As an European sports car owner, you have probably heard of sway bars and how necessary they are to maintain control and ride quality. What are sway bars exactly, and how do they work?
We got you covered. Read on to learn all about sway bars.
Why Does Your Car Have a Sway Bar?
The purpose of having a sway bar on your car is to reduce body roll while cornering. Keeping the car flatter during turns also keeps more weight on the inside tires. This increases the amount of traction the inside tires have, which increases the maximum cornering forces the car can handle.
How do Sway Bars Work?
Also called stabilizer bars, sway bars are wide U-shaped bars. They connect to the lower suspension arms on each side of the vehicle, and also to the body (or frame). High performance cars usually have a sway bar at the front and rear. When your car turns a corner, centrifugal force causes the car to compress the springs on the outside of the turn, while unloading the springs on the inside of the turn. The result is body roll, or sway. A sway bar resists body roll. As the body begins to roll, the inside lower suspension arm starts to drop. The sway bar end moves with the arm, and the bar transfers a downward force to the outside suspension arm. The effect is to increase the spring rate on the outside of the car, but only during the corner.
In addition to reducing body roll and improving traction, sway bars also create a better ride when the car is going straight down the road. Without sway bars, the car manufacturer would have to install stiffer springs to resist body roll and get the desired corning characteristic. Installing sway bars allows softer springs to be used.
Sway bars themselves rarely fail. However, the sway bar mounts and links may fail. The mounts are usually rubber, and can degrade or begin to disintegrate over time. The sway bar links are short slender metal bars that connect the sway bar to the suspension arm. They usually have a rubber isolated ball joint in each end. The rubber isolation or the ball joint(s) can fail. Either the mounts or the links failing results in the sway bar not engaging as quickly as it should, so handling becomes sloppier. Also, the sway bar links can make clunking noises when they fail.
What to Look for in an Aftermarket Performance Sway Bar
A lot of car owners either upgrade to an aftermarket sway bar (if their car already has one) or add a sway bar (if their car doesn’t have one). The goal of upgrading is to get a sway bar that is stiffer than the one it replaces. This can be done by increasing the diameter of the sway bar, or by moving from a hollow bar to a solid bar of the same diameter. It’s one of ways you can upgrade your car to get it to handle like a mountain goat.
There’s a lot of aftermarket sway bars to choose from. In order to find one that delivers the most value for your money, you need to know how to recognize the cream of the crop from the rest. The way to do it is to look for sway bars that have the following features:
- Model-specific fitment and tolerances
- Engineered for better performance
- High quality materials
- Easy installation
If you are looking for a brand that makes sway bars with all the features listed above, try Super Pro or 034 Motorsport for your Euro performance car. These are solid brands that make a point to offer the best sway bars and related components on the market. Get yours today!