Steering issues have plagued recent Wrangler models.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is staring down a class-action lawsuit over the alleged “death wobble” problem affecting recent Jeep Wrangler models. According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, the problem allegedly involves 2015 – 2018 Jeep Wrangler models.
The Detroit News reports that the lawsuit alleges FCA has prior knowledge of the issue. “Rather than address it — or disclose its possibility and/or warn drivers at the point of sale — FCA simply claims in a news article that that the ‘Death Wobble’ is not a ‘safety issue’ and that it ‘can happen with any vehicle that has a solid front axle (Rather than an independent front suspension), such as the Wrangler.”
For its part, FCA said it has not yet been served the lawsuit and cannot comment on the allegations at this time. They did, however, say in a statement, “We note, however, that any manufacturer vehicle equipped with a solid front axle can experience steering system vibration and, if experienced, it is routinely corrected.” This lawsuit was filed on behalf of Claire Reynolds, who said that FCA is offering a “Band-aid fix” by replacing the steering damper. This being a class-action suit, several other parties are involved as well.
This is not a new issue
While the company will not comment on this particular case, it is well aware of the problem. Owners have complained several times on the Wrangler’s steering issues. Right now, there are no less than 563 complaints on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler alone, to say nothing of the previous-generation JK.
One owner reached out to us last year to tell us about the problems with his brand new Jeep Wrangler. In December, JLWranglerForums members explained that 2019 models were also having this issue. When we ran a poll on the issue, a staggering 84 percent of you (242 people) noted they have similar issues with the steering on their Wrangler JL.
The class-action lawsuit against FCA seeks damages for affected drivers in the form of a buyback program. Under that program, FCA would have to pay drivers for defective Wrangler models and compensate them for their car’s lost value. It also seeks to require FCA to provide owners with replacement vehicles while the repairs are ongoing.
It doesn’t stop there, either. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages “for FCA’s knowing fraud that put drivers and members of the public nationwide at risk,” according to the Detroit News report. According to the NHTSA’s website, there are currently eight open recalls on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. That includes one recall for the front track bar separating from the frame affecting 18,055 vehicles, as well as a faulty weld seam on the intermediate steering shaft of 539 Wranglers.
Editor’s note: At this stage, the class-action lawsuit alleges the ‘death wobble’ is a serious safety concern. The U.S. District Court has not determined FCA to be liable for any wrongdoing related to the issue. At this point, neither FCA nor the NHTSA have made any official statements on the alleged problem.
As we now own a Jeep Wrangler JL ourselves, we will also keep an eye on the car’s steering and report any problems we face, if any, in future videos.