What Is The Ford Death Wobble?
For owners of Ford F250 and F35 Super Duty trucks, going over 50 miles per hour has proven dangerous for some drivers in the recent past. Known as the Ford death wobble, specific models exhibit a violent shaking when on the highway. Unfortunately, the only way to stop this shaking is to slow down or stop the car, which can prove disastrous on a busy road. If you purchased a recent Ford model of Super Duty trucks, you might have experience with this notorious auto malfunction. Contact a personal injury attorney at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 for a consultation if your Ford truck shows signs of the Ford death wobble, or if you were in an accident as a result of this product defect.
The Ford Death Wobble Explained
Most evidence suggests that the Ford death wobble stems from manufacturing defects in a truck's suspension and steering linkage systems. According to the class-action lawsuit filed against Ford, Lessin vs. Ford Motor Company, the mechanical problems stem from abnormal wear and tear of the following:
- Damper bracket
- Ball joints
- Shock absorbers
- Control arms
- Track bar bushing
The landmark lawsuit from 2019 contends that the manufacturing issues led to the death wobble, which it describes as “resulting in spontaneous and continuous violent shaking of the vehicle when encountering irregularities in the roadway surface at freeway speeds.”
Irregularities can be as minor and ubiquitous as bumps in the road. However, many Ford truck owners claim that the wobble would occur when accelerating to higher speeds, sometimes as low as fifty miles per hour.
The wobble itself is jarring to watch. Many victims of this defect have posted videos online. Any viewer will bear witness to how forceful and intense the entire front end shakes. The jolting includes the dashboard and, frighteningly, the steering wheel and driver column.
Why Is the Ford Death Wobble Dangerous?
It is no surprise why it makes many Ford owners fearful. Losing control of the steering wheel could easily lead the driver to lose control of the truck, causing any number of nightmarish crash scenarios. Additionally, the only way to make the Ford death wobble end is by slowing or stopping the vehicle.
However, by all accounts, the death wobble only occurs at around speeds of fifty miles per hour and above, which is a speed most will only experience while on the highway. Thus, when drivers notice the wobble, they are already driving quite fast, most likely amidst a sea of other high-speed cars. The propensity for car accidents increases when a driver attempts to stop in the middle of a highway.
When Did the Ford Death Wobble Start?
The Ford death wobble can be traced back to Ford Super Duty models as early as 2005, but the problem has been reported in models as late as 2019. The plaintiff in the Lessin v. Ford Motor Company lawsuit owned a 2011 Ford F-250. The Ford death wobble puts drivers at grave risk. If you were involved in a car crash due to the Ford death wobble, contact an attorney at Labrum Law that is experienced in ensuring victims receive justice when they suffer injuries and losses related to product defects.
Ford Death Wobble Complaints
According to the Lessin v. Ford lawsuit, over the past 15 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received over 1,200 complaints about this particular defect. In addition, consumers can file complaints regarding anything defective about their vehicles on the NHTSA website. However, despite the protests, the company has still refused to recall any of the Super Duty truck models.
Additionally, among the many allegations in the Lessin v. Ford case is the allegation that Ford did not honor the warranty for any of the repairs needed to fix the wobble, claiming that the problem “could not be identified.”
Rather than issuing a recall, the company responded to complaints by issuing repair guidelines. According to a technical service bulletin from September 2019 on the NHTSA website, Ford refers to the defect as “steering wheel oscillation” but only acknowledges its presence for 2017-2018 model Ford trucks. The statement recommends that owners follow maintenance procedures, including:
- Replace steering linkage damper
- Inspect vehicle
- Set tire pressure
Ford's statement implies that the owners were to blame for not maintaining their vehicle correctly. However, many vehicle owners claim that this assumption led to their warranties not covering needed repairs.
Lemon laws might apply to the defective Ford trucks depending on the state. Many states allow for several reasonable attempts at repair before a car achieves lemon status. Unfortunately, one of the problems with the death wobble defect is that many owners report improvement for a few months after repairs, then the problem comes back.
The Ford Death Wobble and Product Liability
By some estimates, the Ford death wobble has been responsible for multiple accidents. While each of those accidents involves personal injury law, the nature of the Ford death wobble is also a legal issue of product liability. When a product proves defective and causes injury or harm, consumers have the right to seek compensation for their loss. In the case of the Ford trucks' death wobble, none of the owners have seen any payment. The Ford company has yet to issue a recall or claim responsibility for what has proven to be a manufacturing defect.
Contact an Attorney About the Ford Death Wobble
If you were in an accident involving a Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty truck or own one of these vehicles exhibiting signs of the Ford death wobble, contact an attorney today about your rights as a motorist and a consumer. Product integrity is always important, but safety should be a top priority when it comes to vehicles. Call the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 for a consultation today.