When it comes to truck troubles, problems rarely get catchy names. If flaws are given any name, they’re usually described based on the make, model, issue, and nothing else.
That’s why the Ford Death Wobble stands out. The problem has been around so long, and it’s so dangerous and well-documented that it got a catchy, appropriately scary name.
But what is the Wobble? What does it cause? Keep reading to learn what this dangerous issue is, what cars are vulnerable to it, and what to do if your truck has it.
What Is the Ford Death Wobble?
The Wobble is the result of a faulty suspension. According to the drivers who’ve experienced it, the Wobble occurs after hitting uneven roads at highway speeds. The truck will “violently” shake after hitting potholes or speedbumps at those speeds.
The Wobble has been reported in most Ford trucks, but it’s most common in the Ford Super Duty, specifically the F-250s and F-350s. It appears to be in part because of the large size of these trucks.
This isn’t just scary; it can be deadly. When a huge truck moving at 50+ miles per hour starts shaking, it can cause the driver to lose control. Suddenly, a multi-ton vehicle is shuddering and veering across the road. At best, the driver recovers, but in many cases, they can’t, and they swerve into another lane, another car, or off the road altogether. These accidents are all too common.
Accidents Caused by Ford’s Dangerous Wobble
So far, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received more than 1200 complaints regarding the Ford Death Wobble. People who have reported this problem have often been the subject of news reports around the US. Some truck specialist mechanics even offer special suspension inspections just for people who have reported the Wobble.
There have also been multiple reports that specifically connect the Wobble with accidents and injuries. There may be more that haven’t mentioned the issue in reports because the driver wasn’t aware of the problem’s name or because the driver didn’t survive.
Fighting Accusations of the Wobble
Reports about the issue have been around since 2005, but it’s recently returned to the news. That’s because a collection of Ford customers who’ve experienced the dangerous shake filed a class-action lawsuit against the manufacturer.
The problem with the Wobble is simple: Ford hasn’t acknowledged that it exists. Instead, the company claims that it’s caused by “worn out” suspensions that need to be replaced. The case claimed that the manufacturer neglected to disclose that the trucks had suspension issues and that the problems weren’t just the result of normal wear and tear.
When the court case was filed, Ford filed a motion to dismiss it. Ford’s response was that the company had offered free warranty repairs to people who were still protected. This is all the company is required to do under federal warranty law.
The judge only permitted the dismissal in part. The claims of people whose trucks were protected under warranty and repaired were dismissed, as were those whose warranties were expired. However, multiple claims were permitted to proceed, specifically, those whose trucks were either not repaired by Ford despite active warranties and those for whom the Wobble reoccurred after a repair. This is consistent with other class-action lawsuits regarding warranty and safety issues.
While Ford is fighting claims that the Death Wobble exists, the NHTSA hasn’t come to a conclusion yet. The NHTSA notoriously takes time to perform thorough investigations on all claims before requiring a manufacturer to conduct a recall. Even if the NHTSA doesn’t issue a recall, it doesn’t mean that Ford trucks are issue-free; it just means that the agency doesn’t see enough evidence to require the manufacturer to take back specific vehicles.
What to Do If Your Truck Has the Wobble
If you’re experiencing dangerous shaking in your truck, you’re not alone. Plenty of other people have also experienced this dangerous flaw. However, since Ford isn’t acknowledging the problem, you won’t be able to rely on a recall to get your truck fixed.
Instead, your best option is to work under California’s lemon laws. If your Ford truck started developing the shaking before it hit 18 months or 18,000 miles old, then you may have a case for the car being a lemon.
- Record all instances of the problem. The Wobble usually isn’t a one-time-only event. If you’ve experienced the shaking once, it’s probably going to happen again before you get the truck fixed. At a minimum, write down the time, date, and conditions of every time it happens, so you have proof of when it happened. You can even go a step further and get a dashcam to have footage of what it looks like.
- Document your attempts to fix the Wobble. Lemon claims require you to try to fix the issue before getting your truck replaced or refunded. Keep receipts and reports from your mechanic every time you take it in to get fixed.
- Check your warranty. Lemon laws apply to cars that are still under warranty. Make sure your vehicle is still covered before you file a claim.
- Get help. When a manufacturer actively denies an issue the way Ford is, filing a lemon claim can be tricky. Work with an experienced lemon law attorney to improve your case.
Get Your Ford Truck Fixed for Good or Refunded
No vehicle should drive as dangerously as the Super Duty models do when the Wobble hits. For your own sake and on behalf of everyone else on the road, you should never keep driving a truck that may go out of control after hitting a simple pothole.
Instead, you should take steps to get Ford to fix the problem. If your car qualifies for the lemon law, you can get the manufacturer to fix it for good or refund it entirely. If you’re not sure whether your car counts as a lemon, schedule your consultation with a qualified lemon law lawyer. They can help you determine if your truck qualifies under California’s lemon laws and give you the help you need to make a successful claim.