What Is “Death Wobble” and How Do You Fix It?
If you have been driving a truck for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard about — maybe even experienced — “death wobble.” This phenomenon isn’t just the slight shimmy of the steering wheel when the truck hits a bump; it’s an uncontrollable shaking of the entire vehicle that makes the driver feel they could lose control at any second. Let’s dive into what causes death wobble and what you can do to fix it.
What Causes Death Wobble?
Death wobble is a catch-all term that describes a series of sudden, violent front suspension vibrations exhibited by solid front axle suspensions and independent front suspensions. Rapidly rotating steering wheel components lead the steering wheel to move side to side, causing your vehicle to feel as if it’s about to fall apart — and prompting you to grip it for dear life.
While it’s most likely suspension or steering issues that lead to death wobble, the truth is, those are only a few contributing features. Anything that’s bent or broken on your vehicle can quickly turn into a dangerous issue and needs to be repaired or replaced ASAP. Even though the steering stabilizer is typically accused of being the primary cause of death wobble, that’s not typically the case — tire balance, loose or damaged bolts, worn brushing, poor alignment, and tire pressure can all trigger the condition. Even if components are brand new, the improper installation and maintenance of steering and suspension parts are underlying issues when it comes to death wobble.
How to Fix Death Wobble — and Prevent It From Happening Again
When it comes to determining and repairing the root of the problem, it can feel a bit like piecing together a puzzle. Lots of large and small parts comprise the suspension and steering of your vehicle, so many areas need to be inspected. Experts recommend starting with the front track bar, a component notorious for causing imbalances that factor into death wobble. Look out for mismatched tire pressures or uneven tire wear. Then, look under the truck to check for loose bolts, rust, or wallowed-out bolt holes, paying dutiful attention to the track bar brackets.
Here’s what you can do to prevent death wobble:
- Inspect your system: A common cause of death wobble are problem suspension components, namely the front track bar, ball joints, or drag links. Give your suspension system regular visual inspection for any signs of wear and tear. If you see bent or broken components, replace them as soon as possible.
- Maintain proper tire pressure: Over-inflated, under-inflated, and mismatched tire pressures are all common triggers for death wobble. Check your tire pressure regularly and deflate or inflate as necessary.
- Align your wheels: While misaligned wheels won’t usually cause death wobble to occur on their own, such an issue could trigger amplify it. Always make sure your wheels are in proper alignment.
Turn to Metrix for Premium Steering and Suspension Parts
Metrix is dedicated to helping drivers just like you stay safe on the road and ensure the health of your vehicle’s most critical systems. When you’re in the market for new steering and suspension parts, you can trust our team to provide just what you need for a variety of makes and models — including ball joints, control arms, tie rod ends, and beyond. For more information, reach out to us today!