The term understeer is applied to the handling of early Aussie cars. However, many drivers still worry about whether the new Skoda Fabia will have a problem with understeer. While the handling of the complete Skoda Fabia 2019 range is excellent, we’ll explore the concept of understeer in a little more detail here, so you can appreciate whether your Skoda has developed an issue.
The Understeer Basics
In simple terms, understeer is when a vehicle wants to travel in a more or less straight line rather than steering into the corner. In more technical terms, the mass and/ or drive of the vehicle overpowers the ability of the front wheels to initiate and continue a turn.
In worst case scenarios, the more steering lock or effort induces greater tyre squealing without actually changing the approach angle to the corner. In this situation, you may find the steering feels very light through your wheel.
Why Understeer Occurs
There are a number of reasons why a vehicle may be prone to understeer. A car with a significant front weight bias is more notorious as a lead tip arrow. However, a car with insufficient front end weight or grip can also be vulnerable to understeer due to a loss of front end grip. Even sports cars with rear end bias like the Porsche 911 can surprise drivers when they fail to turn in when the driver pulls on the wheel.
Front driven cars tend to have a significant front bias due to weight distribution and not having the capability to provide both drive and steering. So, in the past, front drive vehicles had a reputation for being prone to understeer.
Fortunately, many modern vehicles including the Skoda Fabia have been designed to reduce the risks of understeer. Vehicles can be tuned to provide a neutral grip to avoid understeer and oversteer situations.
If you are experiencing understeer in your Skoda Fabia, it is like to be due to trying to push your vehicle through corners rather than taking a proper line. In a front wheel drive car like the Fabia, using too much throttle when you’re turning the wheel, particularly on wet or greasy road conditions, the front end of the vehicle will be pushed wide. You can remedy this by easing off the throttle, and this will allow the front tyres to regain grip.
In most cases, understeer is caused by hitting the brakes too late when entering a corner. Not fully appreciating the road holding limits of your vehicle may mean that you brake harder than necessary and upset your vehicle balance.
Understeer can also be caused by suspension issues, so if your Skoda feels “tight,” it may be time to book a service to have your vehicle checked by an experienced technician.