Sway Bar: Why Upgrade My End Links And Bushings?
A vehicle's suspension system allows the driver to control his or her vehicle and avoid accidents commonly derived from poor handling characteristics and sub-par componentry. An essential feature of a vehicle’s suspension system is its sway bars because it connects both axles and allows the vehicle to travel in uniform and with stability. This article will discuss the sway bar more in-depth and explain why upgrading your WRX's sway bar accessories is worthwhile for the vehicle’s handling.
Why Is A Sway Bar Important?
The sway bar, commonly known as an 'anti-roll bar,' is a vital component in the suspension system which reduces body roll on uneven roads and during turns. The sway bar is essentially a spring that forces the inside tire down during a turn. Whether or not you are running an aftermarket sway bar on your WRX, upgrading your sway bar accessories will benefit your Subaru's handling performance tremendously.
Sway Bar End Links and Bushings
Sway bar accessories consist of sway bar end links and bushings. Their function is to firmly secure the sway bar and allow for it to operate effectively. With end links or bushings cracked, worn, or even missing, a sway bar becomes a floating bar that introduces poor handling and performance. Most importantly, the sway bar's poor security also raises safety issues during travel and renders the sway bar completely useless.
Sway bar bushings are connected on each end of the sway bar and attach to the lower control arm, which connects to the vehicle's suspension system. In contrast, the bushings are attached directly to the chassis, allowing for both components to work independently from one another, keeping the front end as rigid and intact as possible. You can find all of our suspension related products for your Subaru WRX pertaining to sway bars on this page.
Troubleshooting Worn Out or Damaged Links and Bushings
Often, factory end links and bushings go bad prematurely for many reasons – the main reason is that it is not a quality product. Factory components are often designed for daily driving and the occasional spirited driving. They are not designed to last long when exposed to prolonged periods of spirited driving. Suppose you are looking for an extra advantage in your handling or would like your links and bushings to last a lot longer. In that case, it is worthwhile to upgrade these vital accessories.
Some symptoms of bad end links are obvious rattling or clunking, which usually presents itself while driving around corners or bumps. The sound will more often come from one or multiple sides where an end link might be failing. Another symptom of a bad end link might be the degradation of your vehicle's handling ability. Suppose you notice that your vehicle has an unusual amount of oversteer, understeer and body roll. In that case, it is an excellent time to inspect the end links for failure.
When looking for end link failure, start by looking for broken shafts, bent components, or missing hardware, such as ball joints within the endlinks. If all checks out, remove the end link and check for excessive movement or play in the ball joints. Chances are if your end links are still securely tight, the bushings are the cause of your problems.
Worn bushings cause the sway bar to have excessive movement. Some movement is good, because the sway bar needs to absorb the imperfections of the road and have a little give; however, too much movement is usually a sign that your bushings are losing their hold.
By performing a simple tug test, you will find that while the end links are intact, the sway bar moves within the bushings and demonstrates play. Excessive play transfers into symptoms that you may be experiencing out on the road. Moreover, movement creates strain onto the end links and other components of the suspension system. It is highly likely that the end links’ structural integrity has already compromised long before you have diagnosed the worn bushings. Whether one or more accessories is the issue, we recommend that both the end links and bushings are to always be replaced together.
Why Should I Upgrade?
There is nothing wrong with replacing your end links and bushings with factory OEM ones. In fact, it is a safe bet if you are still using a factory sway bar for your WRX because of its original compatibility. However, quality end links like the Impreza GC/GD and Hardrace Front Sway Bar bushings will undoubtedly improve the integrity of factory bars. A factory bar might have more spring than an aftermarket bar, but it will still perform better because of the reinforced grip as opposed to if the factory bushings and end links were used.
The Impreza GC/GD end links provide longer life than that of the 60,000 mile OEM ones. They are constructed of high-grade steel alloys which provide for improved handling. Steel, by nature, absorbs more shock and is a compliant metal. Choosing this aftermarket end link set will aid in your WRX's suspension and allow for greater versatility when cornering or braking.
Another option for quality end links would be Hardrace Stabilizer links. Virtually the same as the previously mentioned but acquire a different pattern and shape.
The Hardrace Front Sway Bar bushings feature a more rigid rubber that also absorbs shock far greater than that of the factory bushings. Also, with the blue color finish, you can have an effective visual inspection when diagnosing cracks or degradation.
TakeawaysUpgrading your WRX's sway bar accessories is an investment that will improve your vehicle's safety and handling. Whether you are reading this article because your end links and bushings failed or looking you just want to upgrade, take the wise step in improving your current setup. Moreover, we recommend taking action before these components start failing out on the road. Suppose you wait until the last minute to replace a damaged accessory. In this case, chances are you might have already damaged additional parts of the suspension system. Components that might have taken damage include lower control arms, shocks and springs, and even the accelerated tire wear. After examining the sway bar along with how end links and bushings function, it is evident that all three components work together to provide a robust and overall better feel for your vehicle's handling ability.