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I drive a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS (front-wheel drive vehicle).

Periodically, during left-hand curves at highway speeds, my car will suddenly begin turning tighter than I'm asking it to. It's difficult to describe the feeling, and I'm not great with the terminology, so I use the word "oversteer."

Everything will be normal until the conditions are just right--sharp enough and fast enough. Then, without warning, my car will behave as if I suddenly tried to turn tighter.

It does not happen when I am turning right.

In case it matters: The last time I had my wheels balanced I was told that the ball joint on my right-front wheel was a little loose, and that it wasn't anything to be extremely concerned about, but that it might cause my tires to wear slightly unevenly.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You may be experiencing torque steer.

Since you have Front Wheel Drive (FWD) your drive wheels and your steering wheels are the same.

Sometimes under load if traction is uneven (such as in a corner your car is shifting its weight to one side and so will have more traction on the left or right tires) the power being sent to the wheels can become uneven, causing one to try to go faster than the other.

Causes for "oversteer" would be an increase in traction to BOTH front tires. This would be caused by the transfer of weight from back to front either by letting off the throttle or applying the brakes.

If you are braking in the corner you shouldn't be, you want to brake before the corner, reducing your speed to what you want to carry through the corner, releasing before you turn into the corner. Release the brake pedal smoothly, not all at once, otherwise you will be throwing your weight to the back, causing understeer.

If you are coming off the throttle in the corner, the same advice as above essentially applies, come down to the speed you want before starting the turn, keep a neutral throttle (not accelerating or decelerating through the corner), then apply throttle on exit once your steering is reaching center again.

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Upvote because I learned a little bit about steering into a corner –  Robbie Jul 21 '11 at 20:38
    
Good point about the lift-off oversteer. :) Maybe it's worth mentioning that the uneven lenght of the drive shafts are also part of the 'problem'. Torque steer will force your steering wheel to the side with the shortest drive shaft. That'll almost always be the left-side. On a FWD car the left driveshaft is shorter because the gearbox with the differential is often on the left side of the engine. –  Alex Jul 22 '11 at 11:46
1  
@Alex - certainly not in the UK. Here it will usually be the opposite. Same goes for a few other countries. –  Rory Alsop Jul 22 '11 at 12:13
    
I don't have a better answer, and it seems that no one else does either. I'm not entirely certain that it's the way I'm driving, as I've been driving the same car for 7 years (but only recently experiencing problems), but who knows! –  antoinne85 Jul 31 '11 at 17:47

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