An Insight Into Car Swaying Side To Side [Updated]

The diagnosis of a car swaying side to side relates to the malfunction of a certain suspension component.

You will quickly recognize the vehicle’s instability and uneven tread wear once your car feels like its swaying. More particularly, you can hear some weird noises.

This informative post explains what happens inside the suspension system and the root causes of the above signs. Let’s get started.

Why Is My Car Swaying Side To Side?

Car Swaying Side To Side

Major causes of cars swaying side to side are broken sway bars, worn springs and shocks, worn silent blocks or bushings, faulty steering rod end and ball sockets, and wheel alignment.

By clarifying the functionality of the components mentioned above, this post provides you with the foundational knowledge to understand the root causes deeply.

1. Broken Sway Bars

Sway Bars

The sway bar is a stabilizer sway bar, anti-sway, or anti-roll bar. This U-shaped bar is connected to the ends of an axle. Its duty is to maintain the vehicle’s stiffness.

To understand why broken sway bars stay on the top list of car swaying side to side at high speeds, let’s go along with us to understand its purpose and method of operation.

Once the vehicle steers to corners aggressively on twisty roads, the anti-sway applies a force to the opposite side of the vehicle to create centrifugal force, which prevents the car from rolling.

This centrifugal force is applied to each wheel’s suspension to minimize body rolls.

Also, the anti-roll bar forces all sides of the vehicle to the same height once the vehicle goes around sharp turns, bumps, or curves.

In a fast turn, the vehicle’s force tends to go to the outside wheels and compresses the suspension on the outside wheels. The other two wheels inside the turn will rise, or the suspension will extend.

Once the vehicle steers around corners, the stabilizer sway bar also pushes down the tires inside the turn and distributes the vehicle’s weight over four tires.

The working principle of the sway bars pinpoints their duty in controlling the vehicle’s stability.

Therefore once noticing that the car sways side to side when driving, you should prioritize diagnosing the sway bars.

2. Worn Springs And Shocks

Worn Springs

Worn springs and shocks are among the major causes of swaying. These parts enhance the vehicle’s stability and control the driver’s brake, turn, accelerate, or run on rough roads.

The springs support the vehicle’s weight by loads carried. If you notice that the car feels like it’s swaying left and right, this may be from worn springs and shocks.

A mechanical visual inspection is vital to determine if springs or shocks are the right culprits. Otherwise, it is easy to confuse with sway bars.

3. Worn Silent Blocks Or Bushings

Worn Silent Blocks

Being mounted on suspension joints and car steering, bushings are referred to as anti-vibration mountings.

Car control arm bushings, wishbone bushings, A-arm bushings, and sway bar bushings are the most common. These cushions absorb noise and vibration and reduce friction between metal parts of the vehicle.

Over time, bushings get worn out due to cracks from friction, heat, exposure to road dust, excessive loads, or the stress of frequent movements.

Once your car experiences worn bushings, you will quickly recognize road noise and excessive vibration inside the passenger cabin.

In case of worn control-arm bushings, the vehicle’s front end slips out of the subframe position. As a result, it makes you feel that the car sways side to side.

4. Faulty Steering Rod End And Ball Sockets

Faulty Steering Rod End And Ball Sockets

Steering rod end and ball sockets are related to the vehicle’s motion and stability.

While the tire rod ends transmit force from the steering rack to the wheels and supports steering to maintain its geometry, ball sockets act as pivot points connecting the car wheels to the suspension system.

Ball sockets enhance the smooth and solid movement in the suspension.

According to their functionality, faulty steering rod end and ball sockets are also among the most common culprits that car sways side to side.

5. Wheel Alignment

Wheel Alignment

From the above analysis for “why does my car sway back and forth”, we realize that the car swaying side to side highly relates to the wheel.

Therefore, the faulty wheel alignment could be a potential culprit leading to the wheel swaying from side to side. You can try to redo the wheel settings to see if you can control the car better or not.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Sway Bar?

The most noticeable phenomenon of the malfunctioning sway bar is the rattling noise once you try to go over the bump.

The situation gets worse once that sound still appears on a flat road. You still experience that car sways side to side on the highway.

You also feel the hardness of the tires’ grip on the road, which we can blame for the worn-out sway bar links or the torn bushings.

More importantly, the car feels like it’s swaying left and right due to the failing sway bar. It begins to lose its controlling traction and stability.


What Is It Called When The Rear Of a Car Sways Side To Side? 

The rear of the car sways side to side, known as fishtailing. The rear wheels lose traction on road surfaces such as icy, flood, and snowy roads. 

This phenomenon occurs when you drive too fast or suddenly brake. The vehicle’s rear skidding on the road becomes a scary experience for drivers as their vehicles get shaky and wobbly.

Sometimes, cars turn around or experience tap slapping.

How Do I Know If My Car Needs An Alignment? 

The most noticeable symptoms of misalignment are uneven tire wear, noise steering, and squealing tires.

Additionally, the steering wheel is uncentered once you attempt to drive straight. The steering wheel can also be pulled to the right or left side.

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Ball Joint? 

The signs of a broken ball joint car can be watched out through vibration, tire wear, squeaking, and clunking noises. It also leads the steering to wander from side to side.


The post of “car swaying side to side” explains why the car feels like its swaying left and right. Through it, we also understand the tight connection between components of the vehicle’s suspension system. 

In the situation of car swaying, it is vital for steering and suspension inspection, preceded by a mechanic, to determine the correct diagnosis. So, let’s take your car to a garage for a check-up as soon as you can.

Thank you for reading!

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