If you have ever experienced a Jeep death wobble, it is one of the most frightening experiences one can go through when driving a Jeep or any other four-wheel driver with solid axles for that case. The biggest concern when this happens is if it is dangerous for the driver. I researched it to find out if it is dangerous and how it can be resolved.
The Jeep’s death wobble can be dangerous to occupants of the vehicle as it can result in the driver losing control which could cause an accident. The wobble is mainly dangerous when it occurs at higher speeds, such as on the highway, but it can be a risk even at lower speeds.
Knowing that the death wobble could be deadly, as the name intends, raises a lot of concerns regarding four-wheel drivers with solid axles. However, the problem can be resolved temporarily, or one can make sure that you can be prepared for it when it happens.
The Jeep Death Wobble
If you’ve ever driven a car at high speeds with your wheel alignment being off, you know for sure how weird it can feel, having your steering wheel shake uncontrollably. Imagine that but way worse, like an earthquake that hit the car’s front wheels; that’s basically what a death wobble is.
Now the Jeep Death Wobble was called so only due to the iconic Jeep itself being a four-wheeler and the fact that it occurred with Jeeps. However, the parent company of Jeep never officially called this problematic occurrence by that name; instead, it referred to it as “vibrations” than what the community calls it.
Some people, or instead most, wouldn’t call it just “vibrations,” the death wobble from the driver’s perspective would instead look like the whole front suspension and wheels are shaking out of control underneath the car, along with the steering wheel. Sounds frightening, doesn’t it?
Thankfully the death wobble doesn’t always last, and simply slowing down the speed or increasing it will restore the suspension to its proper functionality. It can be overcome in many ways, but when it occurs, the main thing is to stay calm when it happens.
What Causes The Wobble?
Though there are many reasons, a death wobble can occur while driving, not all of them are necessarily serious towards your vehicle or cause significant damage. If it does occur more often and at longer intervals, the car can obtain damage.
Numerous factors cause the wobble, but the first to look at is the front track bar. If it’s a bit loose, the force of the track bar can warp the mounting hole, so make sure that bolt is torqued to specs. The warping of the mountain hole could cause complications in the steering of the vehicle and handling.
The next possible part that could be creating the wobble or vibration is the tie rod and its ends. If the tie rods are loose or in any way bent, they will need to be replaced along with other sections like the rubber boot if it is also damaged in any way. The same can be said for the ball joints, which can be quickly checked underneath the vehicle; if the rubber housing leaks grease, it will need to be replaced.
These parts mentioned above are one of the main reasons a death wobble can occur on your vehicle as they are vital components linked to your wheel and suspension system that directly can affect steering. When your car goes for a service check-up on these things, most mechanics but rather be safe and ask them to inspect it for you next time.
Can The Death Wobble Be Fixed?
Thankfully there are ways to fix or overcome this problem; most people replace the components of the front track bar, tie rods, or the ball joints. It doesn’t fix the problem entirely as there’s still the rig’s alignment that needs to be checked because if the camber of the tires is even slightly off, it could cause vibrations that will trigger a death wobble.
The way to temporarily eliminate the problem would be to replace the entire steering stabilizer that helps eliminate those vibrations leading to a death wobble. It isn’t a perfect fix to the problem will give you some time to keep driving the vehicle safely.
In the meantime, while you’re still able to drive with the new steering stabilizers, it’s best to use the opportunity to try and locate the main reason why your suspension or steering components are vibrating. It could simply be one of the components, as mentioned previously, that needs to be replaced.
Wheel alignment and bad tires can also be the case for a death wobble that can be due to many reasons why it caused vibrations. With tires, it could be worn or uneven pressurized tires that could cause vibrations, and in the worst case, it could be the rim that’s damaged that vibrates when driving. So it’s best to make sure that your wheels are aligned, equally pressurized and no rims are damaged.
Hundreds if not thousands of owners who own Jeep-like vehicles have called upon the FCA to take action regarding this problem, either recall all the vehicles or get a temporary fix for the public. So far, they have only come out suggesting upgrading the steering stabilizers. However, like mentioned before, it’s not an official fix to resolve the problem.
The Death wobble is something to be concerned about and keep in mind when getting a four-wheel-drive vehicle with solid front axles. The fact that it has happened on numerous occasions, including lawsuits taking place to get the FCA to recall these vehicles, shows the undesirable situation.
Whether you have a solid front axle vehicle or not, it would be wise to stay on top of your car’s steering and suspension parts quality to ensure that they will not cause any vibrations when driving. The main thing to take away when experiencing the death wobble is to try slowing down and to pull over to the side of the road.