CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Rear sway bar

2003 Mazda protege with 105,000 miles. Have had an intermittent clunking sound from rear for years. Mechanic says rear sway bar is bent. Already replaced bushings because they were bad. Do I need to spend $289 plus labor to replace the sway bar?

Some Of These Mazdas Suffered From Worn Rear Stabilizer Bar Bushings Making A Clunk/Knocking Noise .

Mazda’s fix was to replace the old style bushings with a newer version with a teflon sleeve that is molded to the body of the bushing.

I can’t tell by what you wrote if replacing the bushings, with whatever you replaced them with, helped for a while or not.

You could go have a chat with an experienced Mazda dealer parts professional and ask for some advice. There was a problem with these bushings on some Proteges, that I know.

Mazda dealers have a bulletin that discusses this.

CSA

Don’t you think you should check out the rear sway bar links before going for the whole sway bar?

Check if the ball and socket joints have a lot of play. They should feel tight and you should not be able to twist them easily.

By the way, if the sway bar links are bad, that might be something you could tackle yourself.

Another possibility is worn rear strut mounts.

If the rear sway bar is bent, it probably got hit.

Did the mechanic show you the alleged bend?
Honestly, considering that spring steel that sway bars are made of, their thickness, and their ability to absorb energy, I cannot envision how a sway bar could get bent. I suppose anything is possible, but before proceeding I’d want to actually verify the diagnosis. Have a second shop look at it and show you. Have him shake the bar and see if he can verify where the thunk is actually coming from. It’ll be worth the $100. You might even find that the bar simply has grooves worn in the metal where it rotates in the bushing and a different bushing is all that’s needed. Or an end link could be thunking. Both are much more likely.

Check the sway bar links as already stated. Sometimes they rust or break off.