable, and efficient accessories. One of its best-selling sway bar bushings is the Energy Suspension 9.5161G 1" SWAY BAR BUSHING SET.
This is an international company that is based in Ontario, Calif. The company, known as Dee Engineering, has been in existence since the 1970s, when it was involved in the marketing of aftermarket automotive parts. In 1991, it launched its PROTHANE division, which had only 100 products at the time. The company now has more than 5,000 products to its name and has made an international name as one of the world’s leading brands. It manufactures automotive suspension kits such as rear sway bar mounts, front suspension kits, end link bushings, rear suspensions, control arms, and other suspension kits using urethane compounds. Some of its best-selling sway bar kits include the Prothane 18-1115 Red 26 mm Front Sway Bar Bushing Kit and the Prothane 4-1138 Red 34 mm Front Sway Bar Bushing Kit.
Moog is an international American company founded in 1919. The company then extended to Europe in 2001. From there, it is now known as a world leader in manufacturing trusted steering and suspension kits as well as high-quality chassis parts. The company takes quality very seriously and therefore it does all it can to manufacture parts that ensure safe and comfortable driving. For this reason, the company backs all its products with a three-year warranty. Some of its best-selling sway bar bushings include the Moog K8657 Sway Bar Link Bushing Kit and the Moog K3171 Sway Bar Bushing Kit.
Sway Bar Bushings Pricing
- Under $20: In this price range, expect sway bar bushings that are maintenance-free and very easy to install. They are mostly made of rubber or thermoplastic material and they are efficient. However, they may not withstand extreme stress and they may not be very long-lasting.
- $20-$50: Here you can expect bushings made of urethane and polyurethane materials. Due to their high-quality construction, they can withstand heat and excessive usage. They come with small brackets and can hold grease to reduce noise.
- $50 and up: In this price range, bushings are mostly made of specially formulated polyurethane compounds to ensure the highest levels of street performance. Here, the bushings reduce noise considerably, improving handling and cornering. Also, you can expect them to be durable and to withstand extreme abuse.
This is the most important factor to consider when buying bushings, otherwise, you may end up spending money on an item that won’t fit your car. The size of the bushing to install depends on the diameter of the sway bar you are using. The sway bar diameter varies in different cars. Therefore, it is important to know the size you are using before spending any money.
Bushings can have different constructions and each of them has different characteristics. Metal bushings are the stiffest, but they are prone to wear and tear. Rubber bushings are cheap and maintenance-free, but they are prone to stretching under extensive stress. The best option is polyurethane bushings, which are almost as stiff as metal bushings and are more efficient and long-lasting. However, they are a bit expensive compared to other constructions.
- Ease of Installation. Despite the fact that you need a mechanic for proper installation, you need to consider the ease of installation before buying bushings. This will save you time and money. Therefore, make sure the bushings you buy are easy to install and come with a clear installation guide.
- Maintenance Required. Although maintenance-free does not necessarily mean long-lasting or reduced noise, it is important to know how easy it is to maintain your bushings. Ensure you buy bushings that do not require constant greasing and changing.
- Durability. This is an important factor to consider with any bushings you buy. Since they cost money in both buying and installation, you want to consider bushings that will last you for some years. Consider the coating, material, and warranty to determine how durable your bushings are.
Best Sway Bar Bushings Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- It's important that you keep your sway bar bushings lubricated. They need lubrication if you notice a squeaking sound when you drive over bumps or make aggressive turns.
- Stabilizer bar bushings can be fragile and may require special tools when you replace them. It can be challenging to do the work yourself, so make sure you do your research to ensure they are safely and properly installed.
- If your sway bar breaks, drive slower than you normally do. Avoid highways where you have to change lanes, and don't turn too quickly.
Q: When do I need to change my sway bar bushings?
You may need to replace the bushings if you notice your vehicle is more sluggish when making turns. Or you may hear a clunking sound or squeaking noise underneath your vehicle.
Q: Is it okay to drive with a broken sway bar and bushings?
You can still drive a vehicle with a broken sway bar, but you should be very careful. The problem can affect the handling ability of your car or truck. Experts recommend replacing a faulty sway bar and bushings as soon as you can for optimal handling.
Q: How much does it cost to repair a sway bar?
That depends on your vehicle's make and model as well as where you get the vehicle serviced. It can cost a couple of hundred dollars, not including taxes and fees. Since much of this cost is labor, you can save money if you replace the bushings yourself.
Our pick for the best sway bar bushings is the Moog K7352 Sway Bar Bushing Kit. They are very solid, easy to install, and greatly improve your vehicle's handling abilities.
For a more budget-friendly pick, consider the Moog K8655 Sway Bar Link Bushing Kit.