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Is the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee "track bar" a serious dangerous defect causing a Jeep "Death Wobble"?

When I first heard about this issue from a police officer friend of mine who has a Jeep, I thought that Jeep should be held responsible for the danger of crashing which arises when the driver of a Jeep hits a bump on the road, thereby sending the Jeep into a wobble or vibration.

I'm surprised now to learn that after all the reports, Jeep continues to claim that tires are the issue, and Jeep won’t take responsibility. Apparently, consumers and other people are getting injured by wobbly Jeeps and this issue is becoming increasingly widespread.

It would seem that Jeep is attempting to shift responsibility for safety to the owners of the faulty vehicles, a practice which is not supported by the law of California or any other state.

Chrysler, the owner of Jeep, is not admitting its responsibility for this problem, and the consumers are having to pay for a fix.

As a San Francisco Automobile Accident Attorney, I wanted to alert the public to this alarming "death wobble" effect, and it is my hope that I can help spread the word, thereby maybe preventing potential injuries. Even though I know of no fatalities so far, public records do link the Jeep wobble problem to some serious accidents and serious personal injuries.

Specifically, when the Jeep makes certain turns or hits a bump, usually at highway speeds, a violent shaking occurs in the front end of the car, causing the potential for the driver to lose control.

Videos from YouTube show how frequently it happens to some Jeep owners. While the front end feels like it's going to shake apart, the driver seems to be on a thrill ride, rather than in a safe automobile meant for families.

Despite Chrysler's refusal to accept responsibility, they did admit that

"vehicles equipped with a solid axle can be susceptible to this condition."

Who would in their right mind purchase an automobile if they knew in advance this would occur? Even though Jeep is saying the problem can be fixed, consumers deserve to purchase a vehicle that works safely from the start. And once a manufacturer learns of a potential danger from its product, they should pay to fix the problem, not force the cost onto the consumer.

It's time for Jeep to recall these defective vehicles and fix all of them.

Even NHTSA is involved and is reviewing consumer complaints as they come in.

NHTSA: File a Portable Form Safety Complaint

They plan to act “when necessary”. As of now, NHTSA hesitates, stating that the problem is only intermittent and that the vehicle remains controllable.

Well, check out the video. Does that look like driver control? Since when does a wobble have to always cause a crash before the government will do what is right? If enough consumers complain, will something be done? I hope that this dangerous defect is corrected before someone is killed by this dangerous product.

About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for San Francisco product safety. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a San Francisco Product Liability Attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured individuals throughout his legal career.

10 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Brandon

    I had a death wobble on my 1998 jeep grand Cherokee. I replaced the steering dampner never had a problem again.

  2. Gravatar for Dan Pope

    The death wabble can happen to solid axle vehicles. Read any off road enthuiast magazine and you will find mention of it.However, like any other vehicle suspension component, regular inspection and maintenance will prevent it from being a problem. The author ignores the fact that Wranglers are often modified by the owners for increased ground clearance. Once modified, the manufacturer can't held responsible for the altered suspension characteristics, including the death wobble.

  3. Gravatar for Jordan

    Pretty much in agreement with Dan Pope. The vast majority of the time "Death Wobble" is an issue, it's on modified vehicles. Not how the factory designed the vehicle.

    Further, neglecting maintenance on any vehicle can result in potentially hazardous situations. Ever heard of blowing out a tire? The most common causes are damage (from the driver) to the sidewall, or improper tire pressure (normally too low) that wasn't addressed by the owner.

  4. Gravatar for stacie courtright
    stacie courtright

    My Jeep has the death wobble. I was told by one shop owner to put a for sale sign on it not sure what to do.

  5. Gravatar for brandon

    Stacie, I replaced the steering damper on my jeep and never had a death wobble again. if you go online the part is between $30 and $60. also if you read the reviews on the steering damper it has fixed alot of death wobble problems. I would advise you to go to a different shop to have your truck looked at in the future because I'm far from a machanic and I replaced mine by myself.

  6. I have actually spoken to an owner of one of these Jeeps with this problem. I know this gentleman is a retired CHP officer whose vehicle is properly maintained and is not modified. He has experienced extensive wobbling of the Jeep that almost made him lose control. I trust this individual, his driving ability, his experience and believe that he was driving in a reasonable manner when this incident occurred.

    -Claude

  7. Gravatar for Thomas Linders

    We have had our 2007 Jeep Wrangler X Unlimited for about 18 months. About a year ago we started experiencing the death wobble. We have taken the Jeep into numerous shops including the dealership and have spent well over 1,500.00 and yet the Jeep still death wobbles. On July 8, 2012, our teenage son was driving the Jeep and experienced the most violent death wobble to date, just before the bracket that holds the steering stabalizer broke. Thankfully he was already slowing down in an attempt to stop the death wobble and was able to safely pull over. The Jeep is now at the shop for repairs. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Thomas Linders.

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  8. Mr. Linders,

    We are very happy that your son was not injured in this event.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    -Claude

  9. Gravatar for Doug

    I have a 2005 jeep wrangler it also has a wobble at 55mph and hit a bump in the road. I have replaced the steering damper and it is still there.

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