What Is Wheel Hop? – Definition, Causes, And Fixes

Wheel hop frequently affects car operation.

Therefore, it is essential to refer to how to care for and maintain car tires regularly and adequately so that the car can avoid tire hop conditions, can operate stably, save fuel, and ensure safety as a whole.

So, What is wheel hop? What are its causes? And how should we care for car tires to prevent wheel hop? All these questions will be revealed in the article below.

What Is Wheel Hop?

What Is Wheel Hop

Wheel hop is also known as tire hop when the tire simultaneously loses contact with the ground while in motion.

The phenomenon of tire jumping causes the movement of the wheel spins to become abnormal, even a sudden tire shake or vibration for the vehicle

The most severe problem of this phenomenon is that the car will lose traction and skid.

Tire hop is the most common occurrence in two vehicles, FWD (front-wheel drive pulls) and RWD (rear-wheel drive pushes) cars. It can also happen when driving on bad, rocky, uneven roads.

What Causes Wheel Hop?

1, Suspension Damage

One of the flexible intermediate systems that help stabilize the body and smooth the movement of a car is determined mainly based on the suspension system on the vehicle.

When used for a long time, the rear suspension on cars often suffers damage, such as control arm discomfort, leaking oil, shock, and wheel hop.

2, Tires Are Too Smooth

The older the tire, the lower the safety will be. Over time, the rubber covering the tire becomes rigid, and cracks begin to appear.

Tires that are too worn can lead to a tire hop condition, even an explosion, which is dangerous during operation.

Because when the tire is worn, it will reduce the friction between it and the road, making the wheel spin easy to jump even when traveling on flat ground.

3, Under-Inflated Or Over-Inflated Tire 

The over-inflated or under-inflated car will directly affect the friction of the actual wheel on the road surface, and wheel hop causes bad wheel danger when traveling on the road.

Some car owners think that the more inflated the car’s tires are, the better it will be for travel. But in practice, this reduces the tire’s friction on the road surface.

In sudden braking, the car very easily skids, endangering the driver and people on the road.

In addition, inflated tires also harm ride quality, such as not creating a good driving feeling, wheels easily worn, rapidly reducing service life, or a possible tire explosion when traveling in hot weather.

On the contrary, if the wheel is too deflated, it is even more unsafe for the driver and passengers.

Because the wheel will create a large friction force with the road surface, causing deformation of the tire surface, it may be distorted, bulging, or concave in or unevenly worn, leading to reduced service life and power output.

Under-inflated tires also cause fuel consumption when operating a car.

4, Wheel Alignment is The Wrong Size

If your wheels are not correctly aligned, it will prevent all four wheels from turning in the same direction, making it harder to grip the road.

This is another cause of the wheel hop issues in FWD and RWD cars.

Does Tire Hop Only Happen With FWD Cars?

Besides FWD wheel hop, we can still see wheel hop in RWD or AWD.

However, RWD cars are the most common tire hop vehicles compared to others because rear-wheel-driven RWD cars are inherently more prone to traction control problems.

But you can’t ignore the wheel hop problem in an FWD (front-wheel drive pulls) vehicle.

Front-Wheel-Drive Cars are made to respond to the economics of more users, so the front normal suspension setup components can barely withstand the strong launch force generated by the tuned engine.

How To Fix Wheel Hop?

How To Fix Wheel Hop?

How to stop wheel hop FWD? Or, How to stop wheel hop RWD? These are two questions that a large number of readers are interested in.

However, whether it is an FWD or RWD car, the following four actions must be followed to minimize tire hop:

1, Replace Damaged Parts in The Suspension

The suspension keeps the tire’s contact with the ground smooth. Therefore, If any part of this system is damaged, you need to replace it immediately.

Thoroughly check all the various components of the suspension system and replace them as needed: shock absorbers, cylinder rotors, joysticks, stabilizer rods, springs, etc.

This should be done regularly after changing your car’s oil periodically.

If you are not very knowledgeable about car repair, the best way is to bring the car to the nearest repair dealer to have the suspension checked.

2, Check Tire Wear And Replace When Necessary

Vehicle owners should regularly monitor and replace new tires when the tread (groove) on the tire is worn to about 1.6mm.

Some car tires will have a built-in wear level gauge for car owners to check for wear, which is the small rubber part between the grooves in the tire.

When the treads wear down to this rubber, the car owner must replace the new tire immediately.

3, Inflate The Tire Properly

Your tires must be inflated correctly to avoid wheel hop FWD or wheel hop RWD.

Avoid the phenomenon that the tire is too flat or inflated; it will be easy to tear the tire, and moving will cause a bouncing sensation.

Suppose the car owner uses a mini car pump or other specialized pump accessories at home. In that case, the following steps can be followed to pump the car properly:

  • Step 1: Place the car pump attachment in a fixed and well-ventilated position. The pumper needs to stand in line with the tire at a distance of 3m to avoid the risk of over-inflating the car and to cause an explosion.
  • Step 2: Pre-inflate to a tire pressure of about 1.5kgf/cm2 and check the tires. If any tear, deformation, or damage is suspected, remove the tire and take it to a garage or service center to have it checked by a qualified person.
  • Step 3: Pump to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure on the tire. A mini car pump with a meter can be used to protect the tire and maintain the tire pressure.

4, Align The Wheel Properly

Improper wheel alignment can cause wheel jumps or uneven tire wear. Two ways to align the wheel are often used quite a lot:

Align with a ruler: Start the engine and hit the steering wheel to the center, let the car go straight for a while, and then stop.

You put the edge of the ruler on the wheel spikes, about 2-3 cm from the bottom of the car (depending on any spike, but the front and back of the wheel must have the same spike).

Measure the distance before and after the wheel if the difference between 0-2.5mm is suitable.

If that threshold is exceeded, we need to recalibrate by loosening the steering wheel nut to adjust. We prefer a 13 or 14-wrench, depending on the vehicle type.

Align by string: To keep the car stationary, start the engine to hit the steering wheel so that the car is in the middle position going straight.

Tie the string to the back of the car, and pull the string from the rear tire to the front tire. The string is located at 2/3 from the ground up to half of the wheel.

Look at the front wheel; if the front wheel touches the string, you must adjust the steering wheel to the right, and vice versa.

If the rear axle touches the string, adjust the wheel to the left (calculated according to the car’s direction).


1, Is Wheel Hop RWD More Dangerous Than Wheel Hop FWD?

No, it is tough to determine which is more dangerous in RWD and FWD because most are not inherently dangerous to your car.

Especially nowadays, cars are designed very modernly to protect the driver in case of accidents.

2, Will Wheel Hop Damage My Car?

Yes, wheel hopping can cause damage to your vehicle if left on for too long.

The rapid loss and recovery of traction put a lot of stress on the axle, so if wheel hop is detected, you should intervene immediately.

3, Can I Fix Wheel Hop By Myself?

You can fix some of the basics of a tire car yourself, like inflating the wheels and aligning them properly.

But you should bring the vehicle to a car repair agent for more complex problems with the repair or tire change.


What is wheel hop? It can cause wheel vibrations, sudden vibrations in the seats, steering wheel, or floorboards.

It can even drive the vehicle to skid in severe traffic situations. Realizing the dangerous nature of this, you should regularly check your tires and suspension to ensure your vehicle is free of any defects.

If you don’t know much about cars, find a good repairer to fix your car’s problems.

Hope our article will enrich your driving experience!

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