First things first: no one has died but this could be a cause for concern.
When you buy a Jeep Wrangler you have to be willing to part with the comfortable ride offered in most other new SUVs. It’s just how it is. The Wrangler is unique in that way and yet it remains a huge seller. However, The Detroit Free Press has learned that the latest generation Wrangler remains susceptible to solid front axle issues that sometimes causes the steering to shake violently. This is typically caused by hitting a bump or pothole at high speeds.
For that to happen something needs to be loose or damaged in the suspension or front steering. Jeep enthusiasts call it the “death wobble” and they’re used to it, more or less. Many first-time Wrangler buyers, however, are not and they’re concerned.
But first, it needs to be clarified that this “death wobble” has never caused any deaths. Nevertheless, there have been complaints lately from JL Wrangler owners regarding steering issues and the automaker rightly investigated. A recall was issued not long ago involving 18,000 new Wranglers due to a faulty weld near where the track bar is welded to the frame. However, there is no direct link between that issue and a death wobble, as an FCA official clarified to Autoblog.
At the same time, the death wobble could be related to a track bar issue. If there’s faulty welding in that then complete steering loss is possible. That’s far worse than any violent shaking. Jeep also confirmed that death wobble “is not a widespread condition, nor is it a safety issue.” One potential cause is incorrectly installed suspension modifications, like a lift-kit.
Obviously Jeep is not responsible for any aftermarket changes, but many of the current complaints regarding the new Wrangler are for unmodified examples. In other words, there could still be something causing the shaking that remains undiagnosed. So, what should you do if you experience death wobble? First thing is to simply slow down and don’t panic. Often times the shaking will end on its own. But if the problem persists, it’ll be best to bring you Wrangler to the dealership for an inspection.