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Angry Owners Sue Jeep Over Serious Wrangler Problem

Lawsuit / 16 Comments

Given that it can cause a wreck, they sort of have a point.

There are two kinds of people in this world, those who have experienced death wobble and those who haven't. if you lie in the second category, chances are you don't own and have never owned a Jeep Wrangler. It's not that every Wrangler is fated to give its owners that frightening experience, but the chances are certainly greater. And if the latest class action lawsuit filed against Jeep has its day in court, it would at least force FCA to admit that its most popular Jeep experiences the problem more often than many other SUVs do, claims The Detroit News.

The suit, filed in Detroit's US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by Claire Reynolds, a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport owner from New Jersey, alleges that Jeep does not do enough to disclose the possibility of death wobble or fix it appropriately.

It's a problem, claims Reynolds, that Jeep just uses band-aid repairs to fix when an affected Wrangler is still under warranty. But let's back up a bit. What is Death Wobble anyway? From a driver's point of view, the phenomenon usually takes place at speeds above 45 mph and can be triggered by hitting a bump in the road, which causes extreme oscillation in the front wheels, usually involving the pair wobbling as if each wheel was going to come off. That, in turn, causes the steering wheel to vibrate and sway in either direction violently, which can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash in extreme cases.

Usually, the driver must bring the vehicle to a complete stop to get the shaking to stop. From a mechanic's perspective, the problem stems from loose or worn suspension components that must either be tightened or replaced.

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So why does the Wrangler get so much flak for the problem? Because its solid front axle transfers the forces of the road to both wheels and the front suspension system more than an independent front suspension does. That can cause parts to loosen and wear more quickly, creating the conditions for death wobble.

FCA claims it hasn't yet been served the suit, but issued a statement saying, "We note, however, that any manufacturer vehicle equipped with a solid axle can experience steering system vibration and, if experienced, it is routinely corrected."

But since the problem can be seriously dangerous if it's experienced at highway speeds, Reynolds and safety advocates want Jeep to pay up "for FCA's knowing fraud that put drivers and members of the public nationwide at risk."

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