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Why Is My Jeep Wrangler Shaking? How To Fix It Guide

Why Is My Jeep Wrangler Shaking? How To Fix It Guide

A bumpy ride is to be expected when you take your Jeep Wrangler off-roading, but when it shakes while you’re driving on paved roads that is an entirely different matter. Abnormal shaking while driving is a serious matter requiring immediate attention. What makes a Jeep Wrangler shake and what can you do about it to prevent it from happening again?

Strong and violent shaking can occur without warning while driving a Jeep Wrangler. Oftentimes, the vehicle is traveling at speeds of 45 mph or faster and the condition can be caused by hitting a bump, pothole, or as the result of hitting the brakes too hard. Control can be regained by slowing down.

Not only is shaking while driving a known issue with Wranglers and other Jeep models, but this condition even has a rather frightening name – the death wobble. As ominous as it may sound, abnormal shaking can be diagnosed and addressed, but you need to understand the underlying causes. Here’s everything you need to know about the death wobble and how to fix this potentially dangerous situation.

Why Is My Jeep Wrangler Shaking? How To Fix It Guide

While no major recalls have been issued in connection with Wranglers shaking while they’re being driven, it is a known condition among Jeep owners. Fortunately, nearly all known occurrences have resulted in nothing more than a few frightening moments and some understandably rattled nerves.

Are you an anxious Wrangler owner who has just experienced the death wobble for the first time or are shopping around for a Jeep and have heard the stories? Here’s what you need to know about Jeep Wranglers shaking and how you can go about addressing this issue.

Here’s a video showing what the shaking could look like and how to fix it:

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What Causes a Jeep Wrangler To Shake?

There are several factors that can cause a Jeep Wrangler to shake while it is being driven. Contrary to popular belief, the so-called death wobble is a different problem from a wheel alignment issue. Most instances of a Wrangler shaking occur at driving speeds of 45 miles per hour or above.

The majority of the instances involving shaking can be traced to these causes:

  • Improperly installed suspension system components
  • Amateur lift jobs
  • Steering system components that have loosened
  • Damaged suspension or steering parts
  • Loose or improperly tightened bolts and other fasteners

Many occurrences of shaking appear to be triggered when a Jeep Wrangler hits a bump or pothole or as the result of sudden, hard braking.

If you find yourself behind the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler that has begun to shake violently, it is important to maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel while safely slowing down the vehicle until the shaking subsides.

Why Is My Jeep Shaking Uncontrollably?

According to the accounts of drivers who have experienced shaking while driving their Jeep Wranglers, the violent shuddering and vibrating can be so severe that the steering wheel jerks from side to side while the front end of the vehicle swerves uncontrollably.

Some have described it as if the entire front half of the Wrangler is going to rip itself away from the rest of the vehicle.

What can cause a Jeep Wrangler to behave this way? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Wranglers that have been lifted by several inches could be susceptible to shaking if the drive shaft running between the front axle and the transfer case becomes askew and causes the universal joints to fall out of step with each other
  • Jeeps with stock suspensions can experience shaking problems if the bolts and bushings on the vehicle’s front track bar are worn, loose, or compromised
  • A damaged front axle or worn-out suspension components could also produce shaking during driving, as could a steering system in need of service

Other possible causes (source: primarily relate to the front wheels. Loose lug nuts, improperly inflated tires, and damaged rims can cause imbalances that may produce shaking.

Another thing to look out for is severely misaligned wheels that go far beyond just pulling a Wrangler to one side; if bad enough, this can cause shaking.

How Do You Fix Jeep Wrangler Shaking?

Given how violently and uncontrollably a Jeep Wrangler can shake during a death wobble, it would seem that any repairs to solve the issue would be difficult and complicated to perform, not to mention extremely costly and time-consuming.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that as frightening as this situation can be, particularly if you are the one behind the wheel when it occurs, keeping a cool head and reducing your speed will allow you to regain control of your vehicle.

Similarly, taking a methodical approach toward troubleshooting the cause of shaking in your Jeep Wrangler is the surest way to fix this problem. Here are some key ways to resolve (source: this potentially serious issue:

  • The first place to start is with the steering and suspension systems and giving these areas a thorough inspection and looking for worn or damaged parts (the best way to do this is to actually get under the vehicle and put eyes and hands on these vital components)
  • It is also important to verify that all connectors and fasteners (e.g., the nuts and bolts holding everything together) are fully intact and properly tightened
  • Specific steering-related and suspension-related components to pay attention to include the front track bar, tie rod, ball joints, control arms, bushings, and bearings – any worn parts should be repaired or replaced
  • In particular, the track bar is worthy of extra attention as it bears the heavy responsibility of maintaining lateral (e.g., side-to-side) stability of the vehicle’s axle
  • Although it is not a direct cause of a death wobble in a Jeep Wrangler, severely misaligned wheels can certainly worsen this condition and make regaining control of a shaking vehicle much more difficult, so maintaining proper wheel alignment should be a top priority

Violent shaking in a Jeep Wrangler is a condition that is not only fixable but perhaps more importantly, preventable. Routine inspections of your vehicle’s steering, suspension, and wheel components can detect telltale signs of wear and damage and prevent a death wobble from ever occurring.

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For those who have gone through it, the sudden, violent shaking of a Jeep Wrangler while it is being driven can be a nerve-rattling experience for even the most seasoned drivers.

Fortunately, the death wobble is not nearly as ominous as the name suggests, but it is a serious condition that needs to be addressed immediately.

By knowing what to look for and what steps need to be taken, you can put shaking issues with your Jeep Wrangler in the rearview mirror.

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