Sway bars needed?

My stepson recently discovered something was dangling under his 1997 Ford Escort wagon and it turned out to be a sway bar. He took it to some “mechanics” who told him that he didn’t really need a sway bar on his particular vehicle (for whatever reason) and told him it should just be removed. He okay this “repair” and so now he is sway bar less. I’m not sure if it’s the front or rear bar. This doesn’t feel right to me. What do you think?

My understanding is that the car will not corner as well. Is that important? Don’t know, doubt it.

If it was not needed to help handling why would Ford put it on in the first place?

Don’t remove it.

Sway bars are put on there for a reason and that is to improve handling; especially on curves.
No idea why a shop would recommend or perform something like this but they should be avoided like the plague.

Something else to consider here. If he lives in a state with a vehicle safety inspection program there’s a good chance his car will not pass inspection since he’s lacking a critical part of the suspension.
Since it’s easier to repair the sway bar than remove it I don’t know why in the world they pulled it off. Those guys need to turn in their wrenches.

You could get some bad oversteer on a tight corner. Most junkyards can get the swaybar for you. If it is the front one, you really should have one.

I broke a sway bar link on a trip and drove hundreds of miles without it. Made it home, but it sure gave it an uncontrollable feeling in any lane change. Letting him drive without one would be a criminal act.

Or under steer depending on whether they took one off the front or rear. If you remove both the front and rear bars you might be better off than just taking off one. I won’t recommend either unless you are expert and evaluating suspensions.

To the O.P., get it fixed!!!

On many cars, and I think the Escort is one of them, the sway bar does double duty as the trailing link also. If this is the case, the vehicle cannot be driven without it. It may not need a rear sway bar though.

Only a fool would, as a professional mechanic, remove this important suspension component and tell a customer it’s unnecessary. If the customer loses control and crashes, they just lost their business and perhaps even have charges brought for gross negligence.

The car may appear to drive OK without it but it will be most noticeable under emergency type maneuvers or hard cornering- when you need it most.

Sway bar end links are a common failure item. They are typically very cheap to replace. The idea of removing the bar instead of replacing the end links boggles the mind…

Since auto manufacturers are extremely cost conscious, it is just not believeable that Ford decided to put an unnecessary component on this model, and it is more likely that these clowns masquerading as mechanics just don’t have any expertise regarding suspensions.

As a result of your son’s experience, I think that this is a perfect example of the need to find a competent mechanic, as these guys are not competent and are putting the life of the driver, his passengers, and other motorists in danger by advocating the removal of a vital suspension component.

And, as a side note, I would like to remind everyone who says, “you are always better-off with an independent mechanic”, that this is a perfect example of how silly that statement is.

If someone wants to save money, an independent mechanic will surely save you money when it comes to repairs. However, in this case, the ultimate cost cannot be measured simply in dollars.

A dealership can frequently be criticized for charging more and can sometimes be criticized for going “overboard” with repairs. However, I seriously doubt if the service department at any dealership would advocate removing a vital component such as an anti-sway bar.

So–my advice is to ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for recommendations on a competent mechanic for future repair and maintenance needs. And, don’t believe those who say that you “are always better-off with an independent mechanic”. Your own experience proves the folly of that statement.

Some cars don’t have a sway bar in front; my VW for example and it drives fine; better than most cars that I have driven. Sway bars have been optional with some cars. A sway (really antisway) bar will help to reduce body lean around corners. Try a few fast corners. If your car drives OK to you, then don’t worry about it.

Your VW’s suspension was designed without an anti-sway bar, and I’m sure that it handles very nicely without that component, simply because of good design. The OP’s car was designed with an anti-sway bar as part of the suspension. Therein lies the difference.

Even if it feels OK in everyday driving, the absence of that suspension component could lead to very bad handling in the event of an emergency situation like an evasive maneuver at high speed. As I said previously, Ford would not spend one dime more than necessary, especially on a low-priced car like an Escort. If it came with an anti-sway bar, Ford saw a need for it and it should be deemed necessary for the safe handling of the car.

I agree with your logic, that Ford included an anti-sway bar with a low price car and that they would happily shave off a few dollars if they could eliminate it. There was a day in the past, however, when no car had an anti-sway bar and cars used to lean mightily when cornering. That would not be acceptable now. The safety difference with and without an anti-sway bar, in my opinion, is minimal to non-existent.

In everyday driving, I agree that the most that someone is likely to notice is more lean and the need to take corners slower. However–would you want to bet your life and the lives of your passengers on that assumption in the event of an unpredictable need to perform a rapid evasive maneuver at high speed?

I forgot to mention that one, thanks.

Kind of makes one wonder why Ford went to the expense of adding an “unneeded sway bar” to a vehicle considering how automakers are constantly looking for ways to shave 1/100 of a cent here and there. :slight_smile:

Sway bars also help prevent rollovers (ESPECIALLY inportant if you have an SUV) and, more critically, sharpen control in a sudden emergency avoidance maneuver, like avaoiding someone’s child who ran out in front of you from between parked cars.

I would recommend that he find a new shop. Any shop that would suggest that is questionable. The sway bar (actually an anti-sway bar) is a safety component.