7 minutes | Dec 8th 2020

Episode 160 - Understeer vs. Oversteer

Understeer and Oversteer are terms used to explain vehicle characteristics, and they are important signals transmitted to you by the vehicle, it is how the vehicle communicates to you. It is the vehicle’s way of telling you what you should do next. In a nutshell, understeer and oversteer are the interrelationships of the front and rear ends of the car. If you drove around a corner or made an emergency maneuver that created 3200 lbs pushing on the CG of your vehicle – in the perfect world your tires would be pushing back 1600 lbs. front and rear. This would be called neutral steering, and it is a characteristic seldom found in vehicles. But what happens most often is that the vehicle will either oversteer or understeer. Understeer is the condition where the front tires lose adhesion while the rear tires remain in contact with the pavement. The car tends to travel straight ahead, even though you are turning the wheel. In an understeering condition turning the steering wheel more won’t work and will aggravate the scenario. To fix it, reduce speed, and reduce the amount of the steering wheel is turned. You can correct understeer by reducing throttle until the front tires regain adhesion. Oversteer is the condition where your rear tires lose adhesion while your front tires remain in contact with the pavement. The back end of your car tends to slide out. Turning the steering wheel more will make things worse. To fix oversteer reduce speed and turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the skid.
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