Sway bar link

ford
taurus

#1

I have an 02 Ford Taurus that I have been less-than-thrilled with. I’m just trying to keep it alive and safe until I can afford a new car. I just brought it in for maintenance and the mechanic says I need a new sway bar link, and it’ll cost about $200. I’m sure he’s telling the truth about the problem, but I’m looking for candid thoughts on:

- is this a reasonable price?

- would I be stupid to just not fix this?


#2

The sway bar does exactly what the name says, it reduces sway when cornering. If you slow down while cornering, you might not notice any difference. Sway bars seldom break; ususally the bushings wear out, and it starts to rattle. I personally would not bother replacing it if you are planning to get a new car.

In the past, on some cheap cars the sway bar was optional! On my 1984 Impala, only the HD suspension and Police package had a rear sway bar, for instance.


#3

they cost about 40 bucks apiece. so for 80 bucks in parts, figure double that for labor, so should be about $160.00 so your mechanic isnt far off the mark for price. he probably is charging you full markup on the parts (as he is absolutely entitled to) so that could explain why he is a little high.

of course, i think it’s high, because i would do the repair myself, but if you can’t do it yourself, then you have to pay someone else to do it!


#4

Thanks Docnick and Cappy - I’m going to hold off on replacing it.


#5

The sway bar on the taurus wraps around the back of the engine in a U shape with the ends facing forward. If only one link is bad maybe not but if both are bad or broken you would risk these exposed ends catching on the pavement while driving and then you’re asking for trouble ! Investigate under your own car to see if the sway bar links are actually still intact but just worn out and wobbly ( fix it later ) or if they’ve come apart ( fix it now )


#6

You ahould be able to buy a generic for under $20 at the parts store.


#7

Dropping an anti sway bar can have significant effects on the handling of a car causing dangerous understeer or oversteer depending on which end you are removing it from. The bars are the last thing designed into a suspension system after springs and dampers are dialed into the desired ranges.

It is likely that the '84 Impala had different springs and shocks than the luxo-barge model as well. Manufacturers were not as particular about suspension set-up back then either.


#8

Why not buy a couple from AutoZone (20 bucks apiece) and find a small independent shop to install these? I don’t know what the official flat rate time for labor is on your car but I don’t see this as being more than a 1 hour job for both sides.

Some muffler shops also do shocks/struts/brakes and chances are they could do this job cheaper than a dealer or regular independent shop. Something to consider anyway and it might save you a few bucks.

Charges can vary a lot based on locale, shop rates, etc. but offhand 200 dollars seems a mite high if this is for one side only. Both sides it would be reasonable.
This is not a difficult job to do at all.


#9

$200 is to much. The front sway bar link is plastic and it wears out, common on Taurus. $20-30 apiece at a parts store. If you are handy you can do it but getting it off requires a little effort because of the way it’s designed. The rear sway bar link rusts and breaks.

I would fix it even if you are trading. If the dealer hears it they will low ball you since they may think it needs major suspension work.