What Does a Steering Stabilizer Do?

There are a lot of opinions on steering stabilizers. Some people swear they cure the dreaded death wobble, adding as many as four stabilizers to the front of their vehicle. Another school of thought doesn’t use one at all, claiming a perfect front end geometry doesn’t require any dampening.

What is it?

Most steering dampers are filled with oil that passes through plates that have holes to allow the fluid to pass at a certain rate. If your damper is gas charged make sure you get one that has a neutral charge.

The gas charge adds more resistance to movement to resist the force of the wheels moving side to side. The ones that I have tested that aren’t neutral cause a “pull” in one direction due to the gas pressure overcoming the neutral steering. A good steering stabilizer needs to have equal resistance in both directions and not be overly strong so it doesn’t impede steering.

Our new Fox stabilizer has a shaft that passes through the entire body of the unit eliminating many of these issues. The “through shaft” (TS) technology means the shaft of the damper doesn’t increase internal oil pressure, unlike a traditional stabilizer.

Why do I want one?

There are a few reasons to want to run a steering stabilizer.

  • Reduces driver fatigue by absorbing all of the tiny movements caused by aggressive tires and road imperfections instead of the driver.
  • Dampens large impacts and steering input. Traveling down the highway and hitting standing water you didn’t see can yank the wheel right out of your hands. The stabilizer helps control that by minimizing the abrupt input.
  • Less stress on your parts. By reducing impacts and sudden violent movements your parts last longer.

But so and so says it fixes death wobble!

A steering stabilizer will make you think your problem is fixed for a while. If you buy an aftermarket damper that is stronger than your issue it will “correct” your wobble.

It will only mask it for a while and it doesn’t address what your real problem is. In my case, it was a bad draglink joint. The most common cause of steering wobble is a bad part somewhere in the steering and suspension, the only way to properly fix it is to replace the bad part.

There are a lot of opinions on steering stabilizers. Some people swear they cure the dreaded death wobble, some don’t use one at all.

But, but, but…

I get it, everyone including your mechanic said to get a steering stabilizer. They do this because it’s easy, they make good money on it, and you walk away happy fast.

It’s also less expensive than paying them to diagnose the issue properly and replace the bad parts. This cheap approach creates a legion of stabilizer acolytes that swear it fixes world hunger, global warming, and causes one to become an Arhat.

Do you run one, none, or multiple stabilizers?

Let us know in the comments what setup you run.

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