Are Steering Wheel Knobs Illegal?

A steering wheel knob is a device attached to a vehicle’s steering wheel to enhance the ease of turning the wheel. As the name implies, it is shaped exactly like a doorknob.

Several vehicle enthusiasts have argued for and against the use of steering knobs. If you conduct a quick search online about the legality/illegality of using steering wheel knobs, many blogs may claim they’re illegal. Well, this is one of those many “car myths” on the internet.

Because you don’t see much of it anymore, you may be wondering, “Are steering wheel knobs illegal?” Why are most companies against having steering knobs on their trucks? I’ll be answering these and other related questions in this article.

Are Steering Wheel Knobs Illegal

Are Steering Wheel Knobs Illegal?

No. Steering wheel knobs are NOT illegal. However, many companies intentionally want to avoid the device installed on the steering wheel of their trucks.

Steering knobs are mostly found on the wheels of heavy-duty trucks. They’re usually attached to heavy vehicles that do not come with a power steering system. The absence of a power steering system makes the wheel heavy with slow responses, thereby requiring hand-over-hand turning. 

So, the steering knob is intended to enable the driver to crank the vehicle’s steering wheel for swifter turns. Other common names for a steering wheel knob are “suicide” knob, spinner knob, brodie knob, etc. Most steering wheel knobs are made of metal, rubber, and plastic.

However, today, most modern vehicles are fitted with power steering systems. In other words, you wouldn’t need to install a steering knob for the ease of turning the wheel. So, if you were asking, “Are steering wheel knobs illegal in Florida?” The simple answer is NO!

You may be wondering, “What state are steering wheel knobs illegal?” Well, the spinner knob is not illegal in many states in the U.S. However, ensure to find out whether or not your state law permits the use of a wheel spinner knob.

What Are The Different Types Of Steering Wheel Knobs?

Some of the common types of steering wheel knobs include V-grip knobs, tri-spin knobs, as well as Type R and Type S knobs.

V-grip knobs

As the name implies, a V-grip knob is designed to enable you grip your steering wheel effectively. The knob is coated with foam or rubber, which ensures that you don’t sustain any injury on your palm while driving. This knob allows you to hold your car steering more steadily. Thanks to its bracket.

Tri-spin knobs

Tri-spin knobs are built with three handles, which enhances convenience. Like V-grip knobs, the foam fitted on the handles ensures maximum comfort and firm grip.

Type R and Type S knobs

Type R and Type S knobs are stylishly designed with aluminum. They’re also easy and comfortable to hold. Thanks to the fantastic round shape design.

steering wheel spinner knob

What Are The Benefits Of Using Steering Wheel Knobs?

No doubt, many vehicle enthusiasts argue for and against using steering wheel knobs. However, using the device has some pros and cons. Here are a few benefits of using steering wheel knobs.

Ease of turning the steering wheel

Generally, steering wheel knobs enhance the ease of turning your car’s steering wheel. This is mostly for vehicles that do not come with a power steering system.

Better control of the steering wheel

Due to the firm grip that the steering wheel knob offers, a driver can have maximum control of the vehicle. Some drivers have averted an imminent accident just by slightly navigating the steering wheel with the knob.

Ease of driving for disabled people

The steering wheel knob lets a driver hold the steering wheel with one hand, making the driving process seamless. Therefore, disabled individuals, especially one-handed drivers, can find ease and comfort when using steering wheel knobs.

Beautification of the steering wheel

Although this is not a very significant benefit, some steering wheel knobs are stylishly designed, thereby adding beauty to the wheel. Attaching the wheel spinner knob can give your vehicle’s steering wheel a fanciful look.

What Are The Risks Of Using Steering Wheel Knobs?

Inasmuch as using a steering wheel knob offers a couple of benefits, it also has its share of disadvantages. So, if you’re asking, “Are steering wheel knobs dangerous?” Yes, they could be. Here are some of the risks associated with using steering wheel knobs.

Unexpected loss of control

Although using a steering wheel knob enhances steering grip and control with ease, the flip side can be dangerous. Due to the design, a driver’s sleeve or hand jewelry could get trapped by the knob when making a turn. This can result in loss of control and end up in an unexpected accident.

Overconfidence and distractions

Most users feel overconfident when handling their vehicle’s steering wheel with the knob; hence, they can fix one hand on the knob and play around with the other. Some drivers even engage in romantic exercises with their partner when driving due to the ability to control the steering with one hand. This can result in a serious distraction that leads to an accident.

The severity of road crashes

Steering wheel knobs are designed to protrude a little bit from the normal position of the wheel. Therefore, when an accident occurs and the driver is pushed forward against the steering wheel, the knob can intensify the injury. No wonder it’s fondly called “suicide knob.”

Due to the risks that the steering wheel spinner knob poses, you may be wondering, “Are steering wheel knobs illegal in Texas?” They’re not illegal in Texas. If you’re also contemplating, “Are steering wheel knobs illegal in Minnesota, Michigan, or Wisconsin?” The answer is NO!

Can A Steering Wheel Knob Cause MOT Failure?

Yes, using steering wheel knobs can cause an MOT failure, even though they’re not illegal. Why? Most steering wheel knobs end up damaging the steering wheel rim in the long run. When this occurs, you’ll most likely fail your next MOT test.

Besides the dangers of using steering wheel knobs, most companies frown at using them on their trucks for this reason. So, if you’re asking, “Are steering wheel knobs illegal on commercial vehicles?” They may not be illegal, but some companies do not permit using them.

Are Steering Wheel Knobs Worth It?

Using a wheel spinner knob has a couple of pros and cons. However, it’s up to you whether or not you want the device on your car’s steering wheel. Undoubtedly, a steering knob enhances control; but it can also result in unexpected loss of control if your hand, cloth, or jewelry mistakenly gets trapped.

Additionally, I’d advise that you carefully examine your state laws. This will enable you to know whether using a steering wheel knob is permitted or not.

Final Words

The steering wheel knob was invented in 1936 by Joel R. Thorp. Since then, it has become very popular in the automotive industry. However, it is gradually going into extinction, as most modern vehicles now use power steering systems.

If you were contemplating, “Are steering wheel knobs illegal?” Of course, they’re not illegal. But I’d advise you to carefully consider the pros and cons above before installing the device on your vehicle.

If you drive a modern vehicle with a power steering system, I don’t think you need a steering wheel spinner knob. Conversely, if you drive an older vehicle with poor steering response, buying a steering wheel knob depends on you.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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