A stabilizer bar is a steel bar that connects suspension components on opposite wheels, a measure to combat body roll.

The stabilizer bar, most often employed on independent front suspensions, is known by many names, including anti-roll bar, sway bar and anti-sway bar. It is usually roughly U-shaped and oriented parallel to the ground, with the bottom of the U attached to the frame with bushings and the ends of the U attached to the lower control arms of opposite wheels.

When a vehicle enters a turn, inertia causes the body to lean toward the outer wheels, a phenomenon called body roll. An outer wheel’s control arm rises and an inner wheel’s control arm drops, relative to the leaning body.

The stabilizer bar is a spring-steel torsion bar, a component that springs back when twisted. The bushings that attach the bar at the center serve as a hinge. When the vehicle goes over a bump and the control arms rise simultaneously on both sides, both ends of the stabilizer bar pivot upward with them, along for the ride. But in a turn, the control arm on one side lifts its end of the bar, and the opposite control arm pulls its end down. By resisting this torsion, or twisting, the stabilizer bar lessens the control arms’ movement and keeps the body from leaning as far as it otherwise would.

Don’t confuse the alternative term anti-roll bar with roll bar, which is a tubular bar behind the cabin designed to protect occupants in the event of a rollover.

Information for this was taken from Cars.com’s glossary, written by Joe Wiesenfelder.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on August 7, 2008 in Glossary | Permalink

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