Myths About Steering Stabilizers

Recently, I have been reading a lot of posts over on regarding steering stabilizers and I have to say that I find all the misinformation regarding them or the need for them to be quite troubling.  Here are some of the myths I’ve been hearing:

A new heavy duty steering stabilizer…

1. Is needed after installing a new lift and/or bigger tires
2. Will fix wandering or flighty steering
3. Will fix death wobble

For the record, IF you have your suspension/steering dial in correctly, a steering stabilizer isn’t really needed at all.  While one might act as a bandaid and help to hide or mask wandering or flighty steering or even help reduce death wobble, IT DOES NOT AND WILL NOT FIX ANYTHING.  Trust me, I have been running a factory steering stabilzer on my JK for over two years now and the last of which was while running 5.5″ of lift and 37’s.  In fact, I have been running without one at all for the last two weeks and even at speeds of 80 MPH and I can’t hardly tell that one isn’t installed.

Now, am I suggesting that you shouldn’t run a steering stabilizer?  Not at all and that is not the point of this article.  A steering stabilizer is NICE to have and something I would recommend that everyone uses as it will help to absorb bumpsteer.  However, it has been my experience that even with a set of heavy 37×13.50’s mounted on beadlocks, a factory unit is really all that you need.  Will a heavy duty unit help absorb bumpsteer more, of course it will, but that’s about all it will do.

So, why bring all this up you might ask?  Because I care about you guys and I just want to make sure that you take the time to address and FIX problems that you might be experiencing as opposed to masking or hiding them with a steering stabilizer.



  1. Again Thanks. I replaced mine due to fluid leakage. after I found out that some of the JK were over filled at the factory. This came from my chrysler parts cented

  2. Eddie, I am perplexed. Can you address the “dredded DEATH WOBBLE”.
    I am told that it is, when your front axle oscillates after hitting a bump in the road. I have an 07″ 4 door jk “x” stock with a 2in. spacerlift on stock tires.I have had it on since it was of two months ago the “D.W.” happend to me and it is very bad I cannot go over 60 mph. I have replaced my factory trac bar, drag link and tie rod bar w/ends. Replaced all shocks and stablizer shock with propper alignment and still have a severe wobble. I am wanting to put a 4in. lift with 35s but not sure what to do

  3. I too have an ’07 Jeep Jk unlimited 4d with ‘wobble’ problems. I have a rancho 4″ lift, installed by Chrysler Authorized install center, “4 Wheel Parts”. They say by tie rod ends are bad, Jeep says it’s the stabilizer shock, because the tie rod is a single piece? I don’t know who to beleive? What’s my best recourse, if I put a new ‘shimmy shock’, I mask what’s really wrong till I’m off warranty. HELP!!!

  4. hi ruben, just so that we are clear here, death wobble is a violent shaking of your entire jeep to the point where it feels like the whole thing is about to tear itself apart and the only thing you can do is come to a stop. if this is not what you are experiencing, you DO NOT have death wobble. a really bad shimmy in the steering wheel at a high speed is typically a problem with tire balancing.

    as far as what you are told goes, yes, hitting a bump in the road can trigger an oscillation which can result in death wobble BUT, only if you have a track bar that can’t keep it in check. in my experience, 99% of all death wobble can be directly traced to track bar bolts that are not tightend to factory specs, worn out bushings, mounting holes that have been wolloed out OR track bar mounts that are fatigued and failing.

  5. hi dan, as i said to ruben, are you sure that you have death wobble and not just a bad shimmy in the steering wheel? IF you do have death wobble, i am sorry to say but both your jeep tech and 4 wheel parts have no clue what they are talking about. again, IF you really do have death wobble, you need to have your track bar track bar mounts checked for fatigue or tearing both at the axle and the frame – this is especially so if you have a track bar relocation bracket. i have seen way too many mounts fail because of them and this will cause death wobble. if they check out, you need to make sure the bushings are in good shape and that the mounting bolts are tightend to specs.

  6. I’m doing a 4″ skyjacker lift today on my brand new 2009 Jk unlimited I hope I don’t have this death wobble I had it I. My old 2000 tj and it sucked everytime I hit a bump on the road will advise you all when I get it back from the shop oh and by the way I’m getting rockstar 18″ rims

  7. I have to agree that the death wobble is an issue with the suspension and may not be a stabilizer issue. When I had a similar problem one of the sway bar quick disconnects was broken.
    I would also check the sway bar links.

    The factory rubber bushings are not up to lifts and hard use. Replace the factroy stuff with Daystar or another poly bushing set.I have run a Skyjacker lift with no problems on a 98 TJ Sport.

    I replaced my stabilizer on the 98 with a double unit to help with the drifting when driving in a lot of cross wind.

  8. Eddie,
    Installed a 2″ econo lift with spacers along with recommended shocks. The Mopar dealer installed it & aligned it. I get considerable front end wandering more so when the road is cupped from heavy traffic. Is there anything I can do to upgrade the front end? Thanks John

  9. which econo lift did you have installed and was a front track bar relocation bracket included? if so, remove it. aside from that, what size tires are you running and how much psi is in them? if you are running 33’s, you really shouldn’t have more than 30-32psi, with 35’s, 28-03psi – anything more and that won’t help things at all. if all that checks out, you need to add more positive caster and the best way to do that is to install a set of adjustable front lower control arms and lenghten them to be a bit longer than stock. experience has taught me that about 23″ from center of mounting hole to center will do the job well.

  10. The track bar bracket is located on the top of the front axle? I am running 33’s at the recommended psi.Remove the bracket that came with the kit? Will I have to re-align? The kit is from Full Traction, I listed it below…

    2007-09 JK Wrangler and Unlimited Simple, quick installComes with front and rear spacers Front track bar bracket Billet aluminum bump stop extensions Includes 5100 Series Hydraulic shocks Max Tire Size: 33×12.50

    Thanks for listening, John

  11. yes, remove the bracket that is sitting on top of the axle and mount your track bar directly to the factory mount. unless you have an adjustable front track bar, there is nothing an alignment shop can do for you so save your money. your front axle will shift over a bit to the driver side but it really is no big deal and you will find that your handling is better.

  12. Back again…placed the track bar back in the factory bracket (Jeep does not wander anymore), now my steering wheel is off and the traction control comes on all the time. Any suggestions? Thanks John

  13. I have a 2007 Sahara Unlimited…. It has had the Death wobble for the last 20k miles. It has been in the shop for weeks at a time beginning in October of 2008. The Chrysler reps have looked at it several and thus far… no fix. They have checked, replaced balanced and aligned everything. As for the stabilizer I have a heavy duty Rancho off road stabilizer to help mask this issue and still.. it is there. . I have spent the last few months talking to owners, and service departments and there is no good answer. What works for some does not work for others.
    Does anyone have a real answer? I would like to enjoy the truck I am paying for.

  14. Hi WAYOFLIFE, I am in Australia and have just had a 40mm lift kit (installed by TJM, shocks and springs) which gave me a lift of 80mm. After driving it home I too have experienced the death wobble so I brought a rancho steering damper in the hope it would help,and all that done was to stiffen my steering, the wobble is still there, and is eccentuated by braking. I have had it back to the jeep dealer and they have told me that the fix is to dial the caster back by a couple of degrees, as they say that is where the problem lies. Are they correct?

  15. yes, a lack of positive caster can “instigate” death wobble. if you are running below +4°, you should install a set of adjustable lower control arms and increase this to at least +4° and if at all possible, closer to +6°. having said that, death wobble is almost always a track bar related problem. either the mouting bolts aren’t tightend to torque specs, bushings are bad, mounts are wollowed out or even physically failing.

  16. E

    in the last few weeks a friend and I, both with JK’s, both smashed our steering stabilizers. Its a vulnerable design. Any options you know of?

    Las Vegas

  17. I dont kno that i would say that the caster should be at +6 i put a 4inch rough country lift on at my caster is at +6 and i still get that DW now if i put the factory 235 tires on it theres no dw but as soon as the brand new american racing wheels with the 35’s on it the DW returns

  18. caster is just one aspect you should be looking at if you have DW. a track bar bolt not tightend to torque spec, bad bushing or failing mount is a more likely cause. bad ball joints is a cause as well.

  19. I had a slight wooble when passing on an expansion joint on a bridge lately. I told my dealer about it and he ordered a new stronger damper. I was running my winter tires (245/75 R16… small, 10″ wide and 29″ tall). Before it was changed, I switched to my summer tires (315/75 R17… 12.7″ wide and 35″ tall) and the wooble was practcally gone. I still had the damper changed and it was actually badly crushed since last summer.

    Is it possible that it is more important to have a good one when you have smaller tires on than with the big ones ???

  20. tire size will not make a difference and assuming you have your suspension dialed in, you techncially don’t even need a steering stabilizer installed. more than likely, your other tires are out of balance.

  21. I agree. I have a 09 4 door with less than 20,000 kms on it. I have experienced death wobble now a total of 5 times. My fear is going to the dealership and having them fix it under warranty the cheapest way they possibly can. Do you have any advice when approaching the dealership wtih this issue? Anything that will make them actually check out every single front component and say “oh…there’s actuall more than one probelm with this lemon?” Man, I’m really not happy about this jeep. Already had to replace my tranny now who knows?…Did i mention I bought it brand new ? yeah…

  22. I woudlnt drive without a stabilizer… i was driving my dodge 3500 duelly ( i know its not a jeep) without a stabalizer due to the fact that i ran into a rock in a field ( yes i know it was dumb but it was hidden in the tall grass) and bent the ram. so i removed it and drove down the highway. while drivving down the highway i hit a small pot hole, whichc through me into an extreme death wobble which almost put me in the ditch. on the way home i hit another pot hole and it did the same ( very small pot holes, berly felt them ) so, i would reccemend not driving highway without one.

  23. what you experienced was most likely death wobble and the fact that you did not have a steering stabilizer on is not the reason why you experienced it. putting it back on will only mask the real cause which is probably a loose or worn out supension or steering component.

  24. Had just experienced death wobble on my ‘o8 JK (3″ Teraflex lift) the other day, odemeter just turned over 31,000 miles. Went to to my dealer to check out (under Warranty)removed my Teraflex Steering damper and replaced with OEM damper, NO death wobble.

  25. glad to see you didn’t even bother to read the article before posting. i’m also glad that your bandaid is hiding whatever the real problems causing your death wobble is well.

  26. I need your help, I have a 2011 Jk 2 door I put on 285/70/17 on stock rims with 1.5 spidertrax spacers now I get a wobble/vibration in the front end at around 40+ mph, the tires have been balanced and rebalanced and I still get it. The steering wheel only vibrates/shacks a little when the front end wobbles/vibrates but it will still track a straight line when this is happening. Do you have any idea what this might be from? I have an appt to bring it to the dealer in a few days. Keep in mind I only have 2600 miles on it.

  27. did you make sure to remove the assembly washers prior ot installing the wheel spacers? if yes, i might try getting your tires road force balanced again. it is not uncommon for it to be difficult to balance larger off road tires. certainly, depending on make, i’ve needed to get tires balanced multiple times in the past.

  28. First off I am no mechanic and I am speaking only from experience. I am 27 and have a 2008 jk rubicon unlimited with 107k miles and about 2k miles ago I experienced my first case of death wobble. I always wondered what death wobble felt like. When I felt it for the first time I thought I was experiencing a 9.0 earth quake in southern Louisiana ha. My friend driving behind me thought he was seeing things and said it looked like I had 4 flat tires and my jeep was flopping around like a fish. Anyways I brought it to the goodyear shop and I was told my ball joints were bad. I was a good 2k miles from home and there was no way I could drive home under these conditions. I was told it would cost me close to $2000 dollars to have them replaced. Well like most people I do not have $2000 dollars especially right after Christmas. I made the decision to order some synergy ball joints and I had them over nighted to a relatives house all for a total of 360 dollars with shipping. I found a excellent video on youtube of how to replace them, then I went to advanced auto parts and rented the ball joint press. The pry bar and the ball joint press is a must! I was able to replace them all by myself with limited tools at a relatives house and I saved over $1500 in all. Then the next day I started my 2k mile journey back to Utah. It has solved my death wobble issue! The steering wheel still shakes a little at 55-65mph and I think it is mainly from my tires cupping from the old ball joints. I will be getting some new tires now with the money I saved next week.

  29. I just have to disagree with blaming the DW on the trackbar, message after message. I have had DW since I installed the OME 2.5″ lift with adjustable track bars and 35″ tires. I stepped through each suspension piece and found nothing that was loose or wallard out. I painstaking aligned my front end (yes you can, if you have the right tools). What basically happens is that after going through and finding nothing, and having perfect, brand new steering stabilizer, the DW comes back in about 6 monthes. Last time, I bought bullet proof tie rod and draglink. My stabilizer failed again, DW is back with a vengence. Funny thing, it happens when turning left and hit a bump at the same time. I can almost predict when it will start. Only thing I haven’t touched is Unit Bearings and King Pin bearings. Oh well, I’ll drop out the track bar and inspect again. Overall, I don’t think these JKs like being lifted with big tires. I can’t believe what PIA this is.

  30. problems with your track bar is just the most common reason for DW, not the only one. bad ball joints are the next most common reason. a steering stabilizer will not fix or cause DW. at best, it can only hide symtoms of it.

  31. I think some people are misunderstanding DW. If you think you had DW you probably didn’t. If you did you may have thought the world was ending and that you have left a trail of parts behind you. I had it in my ”99 and it started at about 40 mph and didnt stop until about 10 mph. If you had it you would know.

  32. Wow, what a relief. I just bought a 2012 Rubicon and I want to upgrade it but the more I research liftkits, Tires, skid plates, steering components, proper Caster… and the list goes on and on… I just get overwhelmed and discouraged. Your article is a huge help. THANK YOU. Keep the great, money saving- stress relieving info coming.

  33. Hi Eddie
    New to this site. Trying to see if maybe you can help me. I have a2008 jk with a 4″ pro comp lift.35″ tires. And I am having problems with my jeep wondering after 65-70 mph. Even at slower speeds depending on the roadway. I have taken it 3 different shops all have given me their opinions a installed parts they think I needed. I am by no means a 4×4 expert even though my jeep is 2wd. I have trusted their opinions and my jeep still this is all the work I’ve done.
    New 35″tires- told my old ones were worn
    New track bar
    New duel rancho steering stabilizer
    New after market power steering box
    Thank you and I hope you can give me some in site

  34. Hello folks, I have a 14 jk with 35’s and a 3 inch BDS lift and about 3000 miles. I had a pretty crazy wobble, not extreme to the point that the whole jeep shook violently, but enough to get my attention. I took it back to the dealer and they said the alignment was way off and so adjusted. They also said it COULD be due to the tires being a load range E – 10 ply tire. Well I took it home and although the severe wobble has not shown itself yet, I do get SOME of the times, a steady shimmy in the steering wheel. Another 4×4 shop suggested a better steering stabilizer, but according to the posts above, if Im understanding this right, the better stabilizer may not help. The dealer said all my suspension components are tight. Thoughts…??

  35. Hey there,
    I have a 2008 JKU Sahara and I am planning on getting a 4″ Rough Country Suspension Lift with 35″ Nitto Trail Grapplers. I have been researching the specs on Wrangler Forums, and everywhere I look people are talking about how it is NECESSARY to either have a Steering Stabilizer, Aftermarket Driveshaft or Front Arm Control Brackets or else the front driveshaft will snap. I am not looking to be Rock Crawling, mainly my everyday driver and I cant afford the extra add-ons to make it an extreme off-roader.
    Please let me know if any or some are absolutely necessary for my lift, and if so would a smaller height lift be more acceptable for my Jeep?

  36. Thanks Eddie/wayoflife,
    I appreciate you volunteering so much information. Having experienced DW for the first time a few days ago (thought the wheels were going to fall off and the entire body would literally be strewn across 3 lanes of traffic)
    If I may bug you for your opinion, here’s my situation:
    98 xj. Major overhaul of the lift as I bought it with a cheap lift. New leaf springs, shocks, steering stabilizer, brakes, lots of minor things. 3″ lift now.
    Driving home cruising 75-80 mph hitting normal NJ parkway bumps and hit one that threw me into the DW. After getting down to 40mph, it stopped and I pulled over, changed my shorts and hobbled along the paved roadside at which the DW happened again at 40mph this time.
    Ok fast forward, cracked frame (from that impact) welded and reinforced. DW is in check, not corrected. Going to check out all the bushings and bearings and every damn thing in the front end today. In your opinion, could the DW have been caused by hitting that bump at high speed and caused damage to the system? That’s my guess.
    AND like many of you have said, there’s no “I might have Death Wobble.” If you shit your pants when all of a sudden your jeep turned into a whiffle ball, that’s Death Wobble. 😆

  37. I have a stock 2007 2 door wrangler and after I had new wheels put on I had death wobble. dealer installed a new stabilizer and still had the problem. after spending thousands of dollars on other things to find the bad part, I spoke with a jeep service tech and it sounded like the wheels were bad. everything else was in great shape as I only drive on the crappy roads that are the highway system of ours. its a matter of properly weighting the tires on the inside and outside. the wheels I had were only weighted on the inside which caused my issues. luckily I needed new tires and was able to get some oem wheels, new stabilizer, shocks and i’ve been problem free for 3 years. now the stabilizer is shot and its a cheap fix. then i’ll be driving smooth again.

  38. Hey WayofLife,

    I am not sure you are still updating this page, but I have read through the article, and developed several strategies to dealing with my DW.

    But could you help me understand this…

    I have a 1974 Ford F-100, with a 6″ lift, on 36’s…Ok…so the 1974 ford F-100, was a 1/2 ton truck. And I have it sitting on some axles from a ford F250, but I didn’t build it.

    So when I am buying suspension parts to replace bushings and what not…My inclination would be, anything that mounts to the frame, probably needs to be replaced with Parts from a F-100. But I am thinking the size of the axels are causing more wear. Should be replacing things with parts from an F-250?

    And without knowing what year of F-250 was used, it’s hard to buy parts that I know will fit. Is there a reliable technique to identify which year of axels I have, so that when I go to the parts store, and they ask me what car I have…I can get parts that would fit?

  39. I dont have a jeep, but this is sorta the same problem with my truck. At 65 i get a hard jarring feeling from the front end. My sister said she saw them tire hopping from her car. I also have a 6 inch lift with 38s and a whole new front end.

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