By Erik K. Schmitt, Esq.
Ford Motor Company often boasts that its award-winning F-series line of pick-up trucks: “Build Ford Tough.” However, despite the accolades, Ford’s trucks have become associated with a much more notorious (and scary) phrase: the “Death Wobble.” As it turns out, a small bump in the road might cause these trucks to not be as “tough” as Ford would like its customers to believe.
For the past 15+ years, drivers of Ford’s Super Duty F-250/350 pickup trucks have suffered from a pervasive suspension problem that causes a condition known as the “death wobble.” The death wobble is a frightening experience where the truck violently shakes after hitting a bump or groove in the road at highway speeds. It can lead to the loss of control and difficulty steering, even under regular driving conditions.
According to a recent class-action lawsuit filed in 2019 (Lessin v. Ford Motor Company), the death wobble is caused by a defect linked to abnormal wear and/or loosening of the track bar bushing, damper bracket, ball joints, control arms, shocks and/or struts. 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. The lawsuit alleges, “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.”
The death wobble has led to a litany of complaints from consumers, auto dealers, and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to the lawsuit, NHTSA allegedly received 1,265 reports of the “death wobble” defect between March 2005 and February 2019, with some of these reports describing series accidents and injuries due to the dangerous defect. The Complaint alleges, “The Defect causes the Class Vehicles to lose steering control during normal operation and poses a serious risk of crash without warning. As discussed below, Plaintiff and numerous Class Vehicle owners and lessees have reported that the Defect causes a sudden loss of steering control, a violent front-end vibration and swaying of the Vehicles—an event that has been referred to as a “Death Wobble….” The Death Wobble is typically triggered when the Class Vehicles are traveling at speeds above 50 miles per hour and one of the tires hits a groove or bump in the road. This causes a violent shaking of the vehicle, which can only be controlled by a sudden reduction of speed.”
The notorious death wobble is also well-documented in YouTube videos, NHTSA Complaints, and complaints on other websites (See, e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EuQ6f8rgT4). Yet, even with all the complaints, Ford still has not issued a recall or proper fix that would keep drivers of these trucks out of harm’s way. In fact, Ford-authorized repair facilities sometimes blame the consumer for not maintaining the truck properly, which often results in Ford failing to honor the truck’s warranty through no fault of the owner.
CCA’s attorneys are experienced in Ford Motor Company cases and have the technical and legal know-how to handle Ford F-150, F-250, and F-350 “death wobble” cases. After a short and free consultation, we can evaluate if your Ford truck qualifies for repurchase under California’s lemon law, and even fight back if Ford claims your warranty is voided by an inherent defect that you had nothing to do with. If your Ford Truck suffers from the infamous “death wobble,” contact a CCA attorney today at (833) LEMON-FIRM for a free consultation.