There aren’t many things more terrifying than flying down the road in a missile made of steel and feeling the tires start to shake. A noise turns in to a vibration, which quickly transitions to a steering wheel shimmy, and finally ends up at the dreaded “death wobble.”
In recent Throttle Out video, “How to Survive and Fix Jeep Wrangler Death Wobble,” ExtremeTerrain (XT) and Ryan Huck take an in-depth look at what suspension pieces could be causing your Jeep’s unwanted wiggle. Ryan defines “death wobble” as “a very serious, very aggressive oscillation of the tires and also the steering wheel that is almost impossible to control and, usually, you need to come to almost a complete stop.”
But what causes wobble? To demonstrate, Ryan set up a test by loosening a track bar mounting bolt and running over a piece of wood at speed. “This right here is the cause of death wobble for 99% of you. It’s going to be the track bar bolt on the axle side,” he explains.
Other potential culprits are the track bar bushings or spherical joints, the axle bracket, loose control arm bolts, control arm bushings, or, more rarely, unbalanced tires. In Ryan’s case, the fix is easy because it is self-induced. Once the track bar bolt is tightened, he takes the Jeep back out to run over the same piece of highly engineered, experimentally approved wood. The wobble is gone and so is the worry!