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Wheel Hop (Explained)

Updated: May 3

Wheel hop occurs when the wheels of your vehicle move more freely and "hop" 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, occasionally violent action. This not only costs you seconds in the quarter mile, but it also puts your drivetrain at risk of damage.


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

Wheel hop may harm your automobile 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
Notice the rear wheel not touching the ground.

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

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