If you had to take a guess what a steering stabilizer does, you could surely
figure out what it’s for. If you’re not
the guessing type, then we’ll go ahead and reveal the answer: A steering
stabilizer stabilizes your steering.
All joking aside, steering stabilizers aren’t as simple and mono-focused as their
name would imply. While they do
serve to stabilize your vehicle’s steering, there are plenty of reasons you
might need to upgrade yours or install a
new one. Odds are that if you’re the driver of a Jeep Wrangler, you’ve heard
about steering stabilizers as a
solution to the infamous “death wobble.” There is some truth to that statement,
but like most things, the truth
isn’t that simple. Keep reading to learn what a steering stabilizer can do for
your ride and what type of steering
stabilizer you’ll need.
If your vehicle’s suspension is completely stock, then you likely haven’t ever
felt that your ride needs any sort of
stabilization. Vehicles that come from the factory are designed to handle
predictably and easily. This begins to
change once you start tinkering with the factory set-up.
Oversized wheels and tires, lift kits, or any sort of mod to your vehicle’s
suspension is liable to upset its natural
balance. While these changes might seem minor at first, the slightest imbalance
can ultimately result in major
Larger tires and lift kits are the usual culprits of steering instability. That
being said, other mods like a
heavy-duty bumper and winch can potentially hinder your vehicle’s handling as
The main type of vehicle instability that steering stabilizers can help with is
bump steer. Bump steer is when some
obstacle, usually something like a pothole, comes into contact with your wheel
and causes it to turn without any of
your input. While a bit of bump steer is manageable, it can become a serious
How Do Steering Stabilizers Work?
Steering stabilizers are essentially shocks for your vehicle’s steering system.
Unlike other suspension shocks, they
are aligned horizontally.
The way steering stabilizers function is by absorbing the shock waves sent through the front
axle. This helps dampen the jolts that
potholes and other unexpected obstacles can send through your vehicle.
There are two main alignments of steering stabilizers that you may encounter.
There are single and double steering
stabilizer setups. The mechanical differences between these are what give them
their names. The main distinction
between the two steering stabilizer setups is the amount of damping force
provided. Basically, if you have a very
unruly steering system, then double stabilizers might be for you. Otherwise, a
single steering stabilizer should be
able to get the job done.
How To Install Steering Stabilizers
Installing a steering stabilizer is a relatively easy project. While you will
need a jack stand or a lift, the rest
of the installation consists of removing and reattaching bolts. While the
specifics change from vehicle to vehicle,
the overall methods of the installation process are the same.
If you are considering installing a steering stabilizer onto your ride, then be
sure to check out this install on CJ
Off-Road’s YouTube channel. This particular installation is of a double steering
stabilizer on a JL Wrangler. There are also examples of steering stabilizer installations on a JK Wrangler.
Steering stabilizers can definitely improve your vehicle’s handling, but they
aren’t a panacea for all handling
problems. Despite what you may have heard, a steering stabilizer is not a cure
for death wobble. Additionally,
steering stabilizers aren’t necessarily solutions in themselves. A steering
stabilizer can treat the symptoms, but
not the causes of most suspension issues. If you do experience frequent death wobble, then a careful evaluation of
your Wrangler’s suspension is in order. If anything, a steering stabilizer will
hide the problems lurking
Even though steering stabilizers can hide underlying suspension problems, that
doesn’t mean they aren’t even
necessary in the first place. While you should certainly confirm that your
vehicle doesn't have any
components first, a steering stabilizer can make a serious difference
for your ride.