General Tips for Adjusting Sway Bar Suspension

Sway bar suspension bar, or an anti-roll bar as it is commonly called, is an essential part of a car’s system. Basically, a sway bar is a metal arm that connects the right wheel to its adjacent left wheel; this manages weight distribution in the car while driving and keeps the car level while driving on rough surfaces or while taking sharp turns. As the sway bar constitutes a very important part of the car’s suspension system, it is very important that its function is understood fully.

What Does a Sway Bar Do Exactly?

A sway bar basically distributes weight across all 4 wheels as evenly as possible, i.e. if 1 wheel experiences a load or a weight, this weight is transferred to the other wheel as well. This prevents the car from rolling over as well as excessive weight shifting between wheels cannot take place, all this accounts as well for a rewarding driving experience as it does for a forgettable one; depending on how the sway bar is adjusted. Also, as result of this behavior, the sway bar also controls the responsiveness of a vehicle, namely the driving under-steer or over-steer, and how well a vehicle turns corners at high speed. It is therefore, very essential that any adjustments to the sway bar are done with care, the following simple tips shall give a fair idea of how to maintain a standard suspension and the effects that minor adjustments to the sway bar may have on the driving experience.

What are the Alternatives to Adjusting a Sway Bar?

There are several quick fix solutions that impact the driving experience in the same manner as a sway bar adjustment does, you should always consider these before actually adjusting the sway bar. A very simple, albeit temporary, solution is to let some air out of one set of tires, either the front or the rear. If you car does not have adjustable sway bars, you can just change the bushings with aftermarket offerings on the side of the vehicle where you want a stiffer suspension. Additionally, if your car has adjustable shocks, you can change their stiffness too for the same impact on driving experience.

Sway Bar Adjustment

Here is a look at how different adjustments affect the suspension as a whole.

Soft Front Bar

  • Increases front traction of the car while decreasing the rear traction.
  • Increases the roll of the car.
  • Under steers the vehicle.

Stiff Front Bar

  • Decreases front traction of the car while increasing the rear traction.
  • Decreases the roll of the car.
  • Over steers the vehicle.

Soft Rear Bar

  • Increases car roll.
  • Decreases front traction while increasing rear traction.

Stiff Rear Bar

  • Decreases car roll.
  • Increases front traction while decreasing rear traction.
  • Increases Steering sensitivity during high speed cornering.

As even minor changes can have sizable impacts, it is suggested that any adjustments to sway bar suspension are done with great care and if possible, using professional tools.

Other Tips

Adjust the suspension while a person of approximately your own weight sits in the driving seat. Also make sure that the car’s sway bar remains parallel to the ground for optimal performance.