Oversteer in FWD in Rain - Need Help

Hi OzMechanics,

I have an Audi A4 2007 1.8T, not Quattro, and today my car started to spin when turning right in before going into freeway in wet conditions.

When turning right into freeway after the traffic light, the car started to skid (head to the right, rear spins around) in the middle of the apex. I reduced the speed from 60 to 30 and my turning speed was around 30 km/h, front wheel grips perfectly, rear wheel loses control. My tyres thread is good and pressure of the four tyres was normal.

Front: 2 x Michelin PS4 235/45/17
Rear: 2 x Toyo eco tyres

I had this experience on roundabouts 2 times before slightly, but I can feel it.

I find those white lines quite slippery when wet, is this could be a factor as well?

What should I do to avoid this happening again?

Comments

  • +75

    What should I do to avoid this happening again?

    Go slower, know/learn your car…

    Take driving course if need be to learn how to drive to conditions

    • +3

      Defensive driving and other related courses should be part of the learner or ever few years be part of the licence renewal process.

    • +1

      Yep
      Audi driver that thinks they can go fast everywhere.

      But otherwise…

      Sounds like a WHEEL ALIGNMENT is required !

      • +4

        .. or maybe just adjust tyre pressures.

        If the back is lighter, less pressure is required than the front.

        A lot of people over-pump their tyres for economy reasons- not safety/performance. In the rain, this will be most apparent.

        Then again… coming off throttle can cause the tail to step out.

        Front drive will apply more force (if the accelerator is not lifted, or is pressed harder), and literally pull the car through the bend (as this counteracts the effect of the centrifugal force pulling the rear out of line).

        So until you can check your tyre pressures, the easiest solution is to accelerate!!!

        • Agree on checking tyre pressures regularly but this should not cause oversteer.

          But anyway..
          1. Check tyre pressures
          2. Wheel alignment

          • @HeWhoKnows: I'd expect one being either low or high on the outside to be a potential cause for a weird and unexpected oversteer event

  • +22

    Such is life.

    Take the corners in reverse so your car is now RWD.

    If you're in Vic, where it hasn't rained for ages, then the roads will be more slippery than usual. Drive to the conditions and don't accelerate quickly.

    • +39

      Take the corners in reverse so your car is now RWD.

      .sreehC .esnes sekam tahT.

    • +10

      If you're in Vic, where it hasn't rained for ages, then the roads will be more slippery than usual.

      This is something a lot of people don't realise. They have had it drummed into them that their tyres have less grip in the wet than in the dry. But they don't understand that when their tyres have even less grip is when it rains after a long dry period. Stuff builds up on the road during a long dry period, then when it rains it first turns to slippery slush that provides very poor grip, then it gets washed away.

      The front tyres in a front drive car like the Audi would have the weight over them to push through the slush and find traction on the bitumen under it. The rear tyres, with less weight on them wouldn't, and wouldn't get much grip.

      And even after the slush washes away, if you go through standing water the front tyres have the weight over them to push through the water where the rears don't.

      • Professional

        • +14

          Eco tyres on the back don't help either.

          Eco generally = harder rubber compound (longer lifetime). This means less grip.

          PS4's on the front are a reasonably soft compound, uneven compound on front and rear can lead to unexpected results, particularly if your not a very experienced driver and can't feel it coming.

      • +3

        Alright then , what about oil residual when it hasnt rained for quite some time ?
        I dont care how good your tyre's are , there'll be problems in that scenario.

        • +2

          Firstly, we're talking about rear tyres aquaplaning on a bend, so different from a patch of oil on the road. All we can really assume is that the road is wet, and there is some oil, somewhere on the bend.

          In the dry, drops and even patches of oil are gravitaionally drawn to the bottoms of the pits and valleys in the surface of the tarmac. A lot actually soaks in, as the tarmac is semi-porous and under the heat of the sun, absorbs a surprising amount of oil, which will free up quickly once the tarmac next gets wet.

          As tyres contact and grip against the peaks of the tarmac, the friction loss where the oil is reduces over time; with each passing tyre; each one kinetically moving any oil left on the peaks to somewhere further on down the road.

          After rain, any oil on the tarmac lifts (floats on water) so the tyres see nothing but water and oil between them and the tarmac peaks. The tyres also cool, so get harder and less of the rubber compresses around the peaks of the tarmac, further reducing grip. Hence, rain magnifies the problem of any excess oil on the road, as well as that soaked into it, massively.

    • +5

      With this one simple trick you can turn your FWD into a RWD car.

      • +18

        I do this trick in my Toyota 68.

        • +1

          You can make pretty much anything handle OK on a smooth dry road. But front wheel drive and rear engined vehicles with a strong weight bias at one end or the other become less predictable in conditions of poor grip. That's the strength of the Toyota 86 with its 50-50 weight distribution, rear wheel drive, and not an extreme amount of power. That you know that whatever one end is going to do is the same as the other end. It is predictable.

        • +7

          Same but in my Toyota 69.

    • +3

      If you're in Vic, where it hasn't rained for age

      It was pissing down in the CBD last night!

    • If you're in Vic, where it hasn't rained for ages, then the roads will be more slippery than usual.

      The 60mm of rain overnight would have washed away any residual oil on the roads.

    • If you're in Vic, where it hasn't rained for ages

      A bit of a dry spell but Melbourne has the most consistent year-round rain. Since mid Nov, Melb has had 282mm; same period in Perth 11mm. Everyone here drives like it's black ice when the wet returns.

  • Oversteer in a fwd lol please teach me I need to drift in my fwd too.

    • +7

      Its called lift off oversteer

      • +1

        Or braking half way through a corner and unloading the rear axle.

  • +29

    Your rear tyres probably aren't as good as your fronts in the rain - so lift-off oversteer is probably worse than usual, made worse in the rain.

    • +6

      I second this. I have had PS4 tyres before and they are very grippy in the wet. No idea about the Toyo eco.

      • I have had PS4 tyres before

        Need for Speed?

    • +11

      PS4s vs eco tyres - DEFINITELY not as good as the ones in the front

      • +25

        Swap the ecos to the front and next post will be about understeer

        • +2

          hahaha, thats a good one!

      • I figured, though a family member has generic tyres on their car and they felt surprisingly okay in wet conditions (compared to my PS4's). PS4's are great, though driver ability (and driving to conditions) is more important than anything.

    • -1

      seems next time ill have to change rear tyres too, thought changing front ones is enough as its FWD

      • Are you 100% sure it's not AWD? I'm no expert but wouldn't expect the rear wheels to spin otherwise.

        • Yes, its not a quattro/AWD

        • +1

          Oversteer in a front wheel drive car is certainly a thing, especially with quite significantly different specification tyres. Mostly through what is called liftoff oversteer, because when you lift off the throttle, the front wheels engine brake, and coupled with the weight transfer, the rear of the car will try its best to go in a straight line, in deference to the intended direction of travel. In this case, the addition of rain, the reduction in traction from the rear tyres, coupled with quite good wet performing tyres on the front will amplify the effect. Like popping macca's trays under the rear wheels and popping on the handbrake.

          Edit: I should have just linked https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift-off_oversteer

      • +1

        Just be sure to keep your tyres rotated (and do alignments) to let them wear evenly, and you'll be fine. It's good that you're keeping an eye on your tyre pressures and tread levels, but different tyre compounds can alter vehicle dynamics - just something to keep in mind.

        • +1

          Just be sure to keep your tyres rotated (and do alignments) to let them wear evenly, and you'll be fine.

          Make sure you check the best way to rotate the specific tyres fitted to your car - quite a few tyre/car combinations are not suitable or safe.

          eg directional/asymmetric tyres, differing front/rear width/profile, FWD vs RWD.

  • +3

    If tires are good, then the next issue is suspension. Likely your shocks are spent and the rear is bouncing around causing traction loss

    IMO

    • +14

      I actually think it's the driver!

      • +6

        Sounds like a typical Audi driver to me. Always in a hurry. The older the model the worse driver.

        • Sounds like a typical Audi driver to me

          Excuse me sir. Not all Audi drivers are bad! haha

        • I resemble that fact Sir!

      • I actually think it's the driver!

        The driver needs to go back on a learners permit until they realize their right boot makes it go like this.

        I have had many FWD cars and can assure you it is the driver not knowing how to drive full stop…..
        Flapping moron on the road when it gets wet.

  • +3

    Taking corners and roundabout at 30km/h seems excessively fast

    • yeah nah
      .

  • +4

    Toyo eco tyres

    This is your drifto tofu battle problem.

  • +3

    What should you do? My first suggestion is to drive to the conditions… Secondly, go and get some professional advanced driving lessons. Thirdly, you could have your tyres looked at. They may be lacking tread or be old and as hard as a bulls forehead.

  • +19

    Too fast!

    youve got PS tyres on the front and Eco on the rear? Thats part of your problem. Sporty, grippy tyres at front and harder compound low rolling resistance tgres on the back. Add to that lifting off the power in a turn and of course the back end is going to slip.

    Learn to drive. Learn how tyres work.

  • +8

    Slow down is number one. Number two is read this - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift-off_oversteer

    I find those white lines quite slippery when wet, is this could be a factor as well?

    You're meant to drive inside those white lines, not on them

    • +2

      these days on Sydney roads it feels like more and more drivers actually think you're meant to have 2 wheels on either side of the white lines.

      Especially on curves smh

  • +5

    Toyo eco tyres

    There's your problem. Less rolling resistance means less grip.

    Slow down until you get new tyres, or learn to live with the ones you have.

  • +2

    I recommend watching Fast & Furious

    • Is that the fifth one?

    1. get better all weather tyres.
    2. get an all wheel drive if you're asking these questions.
    • If 2, theyll just be going faster when they slide off the road into a ditch. AWD just makes the limit of grip a higher speed.

  • sounds like Lift off oversteer ?

  • +12

    Drive faster to get more downforce around corners. If that doesn’t work, try hanging your arm out the window.

  • -1

    While many people are laughing at you OP, I can attest to you that Eco branded tyres are not worth it (I would say borderline safe).

    I used to have Duehler HL and its grip was effing good. Then Mazda decided to go skimp and got Ecopia and it all went south. Changed to Scorpion Verde and it has been life-changing since. At least I felt safer.

    Do yourself a favour, never believe that eco bs, tyres or not.

    • +1

      Why not? The Eco bit works. Lower rolling resistance = lower grip, better fuel economy. It's a trade-off.

      It's why Toyota put Prius tyres on the 86. Not the fuel bit, but to break traction easier.

  • Check your wheel alignment, maybe take it in to a mechanic?

    PS4 are pretty good tires, while eco tires are not so great. Would be worth getting a matching pair of them. Put your current PS4 in the back, and new PS4 in the front, as your front will wear faster.

    • +1

      Put your current PS4 in the back, and new PS4 in the front

      That's the exact opposite of what you should do - you do not want more worn tyres on rear wheels, because that makes it easier to spin out, which is most likely what caused OP's oversteer.

  • Please check your steering rack just in case.

  • +5

    Lift off oversteer, your rear tyres are crap.

    • +1

      This. Grippy front tyres, trash rear tyres, coupled with poor driving technique.

      It's easy to induce even in a car with same tyres on all corners. Go into a high-speed corner with a lot of speed, and then stab the brakes just after the apex. The front of the car has more weight on it and therefore grip, and furthermore as the front has more brake bias, the rear starts to overtake the front by spinning around.

      Aside from replacing the rear tyres, OP should lift off before entering the round about, and not touch the brake through the round about. This would keep the car neutral/ balanced throughout cornering.

      • I never do breaks in corners

        Thanks for the advice, I did learn something from this post which is lifting up accelerator when in curves which could break the balance and lead to rear wheel spin out

        • +1

          Yea. This engine brakes the front wheels decelerating the front of the car if it's FWD. Hitting the brakes will just make this more severe.

          You should come off throttle as you approach from a long way back and coast, then as you get closer you brake if you need to, then off brake as you enter corner, and finally as you exit the corner you feed the throttle back on.

          Being on the throttle into the corner but not staying on it is very bizzare.

  • Some FWD owners, like me have always allocated their least worst tyres to the rear.

    • So ps4 on the back?

      • +1

        Simply because the rear axle ensures the tracking stability of a vehicle

        • Seems counter intuitive, but i understand why youd suggest it. For OP i suspect theyd get a lot of understeer though and lose steering instead. Need to get 4 more similar tyres to make the handling more neutral.

  • +6

    What did you expect, you put Toyo Eco tyres on the back and premium tyres on the front. This will turn any FWD car into a drift machine.

  • I’m the first person in the comments to say. Check your tire pressures! I had a scary moment with my Toyota Estima/Tarago due to low tire pressure, especially noticeable on downhill roads. Filling them up made a huge difference. Remember to match the pressure on your car door sticker for safety. And yes, putting new or grippy tires on the back axle is crucial.

    • +2

      You may also be the person that missed the bit where OP said tyre oressure was OK.

  • -3

    Why would you want to avoid this? Oversteering in the wet is fantastic fun. Modern traction control is pretty good, and you'll generally have a hard time getting things too hairy before it kicks in pretty strongly (i.e., good luck actually getting the car to rotate any more than 90 degrees).

  • +2

    go back and attempt the corner again at 50% more speed.

  • I reckon something else is going on with the rear wheel alignment encouraging a loss of traction. Toe in / toe out perhaps?

  • +2

    As others gave mentioned here, Eco tyres are Eco due to them being low rolling resistance.

    Low rolling resistance = reduced grip and traction, as more grip and traction = more resistance.

  • -2

    GTR R34

  • +8

    As others have said, put the better tyres on the rear. Oversteer is much more dangerous than understeer. The downside is you will have less traction for those rapid starts at the traffic lights. Also, tyre compounds get harder with age, resulting in less grip. If you do low kilometres you should be planning to replace tyres based on age. I replaced mine at 5 years with 50% tread because they had noticeably less grip. A set of tyres evey 5 years is not a huge expense if it saves you from one accident.

    • Agreed that oversteer is worse, but understeer isn't safe either. The Eco tyres aren't coping and should be replaced (and roughly matched), regardless of axle.

  • Seems like a recipe for disaster having such a different quality of tyre between front and back.

  • Certain roads, especially intersections where cars can sit for long times, have build ups of oil. When it suddenly rains after a while, you literally get a slippery patch of road, hence why it also happens at roundabouts.

  • Had same issue, on my Clio when I bought it due to miss matched tires, swapped them over and no more oversteer but crazy understeer, changed them so they were matching and night and day difference

  • That's when you turn up Tokyo Drift and starting drifting into the sunset

  • +1

    Slow down!

  • +1

    why on earth do you have 2 different sets of tyre? The difference between the two is way too contrast, a performance vs eco tyre. This alone probably helped you created an oversteer.

  • +1

    put PS4 s in the rear as well

  • +3

    There are multiple reasons/conditions combined to cause a rear spin-out in a FWD car.
    If you had grippier rear tyres, you'd probably get away with it. So, get rid of the Eco (low grip) tyres and put on grippy tyres (that is of similar quality to the front Michelin Pilot Sport tyres).

    Audi (and VW) FWD S-tronic auto transmission requires grippy tyres at the front (a long story in short, which i won't go into); which then requires equally grippy rear tyres (so that grip level is balanced between front and rear).

    The proper way to drive a FWD car is "slow-in (brake before turning), fast-out (accelerate, no brakes)".
    Avoid slowing down mid-corner or braking (which may induce "lift-off oversteer" causing the rear to drift and then spin around).
    Unfortunately, 99% of drivers will do the opposite and brake into-corner or mid-corner; forcing the car behind to do the same.

    If you are interested, I'd recommend spending a fun day out with the Mazda MX-5 club (as a guest, in your own car) at a skid-pan and track.

    • Thanks for the advise,

      I always do slow in fast out, seems like the problem is tyres mismatch and the horizontal white lane (which makes lots of car sliding when starting at a red light when wet) before the corner, as soon as my rear tyres were on it, it loses control.

      similar experience before, at the roundabout, i was constantly providing power after the mid-corner and when its about to exit the roundabout i let go of the accelerator, feeling slightly slippery at the back then i searched it up it was lift-off oversteer.

      Maybe I really should replace the eco tyres at the back as they don't provide as good grip.

      • +1

        I'm don't know why the car's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) did not kick-in to save the spin. I suspect the Eco tyres gave-up so completely; (and the difference in grip level) was beyond the ESC's calibration / capability to save the day.

        You should replace the Eco tyres; particularly your with your enthusiasm for driving.

        I have a mixed pair of Michelin Pilot Sport (PS) and Continental Ultra Contact (UC) tyres.
        The Michelin Pilot Sport (PS) has:
        - better grip in the dry.
        - poorer grip in the wet (compared to UC, which is outstanding in the wet).
        - harder sidewall and better cornering stability (but harder ride and noisier).
        - doesn't like white lines (road painted markings) for some reason.

        The Continental Ultra Contact (UC):
        - grip level very good and consistent; dry or wet (outstanding in the wet).
        - grip on white lines are significantly better than PS; and when it (UC) does let go, it is gradual (PS would give up completely in the wet).
        - side walls are not as hard and can flex a little, just a little (when compared to PS)
        - better ride and quieter than PS.

        When it is time change the PS, for me, it will another pair of UC.

  • Sounds like you have a fun car. You need to floor the accellerator at the apex!!!

  • Drive to conditions.

  • Interesting that the traction control let this happen.

    On both of my FWD cars, the brakes would be shuddering away,
    correcting the skid, and generally slowing forward progress to a crawl ?

  • Mismatched tyres + not driving to the conditions.

    • this, at least should rotate the tyres

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