I saw an old Top Gear episode, and I think it was Jeremy who said something along the lines of

The torque steer is terrible

What is torque steer though?

Is it a bad thing?

Why does it happen?

Why do some cars have worse torque steer than others? They were testing a Ford Fiesta ST...


Torque steer is where a front wheel drive car pulls to the left or right under hard acceleration. This is relatively common in older front wheel drive cars, but as it is negligible in low powered cars it was not an issue. The problem comes when you have a high powered engine and all of a sudden torque steer can be rather spectacular.

It is caused by one half shaft being shorter, and at a different angle to the other, on a transverse-engined car. The fix is to ensure the half shafts are identical. See these two pictures from aa1car.com.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Unequal length halfshafts lead to inherent torque steering. For the sake of completeness, it's worth mentioning that all cars can experience torque steer when left and right wheels experience different traction.
    – Hari Ganti
    Mar 14 '17 at 23:01
  • In the unequally-sized diagram, which way would the car try to steer under high torque? (assuming its in forward, and say forward is up in the diagram) Dec 1 '20 at 11:27

Torque steer is a piece of automotive lingo that gets thrown around a lot, particularly with petrolheads who are discussing the many intricacies of car performance.
Like many other car terms, torque steer is ultimately a negativity with regards to performance, similar to that of understeer or oversteer. It can potentially lead to the driver losing control, so it is vital to understand what torque steer is and whether you can do anything to reduce the chances of it while behind the wheel.

  • 1
    If it so vital to understand what it is, how come you didn't put it in your answer?
    – user12176
    Mar 13 '17 at 20:07
  • Petrolheads are wondering if you have any data to back up that claim?
    – CharlieRB
    Mar 13 '17 at 20:08
  • Petrol heads read and agree with the other answer... (Which I did)
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 14 '17 at 8:12

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