Let’s talk about sway bars
Modern UTVs have sway bars.
Some UTVs have them just on the rear and some have them front and rear
The big perception of a sway bar it keeps you level or closet to in high-speed turns
This is true but there are many other factors that come to play with a sway bar
Rock crawlers want to remove them for more articulation
The sand dune riders are torn between having them on and taking them off which one is correct?
Let’s look at what a sway bar really is in simple terms.
A sway bar is basically a 5th spring meaning that when your UTV is in a turn the spring tension is now loading the other tire with additional spring tension
So the loaded side of the bar now gives more spring load than just the corner spring rate.
What most UTV owners don’t know about sway bar effect is there is also more load put on to the opposite rear tire.
So if you think about it this way when you’re right front wheel gets lifted up it will actually put more pressure on the left rear wheel and in many cases, this is where you will need more grip to help you gain more traction and pull out.
Serious rock crawlers I believe no sway bar would be the best scenario at least upfront.
For the sand dune guys if you are like me and like to go really fast and turn quickly I personally want my sway bar connected
Now let’s talk about taking the sway bar off.
If you take your sway bar off and leave it off you have altered the spring combination that was meant for your UTV designed by the factory.
People say well it handled better with it off and I think to myself if this is the case either you had your coil-over springs way too stiff from the beginning or you don’t mind your UTV with too much body roll which is not good for any kind of handling in your UTV
This is one more reason to know the exact spring ratings on your UTV so you can decide what the new spring rates would work best for you with sway bar removed.
Now let’s talk about the advantages of a sway bar.
With a sway bar mounted on your UTV, it lets you run softer coil springs
Softer coil springs will help big time in the slow speed ride for the plush ride you want and then when you get into the high speed turn the sway bar stiffens up the suspension and keeps your UTV from having too much body roll which is where your UTV can lose control.
There is always a give and take when removing or adding components to your UTV suspension.
I want to tell you my own personal experience with sway bars and removing them.
It will go back to my circle track racing days, we were racing in Twin Falls Idaho and at that time we had three test sessions before the racing started.
When I was out practicing my car would always want to push in the turns-pushing in turns means that the front end would not want to turn it kept heading toward the outside wall and the only way to make it turn is to slow down and then it finally will turn.
After three test sessions and adjusting the car trying to make it stop the push in the middle of the turn nothing seemed to help and now it was time for the racing to start.
One of the adjustments that the circle track book would suggest was running a smaller sway bar well we did not have any other sway bars with us, we were pretty new at the racing game so I was asking fellow competitor racer with lots of experience Dusty Dastrup about how much change would it be to remove the sway bar completely he said that this was a big change but why not try it.
So right before we were going to get lined up for the main event we chose to take the sway bar completely off of the car and let me tell you I was nervous not knowing how my car was going to handle and the first time to test it was the start of the main event with 24 other cars ready to battle.
The race started and within 2 laps I knew this was the first time that my car was not pushing in the middle of the turns it was like a completely different car from all of our test sessions!
We ended up with a top 5 in the race with a car that handled great without a sway bar.
After this day and running a poor handling car to find out it was better without a sway bar was why did it handle better?
The race car had to heavy of coil springs and when the sway bar was on it made the springs too stiff for the car to handle in the corners.
A paved smooth race track did not hurt my car too much on the straights where the springs would not have much give.
When you apply this to your UTV and running the whoops in a straight line this is where you would want and need softer springs otherwise it will make for a bumpy ride
So my lesson on this day was to have your spring ratings soft enough to make the plushest ride and have the sway bar on so it can handle the turns with confidence, in my opinion, this is the best combination you could have on your own UTV
Give UTV Service a call or email to set up your appointment today.
Until we ride again.
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold