Track Bar vs Sway Bar: Is a Sway Bar The Same As a Track Bar?

Improve your handling is what these types of parts are all about. They are designed to make your ride more comfortable and safer when you have obstacles to avoid or corners to turn. Whether your vehicle needs either one of these bars is best left to the experts to decide.

No, these two bars are not the same. They have different designs, attach to different locations under your vehicle, and have different purposes. You can add both to your vehicle but if you add one sway bar, you need to actually add a second one for better performance.

To learn more about these two bars and what they do, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can decide if adding one or the other is right for your driving situation.

Is a Sway Bar The Same as a Track Bar?


No, these two bars are not the same and they have different purposes. While both will help your handling and control, they attach to different parts and work on different problems.

It has been said that more recent RVs already have sway and track bars installed on them and if you are having difficulty going around corners or avoiding road objects, you may need to upgrade those stock parts.

Also, it has been recommended that if you add a sway bar to your rear axle, you need to add one to your front axle as well. The reason for that dual upgrade is that if you upgrade the rear, you throw the roll rate out of balance and create a hazardous driving situation for yourself.

You either have to adjust the front sway bar to keep that balance or replace it with a similar model to maintain balance. The best way to avoid that driving situation would be to install the same types of sway bars on the rear and the front at the same time.

There are some good brands of sway bars on the market that should provide all the help your vehicle will need.

What Does a Track Bar Do?

When properly installed, the track or trac bar centers your axle and keeps it from moving from that center. They work to provide zero lateral movement in your solid rear axles.

This is done by raising the chassis end of the track bar. That move should reduce the amount of roll in the rear end. However, if you lower the chassis end you increase the amount of roll in the rear axle.

Now, if your vehicle is built on an E-450 chassis or its equivalent, then you should not have to add a rear track bar. The reason for this is the strong rear springs will do the lateral axle positioning instead. That is if the rear spring bushings are still in top shape.

The key to installing these track bars is that the design has to be right and the installation has to be done properly. If neither is correct, then your driving situation is not going to be that enjoyable.

When you go to buy your track bar make sure it is adjustable. You will want to fine-tune it at some point. Even NASCAR racing vehicles have adjustable track bars to help with their driving.

Track Bar vs Sway Bar


The track bar is designed to help reduce or eliminate vehicle body roll. It works to keep your vehicle tracking straight and enhances your handling. Without a tracking bar, you may find it very difficult to avoid obstacles on the road.

The sway bar is designed to eliminate or reduce fishtailing or swaying. It is a device that makes cornering a lot easier. One difference here is that if you add or replace one sway bar, you should add or replace both of them.

There is a roll rate balance between the front and rear sway bars that cannot be changed unless they are changed or adjusted together. If you do not do that then you probably wasted your money until you rectify the problem.

Both types of bars will improve your driving situation, and make it more comfortable while improving your handling. But they do have different jobs as the track bar focuses on keeping the axle centered.

Anti-sway bars will help your RV stay in its lane when a large bus or semi-trailer passes you on the highway.

3/4 Ton Truck Track Bar vs Sway Bar

There are not any websites making a difference between vehicle size when it comes to either of these bars. To get the right sway or trac bar for your 3/4 ton truck, you would have to talk to the different auto parts stores and see what size and brand they recommend.

The two bars in this situation will do the same thing but it is recommended that bigger is better. The thickness of the diameter does matter. According to some experts, 1/8 of an inch larger in diameter can produce an increased roll stiffness by 30%.

Also, a stiffer set of sway bars provides more response turning corners while a softer sway bar does the opposite. With their affordability, upgrading your sway bars is a good idea.

When it comes to installing a trac bar, you want to go with a strong part. The stronger the trac bar the better your handling and maneuvering on the road. In looking for a good track bar, you should consider the materials it is made from.

Inferior metal construction or design will not help you solve any driving problem you may have.

Also, you want an easy to install and remove design. This facilitates faster installation or removal when you do not need it or when you do. Then, always make sure the bar is adjustable. If you install one that is not, then you cannot fine-tune it to your driving needs.

Next, make sure that after you install the track bar, it does not interfere with your driving. There are occasions where this does take place. Finally, before you buy the bar, check how much weight it is rated to support.

If it does not hold enough weight it is no good for your 3/4 ton or your RV.

Jeep Track Bar vs Sway Bar


The trac bar and anti-sway bar (its real name), work the same on a Jeep as they do on any other vehicle. The key is to make sure you have met all the criteria already mentioned in previous sections.

You will want a strong bar for both parts and make sure they can handle the weight of your Jeep and its contents. What a trac bar will do is keep your axle in alignment as well as keep it from wobbling.

If your track bar is loose or broken, then your jeep may veer of course or you will experience a lot of vibration as you drive. The rear track bar is for your axle while the front one keeps your wheels in alignment.

The Jeep seems to have many problems when it comes to the track bars no matter if they are located in the front or the rear. Usually, wear and tear as well as corrosion are the biggest sources that ruin a Jeep’s trac bar.

Impact damage would be the third leading cause of problems with your trac bar. If you are deciding between installing a new trac bar or a new sway bar, keep in mind that the former takes up more room than the latter.

You will get better handling using one over the other but you can install both if you think it is necessary to do so.

RV Track Bar vs Sway Bar

The main concern here will be if the track and sway bar are rated to handle the weight of your current RV. Then, it depends on the type of RV you own that will help you determine which bar you should install.

For a Class A, B, or C RV the track bar is the best option. For 5th-wheel and travel trailers, then it is better to go with a sway bar. The trailers are often lighter and easier to maneuver than most self-drive RVs.

However, picking one over the other will also depend on how much space you have underneath your RV. If your model does not provide a lot of space then you should go with a sway bar over the track bar.

As we said, the weight rating is important but there is one more weight category to consider. If you own a very heavy RV then the track bar is best because it distributes the weight better than the sway bar. It is a more even distribution than the sway bar provides.

A lighter trailer or RV can use a sway bar. These are not the only criteria to consider. Your driving conditions and experience will play a role in which bar you buy and install.

Under windy conditions or lots of hills, then the track bar is better while less wind and flat roads make the sway bar better to use. Then experienced drivers can go with a sway bar while less experienced drivers should install a track bar.

Finally, your budget and preference will be the ultimate decider here. Trac bars are more expensive than sway bars. If you do not have a lot of room in your budget then the sway bar is your best option. Pick the one you prefer to drive with.

What is Another Name For The Track Bar?


This part is known by several names. As you have seen we have used track and trac interchangeably as those are just two of the names that this part is called. Usually, you will see the words ‘rod’ or ‘bar’ behind both those words.

But there is another name for this part you may not have heard about. It may be known by this name in Europe as the part was invented in France. The original name for the track bar is Panhard rod.

The reason it is or was called the Panhard rod is that it was invented by the Panhard Automobile Company in the early 20th century. Since its invention, it is been applied to all sorts of motor vehicles regardless of their size.

Just to give you an idea of the cost of a trac bar, one auto parts company is selling them for almost $160. That is one model and others this company sells range between $70 and $400

Is It Worth Getting a Sway Bar?

In the long run, yes it would be worth installing new or replacing worn-out sway bars. Your improved handling and steering make your driving time a lot safer. It is worth replacing older or damaged sway bars.

The cost to replace will depend on your vehicle type as well as where you buy the bars. With parts and labor, you are looking at paying somewhere between $95 and $300.

However, you may never notice that your sway bars need to be replaced. If you do hear a clanking sound and have loose steering then it is time to replace the front sway bar.

Usually, you may not know about the problem until you have your car serviced and your mechanic notices a problem. While the vehicle is still drivable, it is recommended you get the problem fixed right away.

Some Additional Words

Both the trac and sway bars are essential parts to have installed on any vehicle you own. You can pick one or the other or have both installed at the same time. It will depend on your budget and what type of ride you want.

To help you decide, talk to your trusted mechanic to see what they say. It is best to get the strongest of each if you want a safe and comfortable ride. Just do not expect a passenger car ride in an RV.

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