Death Wobble definitely doesn't sound like something that you want to experience in your vehicle at any point. But it's an issue Fiat Chrysler says it has a fix for after a lawsuit focusing on the Jeep Wrangler.
It's a very dramatic sounding name for a vehicle condition, but the Detroit Free Press reports that FCA says it isn't aware of any fatalities or injuries resulting from the wobble.
The wobble is a steering resonance that causes the front wheels to wobble back and forth when the vehicle is at high speed. Mark Chernoby, chief technical compliance officer for FCA explained it to the Free Press as a resonance issue. One that could happen to any solid front axle vehicle. "If you bang it with that frequency it’ll just sit there and keep going forever. It won’t slow down, it won’t dissipate, and that’s essentially what we’re talking about here with the vibration in the new Wrangler,” Chernoby said. "When you hit a bump in the road, if everything is just right, this suspension can set off that resonance and what we started seeing is as soon as it got cold this past fall, early winter, we started seeing complaints."
Chernoby says that what's making the problem more noticed in the Wrangler is that cold temperatures caused the steering damper to be less effective. He blamed that on a combination of design and manufacturing processes.
He also said it's not a widespread process, despite the US federal class-action suit against 2015-2018 Wranglers. Saying that the issue represented about 2 percent of the 370,000 new Wranglers built. But added that "any steering type vibration will make people concerned for sure."
Like we said up top, though, FCA has a fix. It's not a recall but instead called a customer satisfaction note. Customers of affected vehicles should get a letter in the mail telling them to go to a dealer for a new steering damper free of charge. That new damper is said to fix the issue with the vehicles.
The Free Press said that FCA emailed them a statement about the issue, which they call a vibration. "This rarely occurring phenomenon is not peculiar to any one vehicle and is not a safety issue. FCA US 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 condition affords unique capability that is greatly valued by our customers, and the market."
No word on how many vehicles could be affected by the issue in Canada.
Source: Detroit Free Press