Strut Bars are the evolutionary aftermarket addition to the normal McPherson Struts. Usually a favorite in car customization and an integral part of heavy trucks and SUVs, strut bars are now finding their place in the sun when it comes to normal small cars as well.
People consider additional struts especially horizontal bars as high performance additions to their cars. There is a general belief that McPherson Struts or independent suspensions can be unstable at higher speeds. As an additional feature to increase the stability, independent suspensions on either side of the vehicle are joined by a common horizontal bar called the Strut Bar.
The two suspensions on either side when connected by a common bar experience reduced flex between them and that provides much needed stability at higher speeds. This is an important feature in heavy and large vehicles and performance cars but what makes people think that strut bars can stabilize their small cars? Do smaller cars really need stability?
Well the answer is No. Unless you are traveling at really high speeds, which you anyways shouldn’t do with normal cars, you definitely do not require additional struts to support your car suspension. Auto experts believe that horizontal struts have been popularized as a high performance addition to cars in the name of car customization. There is no real need for normal cars to have extra struts but in case someone wants his vehicle to have one, there is no serious harm either.
At most, additional struts will make the suspension in your car stiffer reducing the drive comfort especially over rougher terrains. Since suspensions are linked together, there may be slight vibration on rough roads because of the reduced independent movement. Also the added weight of the strut may decrease gas mileage to some extent. In case you are hell bent on having additional struts fixed in your vehicle, make sure you ask an expert mechanic to do it or else there may be serious performance problems with your car suspension.
Most sports cars, heavy and light trucks, SUVs, 4x4s and ATVs are available with strut bars as a normal fitment.
So what kind of vehicles need a strut bar if they don’t have it as a standard fitment?
If you are optimizing your normal car to perform at higher speeds and exhibit greater accelerations or powering it with turbo-chargers and NOS (Nitrous Oxide Systems), then the strut bar will be a useful addition to the pack. If you own a larger vehicle and it does not have a strut bar as a standard fitment, you should invest in one. In that case, I would suggest to for used strut bars as they cost almost one-third of the cost of new ones.
To conclude, you are the best person to assess whether your car needs a strut bar or not. Although it is not a decision to ponder over but you can certainly weigh the pros and cons depending on the type of vehicle you own and the type of use you subject it to.