Can You Drive Without a Sway Bar: Is It Safe for You?

Can you drive without a sway bar is a popular question you hear from people with a defective sway bar. It is usually the case when they are not yet ready to fix the issue, so they want to know if they can continue using their car until they have spare time to resolve it.

Interior Design of a Car ~ Ran When Parked
This article discusses everything you need to know about a sway bar and answers the question. Read ahead!

Is it Possible to Drive With a Missing Sway Bar?

Yes, driving a car with a missing sway bar is possible. However, we do not recommend you drive a vehicle without a sway bar, as this may negatively impact the handling and control of your car. Also, it may increase the risk of rollover auto accidents.


You might also ask “can you drive without a rear sway bar?”Generally, when driving a vehicle without the sway bar, it is advised that you avoid driving at high speeds. If possible, you shouldn’t ply the highway and be extra careful when driving to improve car handling and control and maintain a safe trip.

How Exactly Does a Sway Bar Work?

A sway bar works by preventing your car from rolling over. The bar connects either side of your car suspension, ensuring that your vehicle remains in contact with the ground even if tilting to one side or you are moving on a slippery road.

A typical example is when your car hits a bump, the sway bar pulls the other side up to help it regain balance and stability. Below are other means by which the bar functions.

As an Anti-Roll Bar

As the name suggests, an anti-roll bar, the sway bar, prevents the car from rolling off the road, especially after swerving.

Driver Fixing The Anti Roll Bar ~ Ran When Parked

Instead, it acts as a moog k750043 stabilizer bar link, retaining the vehicle’s contact with the ground and resisting an overly body roll.

Off-Road Disconnection

When driving off-road, in rough terrain with several bumps, one side of the vehicle tends to be higher than the other, like you are going over a rock.

An Off Road Car Climbing a Hill ~ Ran When Parked

In this case, the sway bar disconnects to allow a more practical function of the car suspension for a more comfortable ride.

Force Transfer

When a vehicle encounters a bump or makes a sharp turn, the wheels on one side may move up or down due to the differences in the road surface. Ideally, this movement should cause the car’s body to lean or roll. However, the sway bar counteracts this tendency by transferring the force to the other side of the vehicle.

This is done by connecting either side of the vehicle’s suspension and opposing the generated force caused by this bumpy or turning movement.

Why Do You Need a Sway Bar When Driving?

You need a sway bar when driving because it plays a significant role in your vehicle’s suspension system, significantly benefiting the overall driving experience. The sway bar, also called an anti-roll bar, acts as a stabilizer. Its primary function is to ensure stability, control, handling, and overall driving safety.

Below are more detailed information relating to the benefits of driving with a sway bar.

Enhanced Traction

Driving a car with a functioning sway bar ensures your vehicle has optimum grip and traction between the car tires and the road. The sway bar helps ensure the car’s weight is evenly spread over the wheels. This feature is critical when driving on slippery roads or making turns at high speeds.

Traction Button Of a Car ~ Ran When Parked

As an anti-roll bar, the sway bar reduces the car’s body roll when navigating curves, ensuring that the tires on either side of the vehicle maintain stable contact with the road. This further improves the friction of the car tires, providing optimum control and handling and preventing oversteering or understeering of the vehicle.

Reduced Body Roll

Generally, when you turn your car in response to a curve or drive through rough terrain, the body often responds by rolling or leaning to one side. This alters the car’s stability and traction, reducing the comfortability of the people in the car.

The sway bar, which connects the suspension components at either side of the vehicle, reduces the tendency of the car to lean to one side.

Therefore, during such turns, especially at high speeds, a car with a missing anti-roll bar may excessively tip to one side, risking an accident. However, if the anti-roll bar is in optimum condition, it connects the two ends of the car’s suspension, keeping all four wheels gripped to the ground for optimum stability.

Improved Car Handling

As mentioned earlier, sway bars help enhance car handling while driving. It helps maintain an even distribution of the car’s weight across the four wheels for more precise steering and smooth, accurate driving.

Driver Hold The Steering Wheel ~ Ran When Parked

This feature improves the vehicle’s responsiveness, control, and stability. It is crucial for individuals driving sports cars, SUVs, and even super-duty trucks.

Improved Safety When Driving

Since the sway bar enhances stability, control, and handling, especially when driving at high speeds, it helps improve driving safety. It reduces the risks of your car sliding or losing grip on the road, especially when navigating sharp curves or making an emergency stop.

Improved Car Performance

Besides improving car handling and control, the sway bar helps to improve the overall car performance. Since it helps to distribute the car across the four wheels evenly, it gives the car and the driver better balance, which makes the vehicle more responsive and able to move at higher speeds.

Close Up On an Engine ~ Ran When Parked

Enhanced Stability

As reiterated, the sway bar enhances the car’s stability by distributing its weight even when navigating sharp curves.

Stabilizer Bar Of a Car ~ Ran When Parked

This feature helps to keep the vehicle in line, preventing it from veering off course and remaining in the path the driver sets.

How Do You Know If the Sway Bar is Faulty?

You know your sway bar is faulty when you notice decreased handling and stability when driving. It may also accompany excessive body roll, or even understeering, among other symptoms of a defective sway bar. Afterward, the first thing to check is if the rod is firmly attached to the suspension.

Beyond the general symptoms, other signs of a faulty sway rod include the following:

Uneven Wearing of Car Tires

Since the sway bar helps distribute the car’s weight on all four tires and keeps the tires rooted to the ground, it can result in uneven wearing if it’s faulty.

A Used Tire Of a Car ~ Ran When Parked

This is because there is no friction on the tires. Therefore, besides poor handling and control, uneven wearing of your car tires is a practical means of spotting a defective sway rod.

Rattling Noises

A worn or broken sway bar may begin to produce rattling or clunky noises. Such noises are more prominent when going over bumps or driving off-road on rough terrain. It is often a result of the looseness of the bar bushings or skyjacker c966sbl-s sway barlinks.

Inconsistent Tire Pressure

Another simple way to detect you have a faulty sway rod is uneven pressure in your car tires. You may notice that tires on one side of your vehicle tend to experience more pressure than the other. This is often a result of uneven distribution of the car’s weight, one of the hallmarks of a defective sway rod.

Pressure Gauge Showing The Air Inside Tire ~ Ran When Parked

Other signs include

  • Excessive body roll
  • Decreased friction and traction.

How To Fix a Defective Sway Bar?

To fix a defective sway bar, you should take your car to the auto repair shop, where an experienced mechanic can address the situation. Fixing the issue yourself may be pretty challenging, and you sure do not want to tamper with other essential components of your vehicle.

However, if you enjoy DIYs and like to get your hands dirty, below is a simple guide to fix this issue.

Step 1: Lift the Vehicle

With the aid of a suitable screw jack, lift the rear side of your vehicle. Ensure it is closer to the location of the car’s sway bar.

Mechanics Under A Lifted Up Car ~ Ran When Parked

Also, you may need to use a jack stand to secure it in position and prevent it from falling off when working on the car.

Step 2: Locate and Inspect the Sway Bar

After raising the car, locate the swaying rod and inspect its components for any possible defects or signs of damage. This could range from rust, crack, bend, or wearing out of the bushings, end links, or any other indicators of faults.

Finding The Sway Bar After Lifting Up The Car ~ Ran When Parked

Just ensure to note any possible defect, as that is what will determine the solution. For example, if it’s just a superficial rust, or the seizing of any of the components, you can just apply lubricating oil to rectify it.

Step 3: Remove Damaged Components

After inspecting and identifying the defective parts of the sway bar, you can remove them so you can install new ones. With the aid of appropriate wrenches and socks, remove the boots of faulty sway bar bushings and end links or the rod itself, depending on the extent of the damage.

Step 4: Replace With New Components

After removing the defective parts of the sway bar components, install new ones. Ensure you get the one specific for your vehicle that fits the manufacturer’s specifications. However, you should tighten the bolts and nuts to secure them in place. This is important as it helps to keep them intact and prevents them from slipping off.

Afterward, when slowly unscrewing the jack, you can return the car to its normal position. You can then take it for a test drive to confirm if you have fixed the defective sway bar. Just ensure to pay close attention to the changes in stability and handling. When you notice an improvement, you’ve fixed the issue.


How Much Does It Cost to Fix  Faulty Sway Bar?

The cost of replacing a sway bar varies, depending on the model of your vehicle. However, on average, you can expect to pay between 200 and 400 dollars for a new sway bar. However, if you are just replacing a part, the cost may vary depending on the components.

For example, the bushings and end links may cost between 20 and 70 dollars, depending on the type and model of your vehicle. Also, if you are fixing it at the auto repair shop, you know you’d have to pay for workmanship, which may increase the repair cost to over 100 dollars, depending on the location and the mechanic’s expertise.

Is It Safe to Drive Drive With a Bad Sway Bar?

Yes, it is safe to drive a car without a sway bar. However, you must exercise extra care to avoid accidents, considering such a vehicle is often difficult to handle and control. In fact, it’s hard to fix the problem.

However, if you can drive slowly and carefully, you should be able to drive such a vehicle safely.


We already established that driving without a sway bar is safe, though you need to be careful to maintain significant handling and control of your vehicle. Let’s quickly go over other info we discussed thus far.

  • The sway bar helps maintain optimum control and handling, improving the car’s stability and overall driving safety.
  • The car functions as an anti-roll bar and force transfer and helps enhance your car’s traction for an improved driving experience.
  • When you notice uneven wearing of your car tires and inconsistent tire pressure, you know there are issues with your car’s sway rod.
  • It is often difficult to fix issues with the sway bar. Hence, we recommend taking your car to the auto repair shop so an expert can fix the issues. However, we provide guidelines to fix the problem for individuals who prevent DIYs.

Indeed, the sway bar is an integral component of your car; you can drive without it.

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