A major lawsuit against Jeep manufacturer Chrysler for an issue known as the “death wobble” has been preliminarily settled. The class action lawsuit was filed against Chrysler on behalf of all consumers who purchased or leased 2018-2020 Jeep Wranglers or 2020 Jeep Gladiator SUVs.
According to the plaintiffs, the affected Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator year models are dangerous to drive on rough or uneven surfaces. They allege that the vehicles frequently experience shaky steering wheels on bumpy trails and other off-road conditions for which these vehicles are built. They argue that this “wobble” makes it difficult to control the car and could lead to serious accidents, especially at high speeds. The plaintiffs requested that Chrysler buy back all affected Jeeps to compensate owners and to protect the public from the risks they claimed these vehicles posed.
Chrysler initially disputed the claims but has since agreed to settle. The preliminary settlement consists of two elements:
- An extended warranty for failed front suspension steering dampers. The steering damper minimizes the vibration transmitted to the steering wheel when driving over rough surfaces. Owners will receive an extended manufacturer warranty covering this part to last eight years or 90,000 miles after their vehicle’s first date of operation.
- Compensation for owners who have had to repair steering dampers. Any affected Gladiator or Wrangler owner who has already had to repair or replace a front steering damper will receive full compensation for the amount they spent on repairs.
This settlement is not the full buyback the plaintiffs wanted, but it is still a valuable concession made by Chrysler. Here’s what you need to know about the alleged Jeep Death Wobble and how to get Jeep defects fixed.
What Causes the Jeep Death Wobble?
The Jeep Death Wobble is caused by the Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler’s solid front-end suspension. Most modern vehicles have independent front suspensions, allowing them to absorb irregular surfaces’ vibration without transmitting it through the rest of the structure. However, Jeeps and other cars designed for off-road use often have solid suspensions instead.
This solid construction allows the vehicles to perform better when driving at an angle or when one wheel is not in contact with the ground, as happens in difficult off-road conditions. However, it also means that rough highways and other bumpy surfaces can cause the steering wheel to vibrate.
This is known as the Death Wobble. If the vehicle’s steering damper fails or the vibration is particularly significant, it can cause the entire car to “wobble” as the driver tries to maintain control. The vibration is known to get worse at highway speeds and at temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important to note that Chrysler has not issued a recall for the issue because the wobble is a side effect of the vehicles working as intended. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated the complaints and determined that the wobble did not pose enough risk to warrant a recall either. Still, Chrysler has acknowledged that owners who primarily drive on highways
If you own a Jeep with a solid front suspension, you may have already experienced the Death Wobble. Once the preliminary settlement is confirmed, you may be eligible for the extended manufacturer warranty or compensation for failed front steering dampers. Owners of 2018-2020 Wranglers and 2020 Gladiators will be notified once the settlement is finalized.
How to Get Jeep Manufacturing Defects Repaired
The Jeep lawsuit highlights an important distinction for car owners: manufacturing defects and design problems are different. Manufacturers are responsible for defective vehicles. However, they are not necessarily liable for issues like the Wobble, which are not considered actively dangerous or caused by a flawed design.
The Death Wobble is just one issue Jeep owners face with steering. Many owners also report issues like “loose” steering, where the car wanders across the road or doesn’t react when they turn the steering wheel. This is an example of a fault possibly caused by faulty construction. If you experience these types of problems while your vehicle is still under warranty, you do not need to wait until a class action lawsuit succeeds to get it fixed. Instead, you can file a lemon law claim.
Lemon claims are requests filed with manufacturers to refund or replace the faulty vehicle. You may be eligible to file a lemon claim against Chrysler for your defective Jeep if:
- The car has a manufacturing defect that impacts its safety, performance, or value.
- That defect was identified in the first 18 months or 18,000 miles of use.
- The vehicle is still under warranty.
- The manufacturer has been unable to fix the defect within a reasonable number of attempts.
If you meet these criteria, California law requires the manufacturer to either replace the defective vehicle or refund you the purchase price. You can file these claims for issues like loose steering, faulty electrical systems, failing transmissions, and anything else that affects your car’s safety, resale value, or utility.
Skilled Legal Counsel for California Jeep Lemon Claims
It can be difficult to tell whether your car’s problem is grounds for a lemon claim. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. You can work with expert California lemon law attorneys like the team at Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys. We have spent time on both sides of lemon disputes, so we understand how manufacturers like Chrysler try to avoid paying owners for their defective vehicles. We will work with you to determine if your Jeep is eligible for a lemon claim, then represent you to ensure you receive the best possible settlement. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can help you get your Jeep repaired, replaced, or refunded.