My daughter and I are driving from Winston Salem, nc to Birmingham, al about 400 miles. We re driving in an automatic 2008 jeep wrangler. Last night we were outside Atlanta when the car started shaking. For a moment we thought we had a flat but the car was not shaking that badly and I was able to maintain steering control when driving. The shaking stopped spontaneously after about five minutes. We stopped later to look at the tires and they looked fully inflated and overall in good condition. Our questions are what could have caused it and is it safe for us to continue our drive the rest of the way to Birmingham ?
You probably have a worn track bar and/or steering stabilizer. Lots of vehicles with a solid front axle will develop this issue as parts wear out. It’s been in the news a couple times recently, mostly because the Wrangler has become civilized enough to be used as a soccer-mom-mobile, and frequently is, and for some reason nobody knows how to check for wear of these parts on a routine basis, especially the dealer service department technicians, and partially because some news anchors own them and their dealer service department has no idea how to fix them, so they make a news story out of it and bash on Chrysler for making a defective product. Here is how to check for wear in the track bar: have an assistant turn the steering wheel back and forth from 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock with the vehicle parked on the ground. Inspect both ends of the track bar for play, particularly the joint that mounts to the frame of the vehicle. This is wear usually occurs that causes the so-called “death wobble”, which is what you experienced. By the way, slowing down will make it go away. You can finish your trip this way, but you should get it fixed when you get home. It can become worse over time and will cause rapid tire wear due to the “scrubbing” that oscillation causes.
I’m at work and tried to look up a track bar for your Jeep with no luck the older
wrangler pre 2006 I’ve sold a few track bars over the years. if the Jeep is still shaking at slower speeds try to find a Jeep dealer local honest shop. have a safe trip