What is “Understeer” and “Oversteer”?

You have almost certainly have experienced “understeer” and or “oversteer” at one point in your driving career with out even knowing it.

We will explain to you the differences between understeer and oversteer and how you can prevent both.

You have almost certainly have experienced “understeer” and or “oversteer” at one point in your driving career with out even knowing it.

 

We will explain to you the differences between understeer and oversteer and how you can prevent both.

Let’s start with understeer.

What is Understeer?

  • Understeer causes a vehicles front tires to lose grip, sending the vehicle in a straighter than desired line.

What Causes Understeer?

  • Hard braking and excessive speed is what causes understeer to occur Understeer is most common in FWD cars because the front wheels have to turn and accelerate at the same time.

 

What shouldn’t I do when I understeer?

  • Do not fight understeer by increasing steering lock because this will increase your slip angle. Increasing your slip angle makes your tires contact patch smaller, causing the front tires to lose more traction.

  • Do not lift off the gas. Lifting off the gas can transfer the weight of your vehicle to the front which can make your vehicle spin on it’s front axis. This is also known as “Lift-off oversteer”.

What should I do If I understeer?

  • The two main ways you can fix understeer is by reducing steering lock and easing off the throttle to allow the front wheels to gain traction Now onto Oversteer.

 

What is Oversteer?

  • Oversteer happens when the rear wheels lose grip and your vehicle rotates on it’s axis.

What Causes Oversteer?

  • Going into a corner with too much throttle, which causes the rear tires to lose traction and slide

  • Firm rear suspension can also cause the tail of a vehicle to kick out

  • Shifting to a gear that too low at high speeds. This can cause the rear wheels to lock because the selected gear can not power the rear wheels fast enough.

What should I Do When I Oversteer?

  • Countersteer into the skid

  • Slowly release the throttle so you can regain traction safely

The two best way to ensure you do not understeer or oversteer is to reduce your speed when going into turns, and equipping your vehicle with good quality tires.