Volvo Legacy in Vehicle Safety

by : Evander Klum

"Cars are driven by people. Therefore the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is -- and must remain -- safety." This was the statement of then Volvo managing director Assar Gabrielsson and Volvo technical manager Gustav Larson in 1927. Since then, the Swedish automaker has focused on making safe vehicles by installing safety features like the suspension system. Aside from ensuring a comfortable ride, the suspension system also helps the car's handling and braking. Thus the various components that make it up must be in top shape to maintain an efficient suspension. One important element is the Volvo sway bar link. Linking opposite wheels together through short lever arms connected by a torsion spring, it adds the roll stiffness of the suspension. It also links a torsion bar to all the sides of an axle enabling sway bars to perform the function of shifting movement from one side of the suspension to the other. This also makes the suspension stiff.

The presence of the allows the sway bar to achieve its full functionality. This can be very helpful if a vehicle experiences understeering and oversteering. In understeering, one can easily increase rear sway bar diameter or decrease front sway bar diameter for balance restoration. On the other hand, correcting oversteering with sway bars requires one to install either a smaller rear bar or a larger front bar. The Volvo sway bar link can be adjusted to effectively add or lessen the sway bar's stiffness without buying a new one.

In the process of understanding how Volvo sway bar links work, one must not forget that sway bars should conform to the vehicle's springs. Installing stiff springs does not require large diameter sway bars. Combined stiff springs and small sway bars are good enough for body roll control. Installing soft springs needs large diameter sway bars. This provides a relatively smooth ride with stiff suspension and decreased body roll.