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driving with broken sway bar. what are the risks?

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Old 08-26-08, 05:47 PM   #1
twentyone
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Default driving with broken sway bar. what are the risks?

My roommate has a beater car. a 98 buick regal that has a broken sway bar. sounds like it may cost $400 to fix, and he doesn't have the money to make the repair asap. he was gonna go out of town for the holiday weekend, but doesn't know if it's safe to drive it that way. i told him you can't bank on the repair shop's word because, they could be making the risk sound worse to increase the chance they get to do the repair. so, was curious if he should listen to the repair shop (tires plus) or if he's safe making the 200 mile trip (both ways)?

as always, thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Old 08-26-08, 05:52 PM   #2
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Did the front bar break or the rear?

I doubt he'll be doing any quick maneuvers (not that the regal could do so in the first place) so he'll be okay. I've driven with broken sway bars before. You're not going to fly off the road so dont worry Perhaps he can get one from a junkyard. I'm sure there are some regals out there.
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Old 08-26-08, 06:15 PM   #3
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you can drive with it...but how the **** do you break a sway bar?...if its what im thinking of...its like 3/4" thick steel...
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Old 08-26-08, 06:16 PM   #4
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Most sway bars are hollow.

Last edited by GSteg; 08-26-08 at 08:07 PM..
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Old 08-26-08, 07:02 PM   #5
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yeah, it's the front one. and the repair shop said that it's pretty common with that particular car.

do you think that a sway bar from a junkyard is gonna be substantially cheaper than retail? i'm just asking because i know for some parts, the difference between used/new isn't that big.
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Old 08-26-08, 08:08 PM   #6
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I think it'll be cheaper. Heck try to find it on ebay. Buick regal suspension parts aren't really sought after so they'll most likely price it low as they can to get rid of it.
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Old 08-26-08, 10:29 PM   #7
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I drove with NO sway bars because I was waiting for replacement bushings, GSteg should know!!!!!

You're not going to die or fly off the ramp, but don't do sudden quick turns.
The car will wobble from side to side a little on turns, but that's about it.

If it's just him only with no other passengers or the car full of stuff, he should be ok.

If he's unsure, he can always get a rental

That's pretty pricey for some stock sway bars though. Even daizens/TRD front and back are about $500
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Old 08-26-08, 10:56 PM   #8
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It shouldn't be a problem in average driving. Your roommate may not even miss it unless he's on a "challenging" road. I managed to break a sway bar on my old '52 Dodge while I was in college. I couldn't believe it - that thing was solid and nearly an inch in diameter. It snapped at the bushing where it was secured to the frame rail. I probably wouldn't have noticed except for the rattle.

If you need to replace the one on your Regal, slide under the car and get a look at the mounting. A quick look at a Buick Regal site shows it is not uncommon for these bars to break near the end, so a few well-placed calls to local auto supply stores should produce what you need in stock.

If cost is a consideration, see if you can pick up one at a junkyard - they should be a fairly cheap, seeing that they don't wear out (except maybe the bushings) and seldom give any trouble. Be sure to get the brackets and bushings too, to save wrestling with the bushing rubbers on your replacement.

Most sway bars are fairly easy to replace, and don't require a lot of mechanical expertise - they just bolt to the frame and the ends tie to the hub carrier via a link. This is as close as you will get on a modern car to blacksmithing.

Good luck!
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Old 08-26-08, 11:01 PM   #9
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I snapped my TRD Sway bar at the "Tail of the Dragon". Car drove fine even in corners but there was a big difference in handling.
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Old 08-27-08, 07:44 AM   #10
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good info.

my roommate is here with me, and says thanks.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:23 AM   #11
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You probably won't have any big problems if you keep the speed down (drive as slowly as is prudent in traffic), brake gently, and don't yank the steering wheel or do any sharp cornering. But get the bar replaced as soon as possible.....the car was designed to be driven WITH it.

And, when it is replaced, make sure a complete wheel alignment is done.
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Old 08-27-08, 10:22 AM   #12
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I bet it was the sway bar link that broke, not the sway bar itself and it's pretty easy to have them replaced.
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Old 08-27-08, 10:22 AM
 
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2000, bar, broken, buick, car, cost, driving, es300, lexus, link, regal, repair, replaced, replacement, sway, swaybar

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