‘It’s kind of scary’: Some Jeep owners claim to experience violent wobbles at high speeds
By Jeff Deal,2023-06-01
An Orlando man told Action 9 he fears getting behind the wheel of his Jeep Wrangler because of what he calls the “Death Wobble”, a violent shaking he’s felt at highway speeds.
Mo Bajrangi said since feeling the shaking in his 2021 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4xe, he’s started looking at videos posted on social media by other Jeep owners. They show the steering wheel shaking from side to side and the front wheels wobbling.
“It’s kind of scary. You know, driving and your car just starts wobbling everywhere,” he said.
Bajrangi told Action 9′s Jeff Deal, it’s not something that ever crossed his mind when he purchased his dream car. He loves almost everything about his Jeep.
He said, “For the first few months, it was great. I mean, I got so many compliments on it.”
Bajrangi showed Deal video from when he claims his Jeep started to wobble on State Road 408 after hitting a small bump. He said the wobble is at its worst when he’s going over 50 miles an hour.
Action 9 scoured the complaint database for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found dozens of complaints by 2021 Jeep Wrangler owners describing the wobble.
One complaint from states, “ My Jeep Wrangler has the famous ‘Death Wobble’” then the complaint continued , “It literally feels like I am about to be ejected out of my vehicle.”
“Death Wobble” is the term popularized because of how jarring drivers say the event can be, even though Stellantis, the Jeep parent company points out, no deaths have ever been attributed to the wobble.
Michael Brooks with the Center for Auto Safety told Deal they’ve received complaints about this wobble issue going back two decades and have seen a lot more in the last few years.
Brooks said, “Sometimes these conditions are caused by some of the custom lifts and things that are put on vehicles, but the great majority of these complaints is, you know, just your average base model or stock Jeep Wranglers.”
Jeep is making available a new damper to address this condition. They believe the new damper benefits from a design feature that make it function more efficiently.
Stellantis sent this statement:
“This rarely occurring phenomenon is not peculiar to any one vehicle and is not a safety issue. Stellantis strongly objects to any insinuation otherwise. There is no loss of steering or braking – two key functions that help ensure vehicle safety. The steering-system design associated with this phenomenon affords unique capability that is greatly valued by our customers, and the market.** The Jeep Wrangler’s residual value remains among the highest of any vehicle in the industry.*^ The action we are taking will enhance customer satisfaction and is consistent with our ongoing pursuit of continuous product improvement.”
NHTSA has an open investigation on 2018 and 2019 Jeep Wranglers related to this steering issue.
As part of a proposed class-action settlement, the company could reimburse customers who paid for work out of pocket related to front suspension steering issues and extend warranties for a failed front suspension damper on 2018-2020 models.
Bajrangi believes his 2021Jeep may have the same issue and is hoping it will be included in the class action or that Jeep can come up with a permanent solution.
“You know, when you have a car at a certain price point, you want the service to match that price point, but it’s not been that way so far,” Bajrangi said.
Bajrangi did have his damper replaced at no cost, but we haven’t been able to confirm if it was the new one that is now being made available by Jeep.
If you have a newer Jeep that you believe has a similar wobble issue, The Center for Auto Safety recommends reporting the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration right away. If there is a recall at some point, there’s a better chance your vehicle will be included.