Mobile Mechanic and Car Repair Can Be a Fix for the Jeep Wrangler Death Wobble
Everybody who can't live without driving their Jeep Wrangler on a mud strewn path, or over some serious rock formations, or across a hot desert, knows that these rugged four-wheel-drive vehicles all too often require repair. Some of those repairs come from the pounding you give it out in the wild, while others are the result of normal everyday wear and tear from just driving around town and/or on the highway. But other repairs are required due to parts that weren't up to par when you originally purchased your Jeep or are a result of the Jeep's original design.
Enter the so-called Jeep "Death Wobble."Says a report from ABC7 News in Northern California, pretend you're driving down the highway and your vehicle starts to suddenly shake violently. This is what's been happening to Jeep Wrangler owners all across the U.S. The shaking can be so vicious in some instances, that Jeep owners and lovers themselvesactually coineddeath wobblenicknamevia numerous YouTube posts.
Where does the death wobble come from? The violent shaking comes from the front end of the vehicle and is usually triggered by reaching a speed or 60MPH or when you make a sharp turn or run over an obstacle.
Says Jeep Wrangler Owner, Christopher O'Halloran,"The whole front end of the vehicle shakes back and forth."
"It literally feels like the front end of your vehicle is going to shake apart," reported another Jeep owner, Jeri McNeil.
According to Quadratec, a popular Jeep online magazine, for all the talk among Jeep enthusiasts over the death wobble, not once has the National Highway Transportation Safety board issued a recall. The Detroit news stated that a study involvingmore than half a million 2005-2010 model Jeep Wranglers found that only two crashes could be blamed for the death wobble, one of them fatal, the other one serious but non-fatal.
In light of this, Jeep manufacturer, Chrysler issued a Technical Service Bulletinnot long ago, warning motorists that solid axle vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler must be kept in good working order to avoid serious wobble. You must also make sure the Jeep is in proper alignment which, in itself can cause your vehicle to shake or wobble.
Maintaining and aligningyour vehicle is as easy as bringing it to your local licensed mechanic.Or you can hire a certified mobile auto repair service like those found in the San Francisco Bay area (Just Google "mobile auto repair service" and you'll find plenty of listings no matter where you reside). By going with a mobile outfit, you won't need to waste precious time by driving to a dealership or traditional garage and going through the inconvenience of leaving your Jeep for the entire day.
Death Wobble Defined
Jeep expert and co-host of the Jeep Willy's restoration program, Throwing Wrenches, Mike Gardner recently defined the death wobble like so:"(It) is caused by something very simple," he said. "It's the vehicle's inability to absorb the natural vibration caused by driving. This problem can be in the front suspension or in the steering. As the Jeep drives down the road it vibrates."
He goes on to say that you should imagine a ripple in a pond that starts at the front bumper and travels all the way to the rear bumper and then bouncing back. But in the case of a Jeep, the vibration is perpetual and like an ever-changing, unpredictable wave. A Jeep is engineered to absorb the vibration, but sometimes the vibration frequency becomes too much to control at 40-60 MPH, and then the death wobble begins.
Overcoming the Wobble
The experts will tell you not to panic, but it's not easy when your Jeep begins to shake, rattle, and roll at 60 MPH. While it might feel like your vehicle is out of control, it is actually still going straight. You should maintain a tight grip on the steering wheel, but not a "strangulation hold." Just a solid enough grip to maintain control.
The best way to resolve the issue? The only way is to bring your Jeep to a stop by using a technique called, "controlled breaking." Mashing the brake pedal could cause the vehicle to go out of control. You also should not pump the gas in the hope you can speedyour way through the issue. Just bring the Jeep to a safe stop on the shoulder of the road, take a deep breath, and continue on your way, perhaps keeping the speed at sixty MPH or just a tad lower.
A Fix for the Death Wobble
The death wobble can happen to both stock Jeeps and lifted Jeeps since they both have fixed axles. The good news is that you can probably fix the problem on your own if you know what you're doing under the hood, or in this case, under the chassis. But your best bet is to either consult with a certified mechanic, be it a traditional garage mechanic or a reliable mobile mechanic.
He or she will make a visual inspection of the vehicle, making sure all the bolts and nuts on your suspension are screwed on properly and tightened according to vehicle specifications. He will then determine if you track bar needs replacing. Of course, there's more to fixing the death wobble than just replacing the track bar, butknowing it can be fixed either on your own or with the help of an auto mechanic should put you mind at ease and your body back behind the wheel of your favorite four-wheel-drive vehicle.