Oversteer, A Short Explanation

Here’s the thing

There are a lot of car words and terminology thrown around, and there are a lot of people that don’t know what they mean, or entirely what they mean, so here is this weeks entry of, A Short Explanation.

Oversteer, what is it? Well, the simply and short explanation is, it is when you steer the vehicle a certain direction, and it steers more into that direction then you intended, as depicted in this picture.

500px-Oversteer-right-hand-drive.svg

Courtesy of wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understeer_and_oversteer

The green line represents where the driver wanted to go, and the red line depicted where the car wanted to go, due to oversteer.

What contributes to oversteer? Drivingfast.net put’s it simply.

Oversteer occurs when the rear tyres reach the limit of adhesion in a corner before the front

Now, how can things like your car beginning to spin out in that way happen? Well, the biggest factors, are always going into a turn way too fast. Other things like your engine layout, suspension, and, your weight distribution of your vehicle plays a big part as well.

So, if you are starting to oversteer your vehicle, what is going to happen is pretty much what you see in the picture there, you’ll feel the rear end starting to pop out and your front end will be looking at the inside of the road. Pretty scary image to have when there are other cars coming at you, which is why it is important to understand the limits of your vehicle, and yourself.

The things not to do if you are experiencing oversteer are to completely come off the throttle, or smash your brakes, both are going to lead to very unfortunate outcomes. The main rule of thumb is to counter-steer, or apply opposite lock, which is turn the wheel the opposite way you are spinning out, but there has to be a medium, too much, you’ll spin in the opposite direction, too little, and you’ll continue to spin in your current direction.

With Rear-Wheeled Drive vehicles, you need to do things like easing off the throttle, and easing into the brakes, a combination of that along with counter steering (or applying opposite-lock), and you should come out of it fine. With Front-Wheeled Drive vehicles, you can usually come out of the spin with applying some more throttle and counter steering, since the power comes from the front, not the back. The absolute most important thing to remember, is make sure that when you are in a spin, controlled or otherwise, put your eyes where you want to go, not where you don’t. Otherwise, you end up like this guy.

And that’s the thing about Oversteering, a short explanation.

-Jeremy

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