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Known as a Brodie knob, suicide spinner, knuckle buster, or wheel spinner, a universal steering wheel knob is a great add-on that offers an easy way to drive with a single hand safely. Common on machines like John Deere tractors, this device is a useful driving aid if you make a lot of turns in a vehicle, even one with modern day power steering. Read on to learn about the best steering wheel knobs on the market.
Why Buy a Steering Wheel Knob?
- Use only one arm. It is very challenging to maneuver a vehicle with a single arm using a car steering wheel. A steering knob is a tool that enables you to keep a hold of the wheel and move in a smooth motion with less stress with the right or left hand. The large, gear shift like knob offers plenty of surface space.
- Drive with a physical disability or health issue. Some health problems, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, tendonitis, or nerve damage, may make seemingly simple tasks difficult to perform. Steering wheel knobs can improve your hand control and quality of life by making driving easier since you can move the wheel with less strength.
- Maneuver a vehicle in small spaces. One of the only times where driving gets problematic, it’s challenging to move a car or truck around a parking lot or other areas with limited space. A steering wheel assist knob makes the job less difficult by turning the wheel more quickly with a single hand than with two.
- Drive on narrow, unpaved roads. Steering knobs make it simpler to make U-turns on single-lane or gravel roads. They’re also a great aid on country roads where steering may be strenuous.
- Back up larger vehicles. Sticking your fingers through the spokes of a steering wheel can be uncomfortable, especially if you routinely drive a large truck. A steering wheel knob can help you avoid sore digits by keeping your hand in front of the wheel at all times.
Types of Steering Wheel Knobs
Traditional Steering Wheel Knobs
These knobs are generally round or oval in shape and are meant to be gripped by the hand as if holding a ball. Some are even rectangular in shape and are easy to grip like a joystick.
Low-Profile, Flat Knobs
This type of steering wheel knob lies flat against the wheel and moves using the palm of the hand. These knobs don’t jut out as much as others and are maneuvered in a slightly different way than traditional knobs due to their size and shape.
United Pacific Industries
United Pacific has been in operation for over 30 years and designs, manufactures, and supplies automotive products to owners of heavy-duty trucks and classic cars. Its aim is to provide customers with excellent performance and good value. One of their novelty knobs is the Hot Rod Chrome Billet Gun Barrel Steering Wheel Spinner.
RoadPro has nearly 50 years of experience creating products, including truck and auto supplies, that are meant to keep consumers safe and comfortable while on the road. RoadPro Brands is a division of DAS Companies, Inc. and got its start by designing quality CB accessories. One of its most popular products is the RoadPro RP-70100 Chrome Steering Wheel Spinner Knob.
- Under $10: Steering wheel knobs that fall into this price range are often low-quality and less durable than those that cost just a few dollars more.
- $11 to $20: You can find a variety of knobs on the market in this price range for sedans, SUVs, trucks, tractors, and boats.
- Over $20: A select few knobs are pricier, often because they have better materials or special designs that make them more visually appealing.
Depending on the type of knob you choose, installation can take seconds or several minutes. Some require some adjustment to ensure that they don’t slip on the steering wheel, which can be dangerous if you’re driving when it happens. Other knobs have a snap-on design and/or adhesive tape that doesn’t require screws or tools for easy installation.
- Finish: Knob spinners are made of a variety of high-quality materials, including stainless steel, plastic, and glass. It’s important you choose one that is appropriate for your vehicle and comfortable in your hand. Metal, for example, may get hot in the sun. Plastic may not be as comfortable as other materials. Spinner wheel knobs with logos may also wear over time.
- Fit: Make sure the knob fits onto the wheel. Some knobs work better with softer wheel surfaces. There are also knobs that are geared towards steering wheels with a thicker- and wider-than-average build. These feature bigger clamps. Not all knobs are one size fits all. Importantly, the fit shouldn’t interfere with the airbag in the car steering wheel.
Best Steering Wheel Knobs Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Steering Wheel Knob Overall: AutoMuko Silicone Power Handle
The AutoMuko Silicone Power Handle is compatible with most sedans, trucks, sport-utility vehicles, and vans. The knob is made of sturdy, durable ABS plastic and silicone for prolonged use. It takes just seconds to set up, and no tools are required for its three-step installation process.
The snap-on design makes installation very simple with no screws required. The knob itself has a low profile that’s flatter than some other products on the market, so you’re less likely to hit your wrist on the knob when turning the wheel. The surface feels more like leather than hard plastic. Since it takes seconds to change its position, it’s less likely to leave a permanent mark on modern steering wheels.
It may be difficult using the knob on an older vehicle without a padded steering wheel. The spinner head can also pop off the handle after several months of use or during bumpy driving conditions. Because it has a low profile, it sometimes may be hard to hold, and the fingers may become entangled in the steering wheel.
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Best Value Steering Wheel Knob: BL-G Silicon Power Handle
The BL-G Silicon Power Handle, made of silicon and metal, is simple to install and can fit on most standard steering wheels. The knob includes pads, to prevent an indentation from forming on the steering wheel, and two rubber inserts of different thicknesses for tight mounting.
The knob is sturdy, has a really nice grip, and is comfortable to use. The bearings inside move smoothly, making operation effortless. The product includes several washers to make the attachment clamp compatible with steering wheels in various types of vehicles.
One downside is the knob can be difficult to mount tightly onto the wheel. The locking mechanism uses a Phillips screw, which may not get the mount tight enough to secure the knob to the wheel. The logo and color may eventually fade or peel off as well. Finally, the instructions are in a foreign language, but they include graphics that demonstrate how to install the device.
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Best Steering Wheel Knob Honorable Mention: United Pacific 70108 Wheel Spinner
This aluminum, heavy-duty knob is geared towards those who drive larger vehicles. It features zinc-plated brackets and sealed-in ball bearings underneath the aluminum, waterproof knob. It also has a tall shaft that enables you to control the spinner with precision. There are no plastic parts.
The knob attaches to the middle of the wheel instead of on the side, resulting in a full and smooth range of movement. It’s easy to control in tight spots: The knob swivels freely, and the rotation is smooth. The smooth movements also make shifting a manual transmission while turning the wheel very easy.
You may need to substitute longer attachment bolts if you have a thick steering wheel. You may also need to modify the mounting clamp to fit since the mounting plate has two “wings” that may present a challenge during installation.
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Tips & Advice for Steering Wheel Knobs
- Carefully select the spot where you mount the knob onto the steering wheel. If you put it on the top, it may bump into your wrist when you turn the wheel. The sides are better, but the bottom may be best if you have a severe handicap.
- Test drive your vehicle with the knob after installation to make sure it’s tight enough so it won’t slip on the wheel while you’re driving in traffic.
- Practice using the knob in a parking lot or secluded area so you can get comfortable using it on the wheel.
- Adjust your seat to a practical length from the steering wheel so you can complete a 360-degree turn without elbowing yourself in the stomach.
Q: Are they hard to remove or reposition?
A: Installation varies depending on the type of knob you purchase. Some manufacturers require screws for their products, while others use a simpler snap-on attachment.
Q: Can I use a knob on a leather steering wheel?
A: Some spinner knobs are better for leather steering wheels than others. Some include protective pads that prevent the steering wheel from getting scratched or dented.
Q: Are they illegal in certain states?
A: The name “suicide knob” might make it sound like it’s against the law to use steering wheel knobs. None of the 50 states, however, have statutes that ban their use. A few states even require handicapped individuals to use a steering aid of some type. Some vehicles that transport particular materials, however, are not allowed to use steering wheel knobs.
Our top pick for the best steering wheel knob is the AutoMuko Silicone Power Handle. It can be used in most cars, trucks, and other vehicles. The knob is comfortable for extended periods of time and easy to install.
If you’re looking for something less pricey, consider the BL-G Silicon Power Handle instead.
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