The average cost for replacing a sway bar link is $40 to $180, which can vary if you DIY or take it to the mechanic.
This price range is based on averages across the country and does not factor in make or model, nor does it include taxes or extra fees.
For a more accurate estimate based on your location, make, and model, please use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Cost to Replace a Sway Bar Link at the Mechanic: $90 to $180
- Parts: $40 to $110
- Labor: $50 to $70
This repair is usually done in a half-hour to 45 minutes per link, depending on your vehicle type.
Cost to Replace a Sway Bar Link as a DIY Project: $40 to $100
- Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult
- Parts Needed:
- Jack and jack stands
- Lug wrench
- A penetrating lubricant such as WD-40
- A ratchet
- A pry bar
- Socket set
- Wheel chocks
- Replacement sway bar links
The average mechanic cost is usually in the $80 to $120 per hour range, and the repair takes half an hour to 45 minutes to complete. If you are mechanically inclined, you can save a little money by doing it yourself (even for beginner DIYers), and the job can be completed with fairly basic tools.
What Is a Sway Bar Link?
Sway bar links are connect your vehicle’s sway bar to the rest of the suspension components. The sway bar is a torsion spring that connects to each side of the suspension to give the vehicle added stability while cornering or over bumps. Without a sway bar, the vehicle would bounce over bumps or feel more top heavy in corners.
The sway bar links connect the sway bar to the vehicle’s control arm. Usually, ball joints are at each end of a link, one of which connects to the control arm and the other to the sway bar. The links give a little flexibility to the system, which is crucial for proper operation. Ball joints wear out over time which causes them to become loose. The sway bar isn’t as effective because it has lost some of the stiffness.
What Does Replacing the Sway Bar Link Include?
The first thing you need to do is get the vehicle lifted or on jack stands and remove the wheel where the link is located. Find the sway bar, and there will most likely be two nuts that hold the link in place. These are removed, top first, then the bottom one. Once the nuts have been taken off, pry the sway bar near the sway bar link to get the links loose. Use the pry bar again to apply sufficient force to line things up so you can seat the new sway bar link. It is just a matter of tightening the nuts to the proper torque specifications and putting the wheel back on.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace the Sway Bar Link?
While you can drive your car with a worn-out sway bar link, it is not a good idea. The sway bar assembly is crucial for proper handling and stability. Initially, defective sway bar links will do nothing more than be noisy, but left unchecked, it could become a safety issue as the vehicle no longer handles as designed.
After a while, though, it could cause damage to other parts of the suspension system (including the wheel bearing) and could even lead to premature tire wear. For that reason, it is advantageous to get the sway bar links fixed as quickly as possible, as it will save you money in the long run. If you must drive it, just drive very carefully, and be extra cautious while cornering or going over extremely bumpy roads.
How Often to Replace Your Sway Bar Link
Fortunately, sway bar links last a very long time. There’s no exact or generalized estimate for how often you should replace your sway bar links, but when you do it, be sure to replace all of the links at the same time (most modern vehicles have two in the front and two in the rear). Vehicles used for towing, racing, or off-roading will generally require sway bar link replacement more frequently than the average car.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Your Sway Bar Link
- Unusual noises. If a sway bar link begins to fail, it might make clunking, squeaking, or rattling noises as you drive the vehicle, especially on a rough road or when cornering. This noise will get worse and more frequent as the link deteriorates.
- Vehicle swerves by itself. Once the links have seriously deteriorated, handling will become problematic even on a smooth, straight road. It may feel unstable, and even the slightest bump causes handling problems. On a rougher road, the vehicle might even swerve.
- Looks/feels worn out. Perhaps you noticed one of the symptoms listed above, and it would be a good idea to check the sway bar links. The sway bars should be easily visible by getting under your car and looking at them. See if there is any apparent damage, such as visible wear on the rubber bushings. Also, try to move the links; if you can do so easily with your hands, that probably indicates an issue. Check and see if it is disconnected from either the control arm or the bar itself.
Related Maintenance Services
The following maintenance services are commonly performed when a sway bar link is replaced:
- Replace the sway bar bushings. Bushings are typically urethane, polyurethane, or rubber and need to be replaced for basically the same reasons the links may need replacing.
- Replace the control arm. The links connect the sway bar to the control arm, while the bushings connect the bar itself to the chassis and allow the bar to float and adjust to the car’s movement.
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