Sway Bar Diagnostics

Or– How to go about discovering the remedy to this diagnostic from the garage: “Sway Bar Boots Cracked”
What IS a Sway Bar? I have another article on How to Google, but this is not the place for that. A bit of Research goes a long way to seeing what is being referred to.
I *DID* find a very good page about this here but let’s go on
Basically it is a mechanical coupling between the wheels on either sides of a vehicle IF they are NOT on a common axle,
which is true of most front wheel drive cars which have SEPARATE axles per drive wheel,
or independent suspension cars like the old VW van which has rear wheel drive, an engine in back and two lonely independent non-driven front wheels-
and a long piece of torsion bar across and between these two
( fixed a bent on in the Australian Outback many years ago!)


Now to the Specifics- this is for a 2000 dodge caravan where the garage reported during an oil change
and quotes $256- Most of this is likely labor, in our area, about $100/hr. I happen to know that under most cars, movable parts are protected by shields, boots and guards– Or they should be.
a Boot looks like your shoe indeed, has bellows-like flexible moldings or a concertina finish, and, tellingly, needs to be threaded over a shaft or bar to install or remove.
However, some clever Dicks have invented snap-on wrap-around Boots to protect moving things from road dirt ingress that can be fitted without removing said bar to re thread things..

But Wait- If the boot is busted, dirt may already have got in and ground down some part of the joint?
Now it’s time for Youtube. Often as not in this situation, you would want to inspect the couplings to see if indeed the unguarded parts have been invaded with dirt. This can involve some tricky disassembly.
If YES, which is Likely, almost certainly wear and damage will have occurred- In fact, let’s just assume it is So, and the job of replacement Looms.
Here are some YouTube searches
Looks too expensive or difficult for that old car?
How about just washing out the old lube+ gunk with spray grease solvent or steam clean, re-up the Lube and new snap on boots?

This is like the “Watchful Waiting ” doctors often advocate where the a procedure will be more trouble than it’s worth- especially– and I hate to say this– as you age : )

Consider the sometimes surprisingly low cost of a total part replacement- Maybe more than is actually wrong, but complete with the bushings, boots and everything– Head on over to Amazon and or your Local Parts Store!

 

And

 

Good Luck!