1996 Ford Explorer Sway Bar or Sway Bar Links or both? on 1996 Ford Explorer

I have been experiencing very hard steering with my 1996 Ford Explorer for some time, especially when changing lanes or on turns. Have not been able to take in to get checked, but over the weekend while backing out of the driveway to park on the street, when turning the wheel to back up it was like the tire was stuck and when I gave it some gas, the tire blew. Looked under the truck and saw some kind of bar was loose and had been binding on the tire, whereas, it punctured the tire and the tire blew. Whatever this bar is (which I believe to be the sway bar), it has basically been binding the steering capabilities. It also has been making noises when going over bumps. I am a 64 year old woman, who in my early years use to work on my own vehicles, but since vehicles started getting more complex it wasn't as easy and now at 64 I am hardly able to even check the oil anymore. Just want to be sure I know what I am talking about when I take it to get it fixed. Does it sound like the sway bar? It's like bolts are missing or something as it moves freely. Does it just need the sway bar links to attach it back on or does everything need to be replaced. Thank you so much. Diane

Asked by for the 1996 Ford Explorer
It could be a sway bar, but it could also be a torsion bar. The torsion bar takes the place of a conventional coil spring in the front suspension. It is under extreme tension, and if it has broken or become loose, I can understand why it punctured your tire.

This is something you'll absolutely need good technical help with at a qualified shop. Good for you in obtaining the upper hand with knowledge.

Good luck,