To understand whether you need a sway bar on your Jeep, you’ll need to understand the basic definition of a sway bar. Once you understand what a sway bar is and how it helps your vehicle stay stabilized, you’ll understand the application of sway bars on a Jeep.
What Is a Sway Bar?
What is a sway bar? Sway bars are also known by the name stabilizer bars or could be called anti-roll bars as well. That should give you a big hint to what they do for your vehicle, they’re used to stabilize it and keep it from tipping over.
While in your head you may be thinking of major events and spectacular crashes, these also help your vehicle during normal events like cornering. While cornering, a sway bar helps to stop the vehicle from leaning which could lead to a dangerous roll.
The sway bar attaches to the chassis and really connects the whole car from the left to right which adds stability as a whole. This stability still allows each side’s suspension to act independently though.
It seems obvious that you would want sway bars for certain types of driving like taking your Jeep off-roading, however sway bars are a bit more complicated than that and can act differently in different situations.
Sway bars can make changes to how your vehicle handles both when driving in your normal everyday life and when you take it off road as well.
These changes can be important for vehicle handling so you’ll definitely want to make sure you get the right set up for your Jeep.
An In-Depth Look At Sway Bar and Performance
As mentioned, sway bars are utilized to link both sides of your vehicles’ suspensions together. This is basically a spring that gets attached to your vehicle’s frame to accomplish this.
When turning your vehicle, there will be times when your outside wheels don’t match up with your inside wheels. These situations are when you see vehicles rolling over after an aggressive turn.
Even if it doesn’t creating a rolling vehicle situation, it can still cause some instability or even simply weight distribution that isn’t good for the vehicle.
Basically, a small amount of this kind of activity is not a bad thing, but a lot of this kind of activity is a horrible thing.
What sway bars aim to do (They may be known as stabilizer bars, or even anti-roll or anti-sway bars) is to try to compensate against that weight distribution going awry.
When a vehicle corners, it is a big weight shift that the suspension tries to adjust to and sway bars help make that happen.
If you’re going down a highway in a straight line, your sway bar isn’t affecting your car at all.
There’s really no functionality whatsoever until you get into that situation where you need to make a sharp turn or a quick u-turn. Then the sway bar kicks in to function to start fighting against that imbalance.
Even when talking about sway bars, there are differences in the way that they go about their job.
That flexibility is going to allow you to take on rough terrain with more confidence, as the sway bar will keep your Jeep or other vehicle safe from the fear of tipping over.
A sway bar can also improve the handling of your vehicle through sharp quick corners. This is a big area of performance so it’s nice that a sway bar can help you like that.
One interesting fact that is lesser known about sway bars is that they can be installed in the front or rear of a vehicle to help with the stability of cornering.
Regardless of where you put it, this is not something that is going to greatly affect your handling in normal situations.
There are also models of sway bars that can be disconnected and there are others that are adjustable depending on certain conditions.
Sway Bars and Your Jeep
There are certain models of vehicles which are known for the ease in which they flip over. One example would be the Jeep Wrangler.
Almost all Wranglers now feature stabilizer bars in 2 places – the front and back so that they can improve their steering capabilities and make sure that they do not flip over easily.
Jeeps can use two types of sway bars, either solid or tubular. A lot of people favor solid sway bars, however tubular can be used as well.
The tubular bars are empty inside and therefore are a lot lighter than their solid counterparts.
If you’re looking to achieve the same effects with a solid bar and a tubular bar, you would need a larger diameter tubular bar to make up for the lack of weight found in a solid bar.
Stock sway bars should be fine for Jeep vehicles, however some consumers are always looking for the best products.
There are various sway bars sold by different companies that can be even better at protecting your vehicle than the stock variety. These aftermarket sway bars tend to be more durable and be a better product overall than the stock sway bars that you generally find.
This would generally depend on the retailer, so make sure to do your homework before buying any product out there.
There are differences between front and rear sway bars when adding them to your Jeep chassis. Front sway bars are the best at controlling the initial distribution when you are heading into a curve.
Their problem would be that they understeer at the end of the curve. The back sway bars can tend to oversteer at the initial curve point however.
If you are having these problems, you may simply need to update the system that you have so it works for you or you may need to upgrade to a nicer product.
Some people think that with leaf springs you could go without a sway bar. While that is technically true, you really need to have a sway bar for off-roading for the safety of yourself and your vehicle.
Disconnecting Sway Bars
Disconnecting sway bars seem to be a confusing idea. If you are trying to connect both sides’ suspensions, why would disconnecting the sway bar be a good idea?
If you’re asking that question, you probably weren’t familiar with off-reading and the usage of sway bars in these situation.
One great example of this is a Rubicon which allows the user to disconnect the front sway bar with one button push.
That is going to allow for some extra flexibility and maneuverability to help you get around tricky obstacles and any sticky situations that you might encounter.
While your Jeep rolling is going to be a bad situation, getting stuck in a tight spot on a trail is going to be potentially just as bad depending on where you’re at.
Disconnecting sway bars can do a lot to help when you need your Jeep to have great cornering but you also need to be a flexible off-roading monster.
Just because a sway bar is listed for one use doesn’t mean that you have to only use it that way; however that would be the manufacturer’s way of telling you what the sway bars are best used for.
A lot of these recommendations are outweighed by knowing your vehicle well and knowing exactly what you are going to be putting it through so that you can get maximum performance.
Adjustable Sway Bars
One great solution for Jeep owners who are looking for a flexible solution is adjustable sway bars.
This is usually a version of a disconnecting sway bar but can also be a normal pair. These sway bars have the ability to go up in size in case you make changes to your Jeep in the future.
One example would be if you are considering adding a lift kit but you’re not sure yet. If you buy adjustable Jeep sway bars; your end links on your sway bars will still fit to attach the suspensions correctly.
Other adjustable sway bars have different positions so that you can change your suspension around and modify the front or back of your vehicle so that you have a soft or stiff “feel” to your Jeep.
Adjustable sway bars are usually the best purchase because you are able to do a lot more with them. Sway bars are not always a one-size fits all operation so you want to have something that you’re able to move and grow with depending on the situation.
Not only that, but even in the world of off-roading, no two trails are similar and you won’t need to attack them the same way.
With adjustable sway bars, you’re giving yourself another tool that you can use to your advantage and creating the best environment that you can for yourself.
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