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I drive a 2001 Renault Clio 1.4 16v. It was bought second hand in 2006 and it came with aftermarket 14" rims. About a month ago I had to replace my tires, and the guy from the shop just happened to have a set of used stock 15" rims from a Clio 1.5dci, and so I decided to replace both tires and rims. Ever since then, I've been noticing the strange behavior in the steering at high speed. Going on the highway at about 140/150Kmh during the more pronounced turns, sometimes the car turns more than it should. I start turning the steering wheel and everything is fine, then while holding the steering wheel in place, just for a split second, it's like the front of the car is being pulled to the side I'm turning, and then, still without moving the steering wheel, it goes back to normal.

Some additional info:

  • The front tires are Michelin but the rear ones are from a crappy Chinese brand called PACE
  • The car feels a bit bouncy on the highway
  • Driving in the city the car handles perfectly at any speed
  • I'll probably replace the rear crappy tires before winter as they are awful when it rains

Any thoughts on what could be causing this "oversteering"?

Solution: Changing the crappy tires to brand new Michelins fixed the steering problems.

  • 1. In the UK, big wheels on the front is illegal. I once bought an old (front wheel drive) fiesta and didn't notice. They told me at inspection that the larger wheels would have to go on the back. It may be different in Portugal 2. You're not getting oversteer under power like you would in a rear wheel drive car, you're getting it at arbitrary times. Get it fixed. The back end of my car kicked out on the motorway at 100km/h, and I skidded sideways along the highway several seconds before hitting the grass verge, which set the car spinning. The car was (surprisingly) driveable but a write off. – Level River St Aug 14 '15 at 13:53
  • @steveverrill1 these new rims are legal and only have a wider tires, the overall diameter is the same as before. – Davide Aug 14 '15 at 15:54
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from what you've said it sounds like an issue with the rear tyres, mismatching different makes of tyre's can throw the handling out as they all have different tread patterns (even more noticable in the rain because they aqua plane differently)

couple of other things to check would be -

  • Check all the wheels have been balanced properly
  • check all the tyres are the same size
  • check the actual wheels you bought fit your car, the offset or center bore might be slightly off
  • make sure the wheel/tyre isnt catching on anything such as the inside wall, suspension strut, etc

I used to work in a garage and these where the most common fixes, after that it started going into things like suspension issues, bent bottom arms, trackrod ends, etc

  • The wheels seem balanced as the car no longer shakes at higher speeds as it did before. The specs on the tires are the same 185/55/r15, but maybe I should measure. The wheels are stock renault and actually fit much better then the old ones. I guess I'll have to replace the rear tires to be sure, but right now I'm leaning more to either tires or perhaps busted shock absorbers – Davide Aug 14 '15 at 16:04
  • if getting the rear tyres replaced doesn't make a difference then try checking your power steering fluid level (if it has power steering) and if that all seems fine then maybe look into changing your bottom arms, the bushes on them might be completely worn out – scriptss Aug 19 '15 at 16:00
  • It has electric power steering. The first thing I'll be checking is tire pressure. A friend told me tires shops tend to overfill tires quite a bit and it could be reducing grip on the rear – Davide Aug 19 '15 at 16:02
  • anything between 28-34 psi is considered fine with the majority of 15" – scriptss Aug 19 '15 at 16:03
  • The car manual says it should be 2.2 bar (aprox. 32psi) on the front and 2.0 bar (aprox 28psi) on the rear. Should it be ok to have something like 28psi on the front and 34psi on the rear? would that have a noticeable impact on drive-ability? – Davide Aug 19 '15 at 16:08
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Depending on how well you know the feeling, the symptoms sound like they could just be a brief slip into oversteer:

As the back end loses traction (which could be the case based on your description of the tyres) the car will feel like it is suddenly turning too much into the corner.

Normally, however, once you lose the back end, it doesn't come back by itself - I don't know whether that model of Clio has intelligent traction control that can sort out an unplanned oversteer, but I guess not.

  • If the rear was slipping, I don't think it would all happen so fast... But it could be that the much better tires in front, acceleration and fwd "fix" the oversteer almost instantly – Davide Aug 14 '15 at 15:57
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Once u replace the rears it might be worth getting the tracking done. After that it could be a problem with power steering as might be itermitent fault with servo.

  • I don't know what "getting the tracking done" means... Could you please explain? – Davide Aug 16 '15 at 13:46

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