Automobiles are carefully designed by experts to help the users experience a smooth, comfortable, and safe ride. A sway bar link is a small but significant part of the complex mechanism that serves the purpose. WheelZine traces out the details on the purpose and working of a sway bar link.
Ease of Adaption
The sway bar link allows the user of an automobile to adapt it in accordance with the type of terrain upon which it is to be driven. The bushings at the end of the links can be dismantled to remove the sway bar to prepare the vehicle for a rugged terrain and can be fitted back in while traversing the smoother roads.
The horizontal leveling of the car, with the path it is being driven upon, is elementary to the comfort of its passengers. A long and hollow arched steel bar known as the sway bar or a stabilizer bar is fitted at the front and rear end of the vehicle to suffice for the purpose. Additionally, it ‘shifts’ the compression force from one end’s suspension to the other. This prevents the car from ‘flipping over’ while cornering at a bend in the path.
The bar in itself is a torsional spring. As a counter action to the torsion produced in the bar due to irregularities of the driven path, the link at both the ends raise or lower the springs attached to the control arm of the wheel. A sway bar link can, therefore, be said to function in favor of smoothing the motion transfer between the sway bar and the control arms in the car’s suspension mechanism.
It is connected to the sway bar using a bushing and nut to allow movement and fastened using a bolt to the control arm.
Purpose of the Sway Bar Link
While the driver tries to turn around a bend in a road, the suspension of the outer wheels is compressed relatively more than the suspension for the inner wheel. The inner wheel rises, but the axle attached to it lowers where the link is connected. The sway bar link transfers this change in the position of the control arm to the sway bar, which gets raised at that side. The sway bar undergoes torsion and gets twisted in order to resist the movement, and consequently the spring on the other side expands. Thus, the sway bar link transfers a change in spring compression to the sway bar that raises the spring constant for the other spring. In this manner, the difference in compression cancels out the total lean experienced by the car, and the horizontal alignment of the chassis with respect to the path remains parallel. In the absence of this action, the inner wheel of the vehicle would tend to take a wild spin and lose traction of the road. The sway bar link maintains the camber angle of the inner wheels to control its direction of motion.
When the car is driven over a bump that extends over to both the opposite wheels (front or rear), then the sway bar does not do much, since the bump was equal. Equal and normal compressional forces are implied on the springs at both the ends of the sway bar. It is when either of the wheels out of the pairs present at the front or rear suffers a bump or a dip, then the sway bar links come into play. The change in the level of the wheel axle traverses through the links and enables the sway bar to twist so as to equalize the compression in the springs of the two ends. The net effect is that the ‘bump’ or ‘dip’ is spread evenly by the sway bar among the connected pair of wheels. To dampen these jerks, additional suspension elements are employed.
The sway bar links are small but significant to the working, mechanism, or the suspension system. They play a crucial role to provide for passenger safety. The lifespan and durability of these links are fairly moderate, but the bushings need to be checked for damage or replacement at regular intervals. Hence, one should be aware of the symptoms of a bad sway bar link so that if the need arises, you can go to a professional mechanic for help.