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Let’s get the important part out of the way first: The front stabilizer bar bushing is a key element in your car’s steering system. I’m just going to assume that I don’t need to tell you why the steering system is vital. Bushings are an incredibly simple concept, so let’s start with what a stabilizer bar is. You may hear a stabilizer bar referred to as a sway bar, or an anti-roll bar. They’re all the same thing. You can pick the name. Dealer’s choice. Not every car utilizes a stabilizer bar. Presumably yours does. Otherwise, why are you reading this article? Just for fun? Cars that do have stabilizer bars often have two: One in the front, and one in the back. I’ll give you two guesses as to where the front stabilizer bar is located. So, the stabilizer bar does exactly what the name suggests: It stabilizes. It runs across the bottom of the car and is connected to the frame of the car on both the driver side and passenger side. As you turn to the left or to the right, the car begins to roll in that direction, compressing or extending the wheels in the process. In essence, the stabilizer bar connects the wheels from both sides This helps the car straighten out after a turn, which, in shocking news, is kind of a critical part of steering. You know, if you’re interested in the whole driving safely thing. In addition to this, the sway bar helps keep your car stable as you drive over imperfections in the road, like bumps and holes. So, that brings us to the bushings, which are a small, strong element made out of lubricated rubber. The bushings are how the front stabilizer bar attaches to your car on either end. There’s one on each side, and they keep the bar in place. Like most rubber components in your car, the bushings in your front stabilizer bar can wear out over time, at which point they will need to be replaced.
Look, here’s the simple, but important truth: You should have a strong feel for how your car drives. That way you’ll know the moment that something is off, and you can address it immediately. Which you should. So, on that note, if your front stabilizer bar bushings start to wear out, the bar will be able to move back and forth. The sole purpose of the bar is that it doesn’t move, and that stabilizes the car. So, when that is compromised, the car will have a lack of stability. And that leads to a steering system that will feel a bit unresponsive. Your car may feel a little delayed in turning, and the steering will feel heavier than it usually does.
If your car’s front stabilizer bar bushings are wearing out, they’re likely to start yapping at you, with one of two different noises. The first noise is a squeaking sound, which is the result of a loss of lubrication in the bushings. It’s a bit like a high-pitcher metal-on-metal friction, which is just as nice as that description sounds. Which is to say, yes, it’s highly annoying. You also might hear a rattling or knocking noise. This happens when the bushings begin to fail, and the stabilizer bar is able to rattle around. Both of these noises will be heard primarily during times that your car uses the stabilizer bar, such as when making sharp turns, or when driving over bumps in the road.
Well, how important would you say your car’s steering system is? Exactly.
Busted front stabilizer bar bushings will impact your steering system, making it less effective to steer, and causing further damage to the rest of the system.
Not a good thing. Get it replaced.
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