Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will start replacing steering dampers, or stabilizers, in certain Jeep Wranglers with an upgraded design in response to reports of a vibration glitch.
FCA spokesman Eric Mayne says the new part for some of the 2018-19 model-year vehicles produced through April 9 has a "design feature that affords more efficient function." Customer notifications were to begin in Canada and the United States on Aug. 9, and FCA is determining how many vehicles will be affected, Mayne said.
The steering vibration is the subject of a federal lawsuit in the United States filed June 12 covering 2015-18 Wranglers. The suit alleges a "defectively designed and/or manufactured front axle and damping system" causes some Wranglers to shake violently at highway speeds or "when encountering road variations." The lawsuit refers to the condition as a "death wobble."
"This rarely occurring phenomenon is not peculiar to any one vehicle and is not a safety issue," FCA said in a statement. "FCA US strongly objects to any insinuation otherwise."
"There is no loss of steering or braking – two key functions that help ensure vehicle safety," the company said. "The steering-system design associated with this condition affords unique capability that is greatly valued by our customers, and the market."
FCA said the glitch is reported most frequently in cold-weather conditions.
The customer service campaign was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.
"There are no known fatalities or injuries associated with this phenomenon," an FCA spokesman previously told Automotive News.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, calls steering dampers a "band-aid fix that will only temporarily conceal the problem." The issue "can only be remedied by substantial revisions and repair to the suspension," the suit claims.
In 2008, NHTSA investigated 2005-07 Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty 4x4 pickups after receiving complaints of steering wheel oscillations. The probe closed after testing showed only vehicles with underinflated or damaged tires experienced such an event.