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The rear stabilizer bar bushing is a key part of your car’s steering system. It’s pretty simple, but a little wordy, so let’s take this piece by piece. Let’s start with a stabilizer bar, which is commonly referred to as a sway bar, and occasionally as an anti-roll bar. So, pick the name you like best and stick with it. Not all cars have stabilizer bars, but yours presumably does. Otherwise, why are you reading this article? Cars that do have stabilizer bars often have two: One in the front, and one in the back. Do I need to tell you where the rear stabilizer bar is located? Good. So, the stabilizer bar does exactly what the name suggests: It stabilizes. The stabilizer bar runs across the bottom of the car and is connected to the frame of the car on the left and right side. As you turn one way or the other, the car begins to roll in that direction, compressing or extending the wheels in the process. In essence, the stabilizer bar connects the wheels on either side. This helps the car straighten out after you turn, which, it might shock you to learn, is a little bit important if you want to be able to drive safely. In addition to this, the stabilizer bar helps keep your car stable when driving over bumps and potholes, which also reduces the noise and vibrations that exist in your cabin, so that it doesn’t feel like a rave inside your car. Okay, that brings us to the bushings. Don’t worry, we’re almost done. The bushings are how the rear stabilizer bar attaches to your car on either end. There’s one on each side, they’re made of a very strong rubber, they’re lubricated, and they hold the bar in place. As is the sad reality with so many parts of your car, the rear stabilizer bar bushings can wear out over time, causing problems.
You should pay attention to how your car feels, to the point that when it drives differently, you notice it immediately. If your rear stabilizer bar bushings start to wear out, the bar will be able to move back and forth. The entire purpose of the bar is that it doesn’t move, which stabilizes the car. When that is compromised, it will result in steering that doesn’t feel quite right. It might shock you to learn that the car will feel a lack of stability. But the steering will also be a little unresponsive. The car may feel a little delayed in turning, and the steering will feel heavier than it usually does.
Speaking of things you should probably pay attention to: Weird nosies coming from your car. If your car’s rear stabilizer bar bushings are wearing out, they’ll start to talk to you. There are two different noises that busted bushings will make. You might hear a squeaking sound due to a lack of lubrication. This will probably sound a little bit like metal-on-metal friction, because it is. And yes, metal-on-metal friction is exactly as nice sounding as you would think by the description. You also may hear a rattling or knocking noise. This is a result of loose bushings allowing the rear stabilizer bar to move around, rather than stay in place. 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.
Look, I really don’t want to have to tell you that your steering system is a key part of your car, but here we are. Your steering is really important, and anything that compromises the system should be addressed immediately.
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