Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

What is oversteer?

Definition of Oversteer

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines understeer and oversteer as deviation from a constant-radius path at a constant speed with a constant steering wheel angle. So, in an oversteer situation, the rear tires will begin to lose grip before the front tires. In other words, the vehicle experiences more slip from the rear when turning than the driver intended because the rear tires are losing grip on the road.

Example of how you might experience oversteer

You travel at an appropriate speed and turn your

vehicle to the right to take a right turn. The front tires grip the


In oversteer, the rear tires lose grip before the front tires and the rear breaks away and literally twists the vehicle around the turn from the rear

road but the rear tires lose their grip. As that happens, the rear of the vehicle continues in a straight patch while the front tires continue to turn. In other words, you’ll see the rear end of the vehicle twist the vehicle around. This generally happens more on FWD cars, especially if you add acceleration during the turn.

What causes oversteer and loss of grip

FWD vehicles wear out the front tires faster than the rear. Front tire tread depth of 4/32” or less will cause the front tires to lose road grip before the rear tires. FWD vehicles typically wear the front tires twice as fast as the rear tires. If you don’t rotate your tires at the proper intervals, you’re wear out the two front tires twice as fast as the rear tires.

However, all wheel drive (AWD) vehicles wear out all four tires faster than the same tires on a FWD vehicle. Rear wheel drive (RWD) and part-time four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles tend to wear out the rear tires first.

• Water on the road that causes the tires to hydroplane. If the rear tires have less grip than the front tires, they’ll slip and the rear of the vehicle will oversteer the front tires, causing the rear end to spin out. .

• Oversteer happens when you enter a turn with too much speed, causing the rear tires to lose grip

• Oversteer happens when you brake hard while turning, locking the front wheels. If the rear tires have lower tread depth than the front tires, the rear will break lose and slip

How to correct understeer

•Reduce turning radius at steering wheel

• Ease off the throttle

©, 2018 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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