What causes rear end hop?

Answered by James Kissner

Rear end hop, also known as wheel hop, is a common issue in vehicles that can lead to handling problems and potential damage to the suspension system. There are several factors that can cause rear end hop, and one of the most significant contributors is bushing deflection within the suspension system.

Bushing deflection refers to the movement or flexing of the suspension bushings under load or when subjected to uneven surfaces. Suspension bushings are rubber or polyurethane components that connect various parts of the suspension system, such as control arms or sway bars, to the chassis of the vehicle. Their primary function is to provide cushioning and flexibility while maintaining stability and control.

However, when the suspension bushings become worn, damaged, or are of poor quality, they can deflect more than intended. This deflection can lead to a loss of traction between the tires and the road, causing the rear wheels to hop or bounce uncontrollably.

Another factor that can contribute to rear end hop is the choice of shock absorbers or dampers. Shocks are responsible for controlling the movement of the suspension and preventing excessive bouncing or bouncing. If the shocks are worn out or not properly matched to the vehicle’s weight and performance, they may not effectively control wheel hop.

Furthermore, the surface on which the vehicle is driven can also play a role in rear end hop. A surface with low traction, such as a slippery or uneven road, can exacerbate the problem by reducing the grip between the tires and the road. This lack of traction can cause the tires to lose contact with the road momentarily, resulting in wheel hop.

Lastly, rear end hop can be caused by an imbalance between the power output of the vehicle and the grip of the tires. If the vehicle has excessive power or torque, and the tires are not able to effectively transfer that power to the road, wheel hop may occur. This is especially common in high-performance vehicles or those that have been modified to increase power.

In my personal experience, I have encountered rear end hop in a modified sports car. The vehicle had aftermarket suspension components, including stiffer bushings, and a higher power output than the stock configuration. While the modifications improved the overall performance of the car, they also introduced rear end hop on certain road surfaces with low traction.

To address rear end hop, it is crucial to identify and rectify the underlying causes. This may involve replacing worn or damaged suspension bushings with higher quality ones, ensuring that the shocks are properly matched to the vehicle’s specifications, and considering the use of traction-enhancing tires or other modifications to improve grip.

Rear end hop is primarily caused by bushing deflection within the suspension system. Other contributing factors include the choice of shocks, the surface on which the vehicle is driven, and an imbalance between power and tire grip. Identifying and addressing these factors is essential to mitigate wheel hop and ensure safe and stable handling of the vehicle.