Understeer and Oversteer: What's the Difference?

Have you ever been in a car when the back end swung around? How about when it seems like your front end won't turn? The first one is called oversteer, and the second one is called understeer. While either of these scenarios can happen in any kind of vehicle, some are more prone to understeer, and other vehicles are more prone to oversteer.

Understeer is when the front tires can't get good traction on the road. This is mostly in front-wheel drive vehicles. Since the power is in the front, your front tires spin and can't grip the road enough to turn the vehicle.

Oversteer happens mostly in rear-wheel drive vehicles. Since the power is in the back, the wheel can begin spinning faster than the front, causing the back end to slide in front. This is most often called fishtailing, and both understeer and oversteer most commonly happen in vehicles that have the engine power to quickly accelerate.

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