Tons of people out there love their Ford trucks. However, if you're planning on getting a new F-250 or F-350 truck from the Ford dealership, there's something you should probably be aware of, if you're not already. They have a slight issue, and it's referred to as the "death wobble." The name is pretty fitting, because it certainly is a frightening experience for most people when it happens.
So, what exactly is a death wobble? Well, it usually happens when you're cruising at highway speeds, and you hit a bump or groove in the pavement causing a slight shimmy. Out of nowhere, you'll experience violent shaking in the steering wheel and front end. For example, the truck owner in the below video is driving his 2018 Ford F-350 pickup truck. Take a look at this video to see exactly what happens when the "death wobble" kicks in.
As you can see in the video, his tire pressure is correct, and his truck is aligned properly, however, he still gets the wobble. He did this on purpose to create an informative video to show the problem to both Ford customers and the automaker itself. People pay a lot of money for these F-series trucks, and this dangerous problem with their suspension systems puts the Ford drivers and others on the road at risk.
When this issue occurs, the driver will experience a drastic loss of control. I'm not saying you'll instantly spin out, but your braking and steering systems are virtually useless while the truck is shaking. Your only option is to gradually slow the truck down to regain control of the vehicle. Let's dig a little deeper and find out the true reason these super duty trucks face this problem.
Ford Super Duty Death Wobble
This "death wobble" issue is more common than you might think. It's not just the newer trucks that do it, either. People have reported these issues with older model years, as well.
In 2019, there was a class action lawsuit (Lessin V. Ford Motor Company) stating that 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 suit also claims that Ford knew that these components on 2005-2019 models were prone to failure, but refused to notify customers or address the issue.
Adam Richmond, an off-road specialist, reported that he's seen multiple trucks come into the shop for this issue. Unfortunately for the owners, it's difficult to track down exactly which steering part is the source of the problem. Richmond says that they have a special process for checking the front suspension parts to locate the specific failure.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website shows proof of over 1,200 complaints regarding this issue. It's also worth noting that Ford Motor Company has done nothing, even to this day, to resolve the problem. Since they have not issued a full recall, that means the owners are fully liable to fix the issues out of their own pocket. Remember, these parts are not cheap either.
It's good to keep that in mind if you're looking at a brand-new Ford F-250. Luckily, the "death wobble" does not apply to Ford F-150 trucks, only the super-duty pickups. I'll let you make your own decision when it comes to your next truck purchase, but remember that Dodge and Chevy have some cool trucks as well, and you won't have to worry about any kind of death wobble from those.
But, if you're a Ford fan through and through, there are plenty of useful products on Amazon, like steering dampers and steering stabilizers, that help to improve control and handling for Ford trucks.
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This post was originally published on July 7, 2020.