For over a decade, Jeep and Dodge customers have complained about the “death wobble.” This phrase refers to a violent shaking in the front end of vehicles when they hit a pothole or accelerate over 40 miles per hour. Fortunately, California law offers remedies for customers who purchase faulty vehicles. This includes customers who bought Fiat Chrysler (FCA) vehicles with a death wobble.
What Is a Death Wobble?
The term “death wobble” describes sudden, violent vibrations in the front suspension. A death wobble occurs when the front suspension of a car shakes uncontrollably without warning, causing the steering wheel to move back and forth. Customers report that this happens when the vehicle exceeds a certain speed or hits a bump in the road.
What Causes a Death Wobble?
Most commonly, a death wobble in a Jeep or Dodge is believed to be associated with a suspension defect. Sometimes a vehicle can experience a death wobble if one part of the steering system is worn, bent, or needs maintenance. However, many customers believe the cause is a manufacturer-wide mechanical defect with the steering and suspension system.
Which FCA Vehicles Are Affected?
The death wobble affects many Jeep and Dodge vehicles spanning nearly two decades. A recent class action lawsuit addresses a death wobble affecting 2018 to 2020 Jeep Wranglers and 2020 Jeep Gladiators. However, the NHTSA received customer complaints of a death wobble concerning Jeep Wranglers from at least 2010 through 2022.
Dodge trucks also had the death wobble affecting the Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 models from 2003 to 2011. FCA issued several recalls (NHTSA Recall ID: 13V528000, NHTSA Recall ID: 10E013000, NHTSA Recall ID: 11V350000) as a result.
FCA’s Failed Attempts to Fix the Death Wobble
FCA issued multiple service bulletins and even issued a recall. FCA’s remedy for 2018 to 2019 Jeep Wranglers was installing a steering damper that it claims would absorb unnecessary vibrations. According to customers, the Fiat Chrysler death wobble fixes missed the mark. Customers who had their steering dampers replaced reported that they’d experience the death wobble within months.
Because of its failure to adequately address the death wobble, FCA is defending numerous lawsuits, including a class action. Additionally, in 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating the FCA death wobble affecting 2018 to 2019 Jeep Wranglers.
What Are My Rights If My Vehicle Has a Death Wobble?
Fortunately, you may have remedies under the law if you purchased a Fiat Chrysler death wobble vehicle.
File a Lemon Law Claim
If your vehicle is still under warranty, you may be able to file a claim under California’s expansive Lemon Law. Your purchased or leased vehicle is protected under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as the Lemon Law, so long as it is still under warranty. California’s Lemon Law requires manufacturers to take responsibility for their problematic and defective vehicles. Under the law, a manufacturer must:
- Provide adequate repair facilities,
- Repair a vehicle under warranty,
- Replace or repurchase a vehicle if they’re unable to fix the issue, and
- Pay the customer’s attorney fees and costs.
Plus, a customer can recover civil damages up to two times the cost of the vehicle if the manufacturer deliberately violated California’s Lemon Law. A Lemon Law attorney can investigate whether the manufacturer acted intentionally.
The Class Action Lawsuit
If you purchased a 2018 to 2020 Jeep Wrangler or a 2020 Jeep Gladiator, you might automatically be a part of the existing class action lawsuit against FCA. While this may seem appealing, it may not be the best course of action.
You cannot bring your own case if you are involved in a class action lawsuit. If your vehicle is still under warranty, you could be eligible for a more significant amount of compensation in your own Lemon Law case. However, if your vehicle is out of warranty, the class action may be best for you. Speak with a lawyer today to discuss whether to opt out of a related class action lawsuit.
What Steps Should I Take If My Vehicle Has a Death Wobble?
First, report your vehicle’s death wobble to Fiat Chrysler before the expiration of your manufacturer warranties. Present your vehicle tto an authorized manufacturer dealership for warranty repairs.
Contact a Lemon Law attorney if the manufacturer fails to repair your vehicle’s death wobble. You don’t have to worry about attorney’s fees. If you are the prevailing party, the California lemon law requires the manufacturers to pay your attorney’s fees and costs.
You generally have four years from when you knew or should have known about the defect to file a claim under California’s Lemon Law. Do not wait until the last minute. Speak with a Lemon Law attorney as soon as possible, so you don’t miss your filing deadline.
Contact the Lemon Law Experts for a Fiat Chrysler Death Wobble Issue
The award-winning attorneys at the Lemon Law Experts are here to help you with your Jeep or Dodge vehicle death wobble issues. We’ve fought for car consumers like you, and our clients have raved about our work. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.