Fixing the Death Wobble
The death wobble is incredibly annoying and isn’t an easy fix. When it happens, the suspension system is essentially out of equilibrium (and it feels like your Jeep is literally falling apart). Not to worry. You just have to zero-in on what the cause is.
Each death wobble case is NOT the same! Therefore, finding and replacing the component(s) that have gone awry is what will get you back to smooth running on the road.
There are many areas in the suspension system, including the tires and the body, that could be causing the problem:
* Poor Alignment: If you haven’t checked your alignment, this could definitely be the culprit. (This should be the first thing you have done.)
* Steering Stabilizer Bar: A loose steering stabilizer can lead to the death wobble. So many people, for whatever reason, install a new steering stabilizer first, without doing the due diligence ( inspecting your steering components and finding the part or parts that are damaged or worn). Installing a new steering stabilizer does not fix the death wobble. It’s sort of like a band-aid that temporarily fixes the issue, but not completely. It’s important to check everything.
* Unbalanced Tires: Tires that are unbalanced can throw the axle off balance and the only way to counter the wobble is by slowing down.
* Ball Joints: Worn ball joints can allow for the wheel to move independently of the opposite wheel. Worn ball joints are very dangerous in any vehicle and should be replaced immediately.
* Tie-rod ends: If these are worn enough, the wheel could actually separate from the vehicle.
* Wheel Bearings: Bad bearings will leave wiggle room that you can feel with your bare hands (by grabbing the wheel and moving it around).
* Control Arms: Any bends or cracks is bad sign, as well as any missing rubber on the bushings.
If you choose to inspect all the components on your own, we recommend you follow these steps:
1) Start with a visual inspection under the front end of the vehicle, and take note of any shiny or damaged steel or any metal that’s moving around.2) Check that all bolts are tightened on the front track bar
3) Inspect your tires. Tires tend to break down quicker than all the other parts and are most likely to be the cause of the wobble. Are they inflated to the suggested PSI? Did you recently have them balanced? You might even take the vehicle back and ask the technician to make sure the balance is still true.
4) Check the front wheel bearings by jacking the front tires off the ground. Get a good grip on both sides of the tire and move it back and forth. If you notice any lateral give you might want to take it to a mechanic to have those bearings checked.
5) Look for loose connections in the tie rod ends and drag link ends.
6) Has your Jeep been lifted? Did you get it aligned? The alignment may be out, and a simple alignment may fix it.
7) Do you have a quality steering stabilizer, is it good working order? If it isn’t in good shape, replace the steering stabilizer with a good, reputable brand.
If you choose to take your Jeep into a shop to have both the inspection and work done, it’s still a good idea to be familiar with the above bullets so you can have a good eye out for a potential repeat or any similar occurrences in the future.
We recommend you get your Jeep back on track with suspension components and bushings from the leading manufacturers of aftermarket Jeep parts. Make sure you are getting parts that are of good quality!