Steering Dampers & StabilizersSteering stabilizers are similar to the shock absorbers (or struts) on your Jeep. While those dampen the suspension, the steering stabilizer dampens the steering on the front end of your Jeep. If you’re driving, and a tire hits a pothole, a boulder, or some other trail hazard, it tends to cause the steering linkage to jerk abruptly, and this gets transmitted to the steering wheel. In some cases it almost yanks the steering wheel out of your grip. A steering stabilizer (or steering damper as it’s sometimes called) absorbs that energy and slows it down considerably. This allows for more controlled steering, and less chance of you losing your grip. At slow speed, it may not be a big deal, but trailing at 40+ miles an hour, hitting something hard with a tire can be a scary moment, and may even cause you to lose control. Large wheels and tires and even a higher lift kit can add to the handling issues, so having a steering damper is even more important in those cases. Normally a single piston-cylinder steering stabilizer can do the job, but if you have a lot of suspension modifications, you may want to think about a double stabilizer. Jeeps have been using stabilizers for decades, even as far back as the CJ -series, where a steering stabilizer was standard equipment. Of course, today you have a wide variety of choices and products, most of which are available right here at Morris 4x4 Center. Sometimes people think a steering stabilizer is a sole contributor to a “Death Wobble”, but that’s only one of many things it could be. You can easily check a stabilizer simply by looking at it. Symptoms of a bad steering stabilizer include bad seals, or oil leaking out. If you still think it’s bad, take it off and compress it, moving it out and in. Does it smoothly extend and compress? If so, then it's probably ok. While a steering stabilizer can go bad, many people, especially those that trail with their Jeep, upgrade to a larger piston and diameter stabilizer for better control and performance. Which is a good thing since no one wants to lose control of their Jeep. Whether you're only mildly trailing, or running the mountain cascades, a steering stabilizer is an important piece of equipment you want on your Jeep. Have any stabilizer horror stories? Tell us in the comments!
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