Ford trucks are known to be built “Ford Tough,” but owners of Ford’s Super Duty F-250/350 pickup trucks have suffered a severe issue for the past 15 years. A chronic suspension problem is known as the “death wobble.” Death wobble is a frightening experience when the truck shakes aggressively after hitting a bump or groove in the pavement at highway speeds. It is important to stay aware of safety and reliability issues. Here’s what you should know about the Ford Super Duty death wobble.
What You Should Know About the Ford Super Duty Death Wobble
Experiencing this “death wobble” while driving in traffic can be terrifying. The steering wheel is known to rattle so hard the driver has no control of the vehicle. Death wobble is an experience affecting thousands of popular pickup trucks.
National new stations and owners report on this frightening experience
An Atlanta news station interviewed Ford owners on this topic. In their report, Derek Spann a Ford F-250 owner in Cedartown Georgia described the moment his truck had this condition. “Prayer was all I had. I was, like, ‘Dear God, let me get through this.'” This situation has been the subject of multiple news reports across the country.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration website shows more than 1,200 complaints that reference “death wobble.” There have been death wobble complaints on models as far back as 2005. This issue has been so pervasive that many have contacted Ford about it, yet to no avail.
Lawsuits filed over death wobble issue
A recent class-action lawsuit filed in 2019 (Lessin v. Ford Motor Company), says the death wobble is caused by a defect linked to abnormal wear or loosening of the track bar bushing, damper bracket, ball joints, control arms, shocks or struts. The California Consumer Attorney state, the lawsuit “alleges that Ford knew that components within 2005-2019 F-250 and F-350 suspension systems are prone to failure, but failed to notify customers or even properly address the problem.”
And further, the “violent shaking of the vehicle can cause loss of control of the vehicle and difficulty steering while the [vehicles] are in operation at any time and under typical driving conditions or speed. This exposes the driver and occupants of the [vehicles], as well as others who share the road with them, to an increased risk of accident, injury, or death.”
Ford has not issued a recall or proper fix even though there have been numerous complaints. There have been reports that Ford-authorized repair facilities sometimes blame the consumer for not maintaining the truck properly. This often results in Ford failing to honor the truck’s warranty through no fault of the owner.
Southern Off-Road Specialists in Alpharetta has seen plenty over the years come in with death wobble. Adam Richmond says they have a special inspection process for it. Richmond commented that there is not a one-size-fits-all-fix, which makes it difficult. It’s trial and error to find which steering part is the source of the wobble.
Ford recalls still have not been issued for death wobble issue
Ford has yet to issue a full recall. Without an official recall, owners will be solely responsible for thousands of dollars in repair costs. It is important that vehicle owners make an effort to stay up to date with recalls themselves and make contact with their service centers if they experience issues.
Only just last year, Ford instructed dealers to replace the steering damper in 2017 to 2019 model trucks if an owner complains of the death wobble. Richmond says that’s just a Band-Aid. At this time, Ford has declined to any comment to news sources because of the pending litigation.
This condition could cause Ford owners to reconsider brand loyalty and looking to other vehicles in the segment. There are many other full-size trucks that are good alternatives to consider. Consumer Reports produces a report of the best full-size pickup trucks each year. You can read more about their 2020 full-size pickup truck recommendations here.