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What Is a Steering Wheel Knob?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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A steering wheel knob is a device that affixes to the steering wheel of an automobile or other vehicle. This knob can spin independently of the wheel, allowing a user to put his or her palm on the knob and spin the steering wheel quickly. In many parts of the world, the use of a steering wheel knob in street-legal automobiles is illegal, though the device can often be used on work vehicles, tractors, and heavy machinery. Using the knob allows a person steering a vehicle to make quick turns, which is especially handy if the vehicle is being operated in a tight or restrictive area.

Before the advent of power steering, the popularity of the steering wheel knob was much greater, though the knobs were never especially popular among motorists. They were often used in work trucks to help make quick steering easier on the non-power steering trucks, and they are still in use primarily on forklifts in warehouses. Forklift operators are likely to need to make several tight turns in a row, making the steering wheel knob a useful accessory for this application. Tractor trailer drivers may also use a knob on the wheel when trying to turn quickly.

The purpose of the steering wheel knob is to make turning the wheel with one hand easier and quicker. The user can place his or her palm on the knob and turn the wheel rapidly. In many countries throughout the world, this design is considered dangerous, and many countries have therefore made the use of such knobs illegal for use in automobiles driven on roads. For an extended period of time, these knobs were popular among street racers who wanted maneuverability through city streets. This activity is usually illegal. The knobs can, however, be used for machinery or vehicles that are driven on construction sites or other areas not considered public roads.

One of the applications in which the knob is considered legal is for handicapped persons. The knob can be used by a person with one arm to make steering of a vehicle easier; people with other disabilities may be able to use the knob as well, although certain clearances are usually necessary for the person to use the knob legally. The knob can be problematic for some drivers because it protrudes from the wheel, meaning a person is likely to encounter the obstruction during normal turning, or during emergency maneuvers.

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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By gravois — On Feb 04, 2012

I have steering wheel knob in my car just because I think it gives me better control on the roads. There are no steering wheel knob laws where I live so I am completely within my rights to use one.

When I am using a steering wheel knob I know that the wheel will not slip through my hands. I have arthritis and my grip is not always very strong. When I am using a steering wheel knob I can steer using my entire hand instead of having to squeeze the wheel.

By chivebasil — On Feb 04, 2012

I have a good friend that was born with only one hand. She can drive a car and drives very well but she is required by law to have a steering wheel knob on any car that she is driving. There is a actually a special designation on her drivers license requiring the knob.

What is funny is that for her it is required but in many other places it is illegal. The steering wheel knob is better known as the suicide knob. Its biggest function is to help people do tricks with their cars where they spin around wildly. It can be a huge danger on the roads so in many places they are illegal.

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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