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What is Understeer?

Understeer defined

Those of you who enjoy driving a car through the winding parts of a road to see how good a car’s roadholding feels will probably know first-hand what the experience of understeer and oversteer can feel like. Oversteer is a steering and handling characteristic in which the vehicle follows a curve with a radius that is smaller than the position the front wheels indicate the car should be travelling in. The vehicle ends up turning more sharply than the operator would expect. This is not always a nice feeling, particularly if you are entering a corner quickly. This is opposite to understeer where the vehicle ends up turning less sharply than the operator would expect in negotiating a bend in the road. The feeling of understeer is equally unpleasant but can be corrected quite easily by easing of the accelerator and reducing the car’s velocity. The nose of the car will then turn into the bend at a sharper angle.

Understeer is a result of a vehicle’s cornering characteristic in which the tyres at the front develop more slip angle than those at the rear, causing the car’s front to run wide on a corner.

Of course, the most desirable handling characteristics for a car to have is to be neutral, where there is no sign of understeer or oversteer. There is nothing more enjoyable than throwing a car into corners at speed and knowing that there will be no nasty surprises while doing so.We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is Understeer?’!

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