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sway bar+link replacement: safety issue or minor noise issue?

evguy42

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
3
0
WA
My relatively new 2018 Model S (< 5k miles) started having loud clanking noise when turning. I took it to Tesla service center. The technician said they need to replace pair of front sway bar+links. The sway bars were not in stock therefore they had to order them. The sway bars have not arrived for 6+ months after ordering. I was afraid to drive the car because my research indicated the need to be extremely careful when changing lanes or when turning when sway bars/links are damaged.

I opened a lemon law case against Tesla for their failure to fix the issue for such a long time. In their response, Tesla's attorney claims that the sway bar issue is a minor noise issue and it does not affect use, value or safely of the car.

I would like to get as much information from current/ex Tesla owners relevant to this issue. Is replacing sway bars really a minor noise annoyance as claimed by Tesla attorney or is it really a safety issue?
 

Doanster1

Active Member
Feb 14, 2018
1,035
558
Oregon
Sounds like it’s the end links, not the single sway bar itself. Plenty of mentions about the end link bushings going bad which causes metal in metal grinding. Weird that they can’t get the parts after 6mos. In general “just” a noise issue, but no lubrication due to blown bushings for six months could become a safety issue.
 

beatle

Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
1,251
686
Springfield, VA
Sway bars link the two sides of the suspension to reduce body roll. The car may feel more "wallowy" if they're disconnected altogether, and it certainly won't handle as well, but I wouldn't call it unsafe. Depending on the car, tuning the suspension may involve removing a sway bar (and its associated links) altogether.

That said, since your sway bars are still present and just connected via noisy endlinks, the handling change will be even less pronounced. Outside of the annoying clunking sound I'd wager most drivers could barely tell the difference in a car's handling with loose endlinks vs. tight ones. Not sure what the "no lubrication due to blown bushings for six months" statement means. Generally the failure mode for a sway bar end link is the ball joint on the endlink wears out and becomes sloppy. This is the noise you hear. Sway bar bushings connect the bar to the frame. These can eventually wear out as well on really old cars, but I wouldn't say the worn end links really exacerbate the problem.

If you were to sell the car right away I'd say the value would be diminished slightly, especially to someone unfamiliar with the noise. However, endlinks are actually inexpensive and relatively easy to replace (if you can get your hands on the parts). I think there are a few aftermarket options, though if your car is under warranty I can see not wanting to do the work yourself or shell out for something that Tesla should be replacing for free.

I'm with Tesla for saying it's not a safety issue, though it's absolutely unacceptable for a cheap, common part like an endlink to take 6+ months to be stocked.
 
Oct 10, 2019
443
221
So-Cal
damn only 5k miles on a 3 year old car? you need to get out and drive more bro, I'm only at 119k miles, so still low but at least I hit the triple digits.

Anyway, if tesla cant get the parts then hit up scrap yards or ebay, you should be able to find stuff like that pretty easily. And you can install it in your driveway since tesla wont install any parts they didn't provide.

www.autobahnparts.com

www.057tech.com

 

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