If you've spent a significant amount of time in a truck with a sold front axle, there's a chance you've experienced what enthusiasts have termed "death wobble." It goes like this—you hit a bump, then suddenly, the steering wheel starts shaking back and forth quickly until you slow down. It's something Jeep fans know well.
This story was updated at 2:48 PM ET with clarifying information from a Jeep spokesperson.
Apparently it's been a persistent issue on newer Wranglers. So much so that earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler (FCA) was filed in Detroit, alleging that the automaker was aware of problems with 2015-2018 Wranglers, and didn't plan on doing anything about it. Jeep, for its part, has maintained that this is an issue that can affect any vehicle with a solid front axle, and it's not a safety concern. In an email to Road & Track a Jeep spokesperson noted that despite the name "there are no known fatalities associated with this condition."
But Jeep is addressing the condition, with the Detroit Free Press is reporting that Jeep has developed a solution to quell the wobble.
The fix comes in the form of a new steering damper. FCA chief technical compliance officer Mark Chernoby told the Free Press that with the original steering damper, air bubbles would form within the unit, and in cold weather, the oil in the damper thickens up making it harder to dissipate the air. The new steering dampers is designed to let that oil move more freely, helping it dampen out the vibrations more quickly.
FCA will send letters to Wrangler owners offering the installation of this new damper free of charge if they want it. A Jeep spokesperson confirmed that this damper is for current JL-generation Wranglers, and all future examples built will be equipped with the new part.