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Wheel Hop: What Is It & How to Reduce It (Explained)

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Wheel hop occurs when the wheels of your vehicle move more freely and “hop” forward and back within the wheel wells, causing them to lose contact and traction with the ground.

As you try to launch your car, you’ll notice a jerky, and even violent action. This not only costs you seconds in the quarter mile and worsens launch, but it also puts your drivetrain at risk of damage.

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Causes of Wheel Hop

While wheel hop is basically a traction problem, the suspension is the most prevalent cause.

It’s also caused by high-traction situations, such as on a prepped drag strip, with sticky slick tyres, etc.

Wheel hop is often caused by excessive deflection of the bushings in the wheel or at the differential, causing the wheel to travel forward and backward.

This causes the tyre to lose complete contact with the road surface before rapidly reconnecting, resulting in the rough and violent sensation that is typically associated with wheel hop.

Wheel hop may occur in any circumstance when a high-powered vehicle is launched unexpectedly, although it is most often observed on drag strips when a car’s suspension has not been properly adjusted for its power output.

It may harm your vehicle in addition to slowing it down and making you feel bad.

Rapid traction loss and recovery puts a lot of strain on your vehicle’s axles, and if the wheel hop is severe or occurs often, it may lead to failure.

It also adds to the wear on the motor mounts and the deflecting bushings.

demonstration of car wheel hop

How to Reduce Wheel Hop

Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with wheel hop. You can upgrade certain components that are designed to lessen or eliminate it. These include the following.

The first step is to figure out what’s causing your jumping tyres, and in most situations, a rear-wheel drive vehicle’s subframe bushings or rear differential bushings are a good place to start.

In both circumstances, your vehicle’s original bushings are intended to strike a balance between stiffness and ride comfort.

wheel hop from engine mounts

Wheel hop may be reduced greatly by replacing these sections of your rear suspension with stronger bushings.

You may also have to give up some ride quality, making this an improvement that is best suited to vehicles that spend a lot of time on the track.

Outside of the track, the improved bushings will assist your vehicle maintain traction while accelerating out of a corner by decreasing wheel hop.

Going beyond this will frequently be dependent on your vehicle and the settings in which it is operated.

When your vehicle is striving to deliver enough power to the track, anything from your vertical linkages to the actual bracing of your subframe might cause it.

If simple suspension modifications don’t alleviate wheel hop, it’s probably time to look into more significant suspension upgrades.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer.He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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