I have a 2002 Mazda Protege. For at least the past few months there has been a rattling sound from the front right side of my car. When I took the car in last fall, my mechanic told me it was the stabilizer bar link and would probably be ok for a while, as long as I was ok with the rattling sound. So I thought I’d wait until I have some funds to get the work done on it.
Today I took the car in for an oil change and a different mechanic told me that if I didn’t replace the stabilizer bar soon it could affect the shocks. Can anyone clarify this for me? I’m mostly wondering how urgent this work really is because I’m pretty broke right now. If I dont replace it now will it cause other problems and possibly more $$ for me?
Do you know somebody mechanically inclined? Stabililzer bar links with bushings can be bought pretty inexpensively at the parts stores and do not require special skills or tools to change. They only require some elbow grease.
A $20 Haynes manual and a new link with bushings are all you really need. Stop by the parts store and check it out.
Yes the loose stabilizer link will put some extra load on the shock absorber on that side but IMHO it is not significant enough to require immediate replacement of the stabilizer link. As that wheel goes over a bump, the spring and shock on that side will compress until the slop in the link is taken up then all three will be resisting the further movement of that wheel. If the link were replaced, all three would act in unison to keep the wheel on the ground.
IMHO start saving up for the repair but get it done as soon as you can. An intact stablizer system is important to the handling of the car in turns.
Some links are rather minimal and rust through. It might rattle now, but if it snaps the steering can get quite lively. I had one snap and you should be very cautious till this is fixed.
http://www2.partstrain.com/basket.php?add_item_id=1794244 this is what your sway bar link looks like. they are relatively cheap. do you know anyone who could install it for you? they are not that hard to do, and for the cost of a chiltons repair book, a typical backyard mechanic could do this.
this is especially true since you already know what the part looks like, you can find the old one easily, and it is only two nuts on each one to loosen, and put the new one on, and re-tighten the new ones. on the other hand, if you get a price from a local mechanic to install these, compare the prices you are quoted, since they will ,ark them up quite a bit, to make up their profit margin.
Stabilizers end links can be had for not much money, however replacing them can be a royal PIA without the right equipment. For one the car needs to be lifted evenly so there is no tension on the sway bar when disconnecting it. Secondly a lot of times the bolts on the ball joint end links are rusted on, or will just spin the ball joint, making it necesary to cut them off with a grinder. This job is also so much easier if the car is on a lift. I have replaced them on front of my 95 Stratus, Not fun!
Excellent point Americar. Personally I just cut the old ones off. I often don’t even fool with rusted nuts and bolts unless absolutely necessary.
Off subject, here’s a tip for exhaust system components: I replace the old bolts and nuts with stainless steel and antiseize compound (the SS will gall otherwise). When it again becomes time to work on the exhaust, the nuts and bolts come apart like brand new. Cutting in a confined area can be a pain.