Learn the Truth About the Jeep Death Wobble
Ever ride around in your Jeep® and suddenly everything starts shaking and your life flashes before your eyes? It’s a known issue with Jeep vehicles, and although rare, it’s called the “Death Wobble.” According to the NHTSA, there are only 600 reports in the last 20 years. The actual instance is described as violent, frightening, uncontrollable shaking of the entire vehicle. One has to wonder, “Is there a culprit for the cause?” Read on to find out.
A Terrifying Experience
Many Jeep drivers have stories about experiencing the “Death Wobble”, and the consensus is that it’s pretty damn scary. They say it “feels like the entire Jeep is falling apart,” and without doors or roofs, as some Jeep owners like to delete them for customization, a couple of unlucky drivers needed a change of pants after experiencing a death wobble. What’s worse – the death wobble is completely unpredictable.
Jeep drivers have experienced the wobble when two wheels spinning contradict one another, the wheels hit a bump a little too rough, and in some cases coming to a hard stop. Jeep vehicles aren’t the only off-road vehicles that can experience the wobble either, but Jeepers have coined the term “death wobble”. Losing control of one’s vehicle is never fun, and although there aren’t any reports of someone dying from the dreaded death wobble, it’s still not one to shrug off.
Diagnosis and Treatment
So, here’s the real bugger. The death wobble is, as it stands, an unavoidable occurrence. A few years ago, in a statement by Chrysler, the problem is said to stem from a damaged front axle, steering column, or poor maintenance. Other says it “can’t be fixed”. Drivers have experienced it in vehicles as old as 60+ years or as new as a few years. Moreover, just like every issue or trick that comes to light, there’s hundreds of videos out there on the internet that claim to fix the problem that causes the death wobble. Just like any disease though, most of these people claiming to fix the problem are only treating the symptoms and calling it a day.
The problem can lie within the solid axles of the Jeep, a worn-out trackbar, wrecked ball joints, an old dampening system, worn-out steering boxes, rusted differential components, even misaligned tires can cause it. Going by Chrysler’s claims, if most of the reported instances can be related to aftermarket accessories, such as a trackbar not meant to work with the Jeep model in question, or poor maintenance of the steering column, then what can consumers do who experience “the death wobble”? Keep reading.
What to Do About the Death Wobble
Since fixing the death wobble is currently in question, there are some things one can do if experiencing such an event.
- Hit the brakes. Some people think it’s simply the engine gargling and keeping the foot on the gas will power through the wobble. That’s not the case. Sure, some things simply can be fixed by coasting right on through, such as uneven pavement or a minor loss in traction. But when it comes to the death wobble, feeding the engine more power isn’t a good idea. Apply pressure to the brakes, but not all at once. It could just cause an already unstable vehicle to roll over.
- Pull over and inspect the vehicle. Are there any obvious causes to the wobble? Maybe a popped or bald tire, uneven terrain, is anything loose or look broken? In the event of a death wobble, it’s best to pull over and catch your breath, even if it’s a momentary instance.
- Regular maintenance. Again, it’s hard to diagnose, but the best way to avoid the death wobble, really any vehicular problem, is proper and routine maintenance of your vehicle.
So, we wish we could help more, but really at this point it’s all about raising awareness and knowing how to handle the situation. However, by all means, share some DIY tips or videos on our Aventura Facebook page. Like we said, there’s 100s out there.