The connecting rods they are parts that are part of the steering and suspension of all our cars. Without them, driving would be a much more unpleasant activity, not only because of how uncomfortable it would be, but because of how dangerous it could be.
Think that the wheels are the only point of contact between the car and the road, and you are the one who makes sure that both connect in harmony. But if the tires are worn, the brakes are in bad shape or the suspension damaged, we are sold.
What is a connecting rod? How does it work?
To find out what a link is, we would say that the first and foremost thing is to understand how an anti-roll bar works. Roughly speaking, it is a vital part of a car’s suspension system by keeping it level when cornering.
Anti-roll bars are generally a long, hollow, arched steel bar that is attached to the chassis and connects the left and right side, helping to keep the vehicle stable while allowing the suspension to move on its own.
The links of the bar, made up of bushings and connecting rods, connect the end furthest from it to the suspension anchor point.
Since the stabilizer bar is itself a torsion element, the connecting rod takes care of smoothing the transfer of movement between the bar and the control arm. Thanks to it, the lean angle of the wheels can be maintained to control movement. In most cars, this link has two small ball joints at each end.
How many types of rods are there?
As such, there is no type of linkRather, the suspension count contains two sets: the shock absorber and the stabilizer bar. The first case, the steering link or is the protagonist, formed by a ball joint, a threaded tube and a cap.
These are used to vary the length and keep both wheels parallel, thus avoiding horizontal deformations. Likewise, the second group includes the suspension rods, anchored to the stabilizer bar to reduce vertical deformation.
Now let’s take an example. A car passes over a speed bump (or ledge) that occupies the entire width of the road. The suspension compresses the same on each side. The stabilizer bar just goes in unison to both sides, it does not twist and there is no tension on the link rods.
If instead one wheel hits and the other doesn’t, one end of the stabilizer bar is lifted, causing it to pivot. The strength to do it is transmitted through those connecting rods we call connecting rods, usually metallic or resistant plastic.
Why can a link break? When should I change them?
Like many parts of any other machine, over time, the connecting rods wear out. Water intrusion leading to oxidation, for example, and aging and lack of lubrication contribute to deterioration. A noise similar to a knock that comes from the suspension and a rattle when tackling curves, along with excessive rocking bodywork are signs that it may be time to replace them. The stabilizer bars and their components are essential if we do not want to win ballots to suffer an accident.
A qualified mechanic can check the connecting rods in no time by raising the car on the lift. If worn, it will show somewhat leathery free play when pushed to either side. If it was extremely worn, you could remove the ball joints. This will make the car lean like a boat when cornering and feel just as stable and secure as it is on the road. However, Is it necessary to replace both rods if only one is damaged? Do the stabilizer bar links need to be replaced in a certain mileage?
The answer is no. However, it is best to replace them all, since they should wear out at the same rate, and if one is bad, the other may also fail soon. So should the connecting rods be changed every time the shock absorbers or control arms are changed? No, but on many vehicles, an old anti-roll bar can be very difficult to remove without damaging it, as the threads could be rusted. Thus, the rods are often replaced when it comes to changing the shock absorbers or something attached to them.