Settlement Reached by Jeep for Wrangler, Gladiator ‘Death Wobble’ Issue

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By Car Brand Experts

An ongoing class-action lawsuit against FCA US involves certain Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator models experiencing the infamous “death wobble.” Owners might soon benefit from an extended warranty and reimbursement for certain out-of-pocket repair costs. 

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, six class representatives for owners and lessees of 2018-2020 Wrangler and Gladiator models have reached a tentative settlement. Under this agreement, FCA US will not admit fault and will allocate funds for attorney fees up to $3.95 million, $4,000 for each representative, and extend the warranty to eight years or 90,000 miles. The extended warranty will encompass labor and parts necessary for replacing the front suspension damper, but its coverage for other components or labor remains uncertain. 

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The phenomenon known as death wobble can affect vehicles with live-axle front suspensions due to the complexities of steering linkages. Ball joints and steering dampers are essential in addressing unwanted vibrations. However, the flexible mounting of multiple linkages can lead to self-amplifying harmonic vibrations. While a steering damper typically resolves this issue, components in live axle systems tend to wear faster than those in rack-and-pinion systems. 

A similar concern has emerged with new Ford Super Duty trucks, gaining attention on social media. This issue is prevalent among owners of older Jeeps and trucks in general, highlighting the necessity for specialized maintenance of traditional live axle vehicles. Despite its occurrence across various models, major automakers have yet to fully resolve this issue.

The proposed terms regarding the warranty and reimbursement will undergo review in a fairness hearing scheduled for April 19. 

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