What Is Wheel Hop?

As you may or may not have noticed in the last video I posted about my Mark VII, I’ve got a little bit of an issue with wheel hop under certain conditions. Well, we thought it would be cool to take an up close and personal look at what is really going on back there.

Before we have a look at the video though, I’d like to quickly go over exactly what wheel hop really is.

Basically, wheel hop is a condition that occurs when, under heavy acceleration, your tires get a little bit too good of a grip on the road.

The fact is, most of the time, it’s easier to shift the rear end of the car forward then it is to shove the whole car forward, so that’s what happens. One side of the rear end gets pulled forward, the tire then loses its grip with the road due to an extreme toe-in condition (the wheel is no longer facing straight ahead, it is now, for the moment, angled toward the center of the car).

Of course, this is very bad for traction, and at that point, the tire loses its bite with the road and returns back to its normal position. Then the cycle repeats until you either let off the gas, gather enough speed to the point where your motor can’t overpower the wheel any longer, or you hit the gas even harder (if you were’t already flooring it for some reason) and intentionally smoke the tires to the point of complete traction loss.

Wheel hop can be brought on by a number of factors, including the basic design of your vehicle, the condition of all of your bushings and shocks, your tires, how much power you are making, your road surface, etc.

In my case, driving around with the air ride totally aired down is probably not doing me any favors (but it looks so much better!) because I certainly notice my wheel hop is worse the lower the car is. Not to mention the fact that my shocks are probably on their last legs due to my love for sitting so low. Oh well. I’m not too worried about it. Well, actually, I wasn’t worried about it, I should say. Not until I saw how terrifying it looks up close!

You see a little bit of it all throughout the video, but the big one occurs around the :48 mark:

This entry was posted in Curiosities and tagged , , , by Mike Ross. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike Ross

I love anything you can drive. But I love it even more if it has a small block Chevy or Ford motor, a turbo, four wheel drive, is a hatchback, or was made in the 80s. My ideal car would be a combination of all of these things, and I'm working on building a time machine so I can go back to the 80's and convince Chevy and Ford to collaborate on a twin-engine, single turbo 4x4 XR4Ti/Fox Mustang/Third Gen F-body and hide one in a mineshaft for me to recover in brand new condition. Look for a blog post about it just as soon as it happens. Or maybe it already did, and I've already posted about it in the future and the internet just needs to catch up with it. Okay, my head hurts, never mind.