For many Jeep Wrangler owners, the infamous ‘death wobble’ is an inevitability of ownership and something that cannot be avoided.
However, concerns with the serious steering system vibrations which often occur at speeds exceeding 70 mph (112 km/h), have been renewed following deliveries of the all-new Wrangler. The issue has even attracted the attention of two members of Congress who are calling for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is well aware of the ‘death wobble’. In correspondence with The Detroit Free Press, the company insists that the issue isn’t a safety concern and that it can happen with any vehicle that uses a solid front axle rather than independent front suspension.
Nevertheless, there have been more than 200 complaints made by owners of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler to the NHTSA website about issues with the off-roader’s steering. Some of these complaints describe a violent shaking that occurs at speeds over 70 mph when the vehicle hits a bump or shift in pavement type. Some owners say that the only way to cure the wobble is to slow down.
Jeep’s insists the ‘death wobble’ isn’t a safety issue.
Speaking with The Detroit Free Press, new Wrangler owner Rich Person said he was shocked to experience the ‘death wobble’ shortly after taking deliver of the off-roader.
“I have wanted one forever and just never pulled the trigger. My wife has always wanted a convertible. This year was our 20th anniversary, and with the oldest going to college next year we figured it was now or a long time from now,” he said.
Despite customer concerns, FCA spokesperson Michael Palese has told ABC News that this isn’t something customers should be concerned about.
“All manufacturer vehicles equipped with a solid axle are susceptible to vibration. This is not a safety issue, and there are no injuries involving Chrysler Group vehicles related to this allegation.”
According to Jeep, the ‘death wobble’ can be corrected by tightening or replacing loose or worn steering parts, balancing or changing the tires, having a front end alignment or by installing a new steering dampener. The NHTSA adds that the problem is only intermittent and is predictable so the vehicle remains controllable at all times.
The issue has attracted the attention of Silicon Valley Dep. Anna Eshoo and Henry Waxman, the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In a joint letter to the NHTSA, the two have asked the agency why it hasn’t warned consumers about the problem. They insist the issue must be evaluated by the NHTSA.