Whenever the cars take a hard turn at any speed, the outside tires lift off the ground until the turn is complete and the car lands back on all four tires. As exciting as this is in movies, it is very dangerous as the car can flip. And also damaging to the car. Now, most cars have this bar to keep all four tires safely on the ground.
An off-roading vehicle, like a jeep, may not want a stabilizer link because the tires require more mobility for pushing over uneven roads. The advantage of a stabilizer link is the ability to hug turns better while on the road. In a turn, the car is forced downward closer to the outside wheels. This link counters this by forcing the car down towards the inside wheels as well. The entire frame is pushed closer to the wheels until the turn is complete and the car raises back up to its normal height.
While going over a pothole, you may have experienced the car rocking back side-to-side. The link is pushing to keep both tires level, so this kind of elevation change can strain the sway bar.
To know the reason behind the stabilizer link is bad follow how to tell if stabilizer link is bad below.
How To Tell If Stabilizer Link Is Bad?
Below are a few warning signs that will let you know when your stabilizer link is starting to wear out and need to be replaced by an ASE-certified mechanic. ASE certification, also known as Automotive Service Excellence, is the certification granted to an automotive technician. ASE complete the required training and obtained their Automotive Service Excellence Certified Master Technicians requirements.
1. Clunking Noises From The Tire Area
The stabilizer bar links attach to the lower control arm at the front end of most of the cars and trucks. In certain cars, the rear end will also have stabilizer bar links. However, the ones that cause the most damage are in the front and located directly behind your left and right front tires.
In case you’re driving down the road and you start to hear a clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal scratching noise, it is possibly the stabilizer bar links causing the sound.
The stabilizer bar links suppose to fit incredibly comfortably. When the links are worn out, the stabilizer link will begin to make these sounds especially when you’re driving around corners or over a speed bump.
When you hear these types of noises coming from the front end of your vehicle, make sure to contact a certified mechanic and have them inspect and replace stabilizer bar links and bushings. This is the first way to know how to tell if stabilizer link is bad
2. Lose Steering Wheel
Since the stabilizer bar links attach to the lower control arm, steering and handling are also negatively impact when they begin to wear out. Most of the time, the actual culprit is the bushings that design to take the majority of the impact and help to protect the metal parts from wearing out.
However, the bushings also can cause extensive corrosion, especially if oil, grease, or other debris becomes embedded on the stabilizer bar. The direct result of all of these issues is that the vehicle simply doesn’t handle the same way that you’re used to. The steering wheel will appear to be loose and the body will sway from left to right more because the stabilizer bar links and bushings are wearing out.
3. Suspension Inspection
A great opportunity for car owners to be proactive about keeping their stabilizer bar and front suspension protected from significant damage. Ask a certified mechanic to inspect them during a front brake pad replacement, tire replacement, or other front-end work.
When they look under the front end, they will also inspect the tie rods, shocks, and struts, CV joints, and boots. They also check the front stabilizer bar links, bushings, and other front-end components. It’s a good idea to have the front stabilizer bar links and bushing fully replace at the same time that other front-end work is complete.
This allows the mechanic to complete an accurate front-end suspension alignment, which properly sets the suspension straight, so that the car drives smoothly, wears your tires evenly. And the car doesn’t pull to the right or left when you are trying to drive straight.
As with any front-end suspension work, it’s always best to have a professional and ASE-certified mechanic complete your stabilizer bar link replacement. In this way, you will get to know how to tell if stabilizer link is bad.
How Long Do Stabilizer Bar Links Last?
The good news is that most owners will only need to replace their stabilizer bar links maybe once during their ownership. Unless until you are one who really puts their car through its paces regularly. The more frequently you stress the bar and links, the more often you’ll need to replace the links, bushings, and other components.
Driving with failed stabilizer bar links can be dangerous, particularly when cornering. Without a functional stabilizer bar, your car tends to roll. The inside wheels leave the road surface as the majority of the car’s weight is pushing onto the outside wheels. So, it makes sense to know a few symptoms to watch for that might indicate your links are wearing out. These include:
- The car feels like it wants to roll when going around curves.
- Knocking sound from the front when driving over bumps.
- Squeaking or squealing when going over bumps.
- The car feels loose in curves.
In case you are forcing to drive with a broken stabilizer bar, you need to drive slower than normal. Try to stick to surface streets and stay off highways and the connecting road where you might require to change lanes. As long as you keep your speed down, you should be safe driving until you can have it replaced. And don’t take turns too quickly
A broken stabilizer link doesn’t make your car undrivable. It does make it handle and corner differently. Because the weight of the car will have a greater effect when turning and during lateral maneuvers.
The most important thing is that you’re preparing for the difference in handling. It can be much more pronounced in some cars than in others. It is highly suggested that you have the stabilizer bar replaced as soon as it’s practical.