When you’re modifying your Jeep or truck to handle rougher trails and bigger obstacles, there are a lot of obvious upgrades that come to mind like extreme-duty front bumpers, lift kits, and taller suspensions.
A mod that you might not be thinking of is your sway bar.
Sure, you’ve heard of it, you know it’s there, but do you really know how it works and how it can affect your off-roading?
Check out this quick guide to sway bars so your off-road ride is set up the way you need it to be for safe fun!
What Is A Sway Bar and What Does It Do?
A sway bar, also known as an anti-roll bar, torsion bar, or a stabilizer bar, is a steel bar that prevents lateral or side-to-side leaning or swaying of your off-road truck or Jeep when you’re taking turns, driving over rough terrain, and more.
There are two sway bars on each vehicle, a front one that connects the front suspension to the frame and a rear one that connects the rear suspension to the frame.
Sway bars on street vehicles make it easier to turn corners without the weight of the vehicle causing it to lean and reduce traction on the inside tires.
Those on off-road vehicles let you keep that same balance and traction when driving uneven or aggressive trails, limiting the amount of lean experienced as each wheel is affected differently by the ground surface.
Ultimately, what these bars do is limit the movement of each wheel and its suspension to reduce the dangerous leaning that could cause your prized off-road truck with its brand-new front bumpers to roll over when taking a turn.
By twisting under the vehicle as the body moves back and forth, sway bars compensate for that movement and keep the body more stable.
Sway Bars And Off-Roading
You certainly know that keeping your steel monster balanced and able to anticipate how it will react to obstacles when out off-roading is critical.
Too much sway can leave you with enough lateral movement to unbalance your off-roader while driving rough trails, up and down hills, and over other types of obstacles.
When your truck or Jeep with its steel bumpers is unbalanced due to sway, rolling over becomes a definite possibility, so a sturdy sway bar can give your truck the additional balance you need to drive those trails and obstacles.
Interestingly on the other side of the fence, as you get more extreme with your off-roading activities the more your front sway bars can interfere with wheel articulation, which is why a lot of experienced off-roaders suggest disconnecting the sway bars for this very reason.
Should You Upgrade or Disconnect Your Swaybar?
Your truck or Jeep comes from the factory with two sway bars designed to handle street driving and some milder off-road driving to provide the perfect amount of leverage you need to prevent dangerous sway that could lead to a rollover.
If you’re driving more extreme trails, the stock sway bar may not be enough and you may want to replace it with a thicker, more rigid bar that’s strong enough to correct sway in rougher conditions.
What about disconnecting the sway bars?
While it does serve a purpose to let you benefit from the full range of articulation your vehicle can do, that does leave you without any sway control which probably is not as much of an issue if you’re rock crawling at slow speeds yet is still a concern to keep in mind.
A set of adjustable sway bars that can be connected and disconnect as needed might be a good investment like aftermarket steel bumpers if you actually come into situations where you want to disconnect or even loosen them a bit
Don’t Forget Your Sway Bars
Sway bars are an essential piece of suspension equipment on your truck or Jeep that controls and prevents excessive sway that can lead to a rollover.
How much sway control you need depends on your off-road truck or Jeep and what you do with it.
Although it’s more fun to look at new steel bumpers for your prized off-road truck or Jeep, keep your sway bars in mind as well as the possibility that you might need to upgrade them to get the most from your prized steel stallion as you enjoy the trails and obstacles!