When you think of an American off-road vehicle, the first thing to come to mind is likely the Jeep Wrangler. For decades the Wrangler has garnered a reputation as a world-leading off-road SUV, and has amassed a huge following over the years. While the majority of Wranglers unfortunately spend their entire existence on the blacktop, off-roading technology and engineering nonetheless underpin the popular mid-size SUV. FCA is currently engaged in a federal class action lawsuit surrounding one of the JK Wrangler’s design elements, and have just announced a new solution for the infamous “death wobble.”
It’s worth noting that this issue is for the last-generation Jeep Wrangler, and not the current JL Wrangler on sale today.
The lawsuit claims that Jeep Wrangler SUVs made from 2015 to 2018 may experience a violent shaking of the steering wheel at highway speeds, particularly after hitting a bump. The Detroit Free Press reported that FCA is in possession of a video that showed five degrees of input wobble taking place at highway speeds. While many owners who have experienced this “death wobble” found it to be terrifying, FCA remains firm in their belief that this vibration poses no safety risk. But now, The Detroit Free Press has reported that FCA began to send out letters to customers of said Wranglers, informing them of the redesigned steering damper that is now available.
Owners may be hopeful for the new part, but FCA has warned that it may not be a cure-all. Much of what is causing this vibration is a result of the Wrangler’s solid front axle design, according to the automaker. Plaintiffs were upset when FCA originally told them to either speed up or slow down to solve the problem, citing the tuning fork like nature of a solid front axle as an explanation for the wobble. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are also not satisfied with the slightly tweaked damper, stating that Jeep should make major revisions to the suspension instead of offering a “band aid” solution.