For those who don't know, when a NASCAR driver reports he has a vibration, in most cases it probably means the wheel isn't tight.
A vibration isn't always a loose wheel, however. Sometimes, a driver gets a vibration if one of the tires is starting to wear or may have a flat spot. It hasn't quite been an issue for the tire on the Next Gen car. Most times, these cars only get cut tires if they suffered a puncture or spun out.
As for a loose-wheel issue, that seems to be an epidemic with the Next Gen car and its single lug nut. On most race days, you see an issue with a loose wheel more often than a cut tire.
Denny Hamlin offered an answer to the question of what is the difference between a loose wheel and a tire going down. In a post on Twitter by his Joe Gibbs Racing team, Hamlin explained what the difference feels like.
How does a driver know the difference between a tire going down and a loose wheel? @dennyhamlin explains what causes both of these issues and what each feels like from the drivers point of view. #dennyhamlin #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/xRJKzot27K
— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) July 11, 2023
"A loose tire versus a tire going down is just a lot of shake in the wheel. If you have a loose wheel, essentially that mans you didn't get the lug nut all the way tight ... and it just starts hobbling. And what that does also reduces the grip of the car a ton because it is not a solid surface," Hamlin said. "They both are kind of detrimental, but you would probably rather have a loose wheel than a flat one because you are likely to hit a wall if it goes flat."
But if a loose wheel comes off the car, you are in for some trouble — because that means a suspension for some crew members, as former Cup crew chief Todd Gordon broke down in a video for "NASCAR's Inside the Race."
Hamlin and many other drivers have experience plenty of instances of this occurring since cars began using the single lug nut.
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