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Possible Damage in spinout?

Hey there, you may be able to tell by this thread that I am new to the community. Actually, the entire purpose that I have joined is due to an incident that occurred a little over 5 hours ago. This involved an inexperienced 16 year old driver(me), a car that I should not have(audi a4), wet roads, and my dumb ideas.

I turn around and press the ESP button on my dash which disables throttle control when the car is slipping. I continue to enter this left-curving 90 degree turn that’s rated for 20mph, at 35-40mph. As I first enter the turn I start to notice my tires slipping already, my front 2 are severely bald due to me cornering a lot in this car, and I decide to drift a little and give it a little more gas. It is then that I fishtail way more than expected and I am traveling much faster than I intended or was comfortable with. I am now across the median at a 45 degree angle to the straight road and the houses on the left side, heading towards someones yard. So instinctively I turn my wheel to the right to correct myself, foot off the gas, and I quickly slide from facing left to facing right and I completely spin 180 degrees facing oncoming traffic in the lane I was originally in. As I am sliding backwards towards a fence I slam the brakes and can feel the ABS going to town pulsing, saving my rear bumper. I stop no where near the fence, thank god for the amazing brakes on this car, and am in shock.

At a stop, my first thought is to get out of the area as the ear piercing screech of my tires most certainly alerted the entire neighborhood. I am still in sport and I light press down my pedal and my car doesn’t move, and my RPMs don’t move either. Confused I attempt to turn my wheel and it will not move. Completely freaked that I just somehow ruined my car, I put the car in park and turn it off. I step out of my car expecting to see my wheel turned sideways or something, I don’t know why I was thinking this but I was in a panic state of mind. My wheels are fine and I get back into the car and turn it on, put the car into D and I am perfectly able to drive away. Driving home going the exact speed limit I do not notice anything at all wrong with the car. The steering feels fine, my car has always pulled to the right very slightly and still does, and everything feels fine. I assume that the reason I couldn’t drive away immediately after I spun out or even turn the wheel was some sort of insane safety feature that those germans thought of.

Long story long, I am concerned that due to these events that I could have damaged the car. Any possible information that tells me what I could’ve damaged or what I should possible get checked out would be greatly appreciated.

And yes I will be getting new brakes after this as I already planned on it, and now I will definitely need them.

First off, it is bald tires, not balled. It is the same word used for a bald man. (ask me how I know) I don’t know why you think you need brakes But you absolutely need tires.
I am not going to chastise you for being young and dumb because they usually go together, They certainly did in my case. I had several blowouts at over 100 mph when I was young because I didn’t have money for tires but it apparently didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t a good idea to drive fast on bald tires.

Spinning a car doesn’t usually damage anything but tire unless you hit sonething but it would be a good idea to get the car up in the air to be inspected buy a mechanic and tell them what you did. It will make their day and give them a good story to tell at dinner.

How about getting new tires, as well . . . ?!

I have another suggestion . . . take it easy on those “wet windy roads”

My mistake, I only meant that my brake pads were already on their way out, and I bet they’re much closer now. Thank you for the advice: +1:

Yes I live in Michigan my father noticed my tires and said it was necessary we get new ones, especially before winter. Also yes I am taking this as a warning to not drive like an idiot and to slow it down, I think I am very lucky and the situation could’ve gone much worse.

Doubt you did any damage from what you described, unless you hit a curb during the spin out. Why the car would not go immediately after the spin almost sounds like the engine quit, when you say the RPMs did not move is there any chance the tach was actually at zero RPMs? Other than that cars can handle spins. I have spun cars unintentionally. During a course with the sheriffs department we were allowed to drive Crown Vic’s, those cars were really punished. We did not get to spin them but did get to do a ride along during PIT maneuvers where the persueiing vehicle taps the bumper of the fleeing vehicle to cause a spin, both cars went through this procedure 20 time a day with no mechanical damage. Now winter driving is a whole different animal. New quality tires are a must, read reviews of tires. DON’T try drifting. I don’t know the age requirements but when you can take an performance driving course, learn the skills to do it correctly. DON’T do it on the streets, save it for the track.

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I’m really glad to read your first paragraph. You’ve learned a very important lesson today - something a lot of us learn when we’re your age. Mine was bombing down a dirt road at 70 in my dad’s car when a 90 degree turn I wasn’t expecting suddenly appeared on the horizon. I came within microns of rolling the thing into the corn field. That I am alive is evidence that dad never found out. :wink:

I agree with @Gpierce001- you probably didn’t do much if any damage to the car as long as you didn’t hit something during the spin.

Make sure to drive like Grandma until you get new tires, and do that ASAP.

And don’t lose your sense of fun with driving from this - just take it to better places. Start autocrossing. It’s a blast, and will teach you a huge amount on how to safely drive cars at the limits. I don’t know where in Michigan you live, but here and here are links to LP and UP regional SCCA chapters which will help you get started in safe performance driving. Go have fun.

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If the RPMs didn’t go up and you couldn’t move the wheel, then I assume the car stalled. As others have said, if you didn’t hit a curb or anything like that, you probably didn’t do any damage.


No, that is NOT what the ESP button does. You turned off Electronic Stability Control. The very device that would have prevented the spin you did. Or at least made it less exciting. Don’t turn off ESP in the rain or snow, it can save your rear end from the chewing out your parents will give you when you wreck the car. ESP controls throttle AND brakes to keep you from spinning out in slippery conditions.

That said, you likely just stalled the car - no RPM’s, no power steering, ect, ect. just spinning the car with not hitting anything won’t really hurt the car. Buy new tires and learn from the experience.

I did VERY similar things in my teens in a car that did not have any assists of any kind except an automatic transmission so I’m not throwing any stones. I would suggest that you find your local Sports Car Club of America chapter and see if they have an autocross program.

duplicate advice… @shadowfax beat me to it!


All of that is correct, but when somebody chooses to drive (and to drive recklessly) with “balled” :smirk: tires, all bets are off in terms of what ESP can do to prevent a spin or a skid.


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Why are parents letting a new driver on the streets with possibly completely worn out tires and brakes that might not be safe?


You sound like a fatal accident waiting to happen. My condolences in advance to your next of kin…


Ha, you are very right I’ve taken the situation as a warning because i k ow it could’ve gone much worse if I damaged the car, or worse hit someone else on the road. My front tires are a mess, but somehow my back ones look fine, as if the spin never happened. Either way my father planned on getting new tires for car before the Michigan winter rolled around so no worries there. Until then it looks like I’ll keep my ESP on;) Thank you!

The tires were not completely worn out, although they may be now :slight_smile: and my brake pads had been showing signs of wearing down, but it was my brakes that saved me in the end.

Thank you for the advice! I very much learned a lesson here and won’t be attempting anything like this again. I understand what ESP is, but to my knowledge in my car you cannot completely turn off traction control so I assumed that there were still some sort of fail safes in place to keep this spin out from happening (boy was I wrong). Thank you for advice!

I do a lot of drifting on a racetrack and it doesn’t hurt the car at all. I suggest you buy some new rubber for your car.

I don’t think you do know what ESP is or you wouldn’t have replied as you did. No insult intended.

Traction control isn’t going to keep you from spinning out, it is there so you don’t spin the tires on a slippery surface. ESP is there to keep the side-slide or lateral loss in traction in check using the ABS brake system to actually apply individual brakes without your foot being on the brake pedal to turn the car away from the skid. ESP is generally programmed pretty conservatively so you can’t hoon the car around like you did in the rain. There is an “OFF” button so you can have a little fun but I’d suggest leaving it on.

Surprisingly, Wikipedia has a decent write-up on the technology and how it works.

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Well I guess you’re right, and I appreciate the response. Looks like i’m going to look more into cars and my car specifically to understand them better. Please excuse my lack of knowledge as the only time i looked up information on my cars traction control was on ,”how to drift audi quattro”. Thanks again. :sweat_smile:

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I’m thinking the same as the poster @lion9car above, the engine just stalled out somehow during the spin. A coworker friend of mine did a similar thing right in front of the place he worked, trying to squeal his tires around the corner, lost control, ran over the curb and smacked into a tree right in front of his boss’s window, and broke his nose when his head hit the steering wheel. He never lived that incident down. So good idea above, if you want to test the limits of your car to do the experiment on a track.

I sure can’t criticize much. Technically and logically, I died in at least 50 or 100 flaming wrecks between 1960 and 1964, and everyone was on public roads.

Life in the rural areas was different then.

It seems like your dad trusts you, but not sure you deserve it. He did not do you any favors by giving you a high powered car and turning you loose.

So, my advice is, since he hasn’t done anything to keep you safe, you have to take care of yourself anyway. So, now that you have admitted that you were driving beyond the laws of physics, start all over again and drive right. And, assume that you are a bad driver, not a good driver, and drive accordingly.

That may sound like a strange thing to say until you understand it. When I started driving in 1960, I thought I was a good driver and exceeded my true abilities and did have a wreck. It was totally humiliating and for nearly a year, I did not drive over maybe 35 mph. During that year, I mostly observed and thought.

That was with a 1936 Chevrolet.

Then, I got a 1953 Chevrolet and very slowly picked up speed. I would take a curve on gravel road at say 35 mph. Next time, if I was satisfied with the curve, I would do it at 36. And, many months down the road, in full insanity, at 60. Yes, I was drifting, and yes, I should have been shot. :slight_smile:

But, by that time I was within my capabilities.

Today, there is almost no where in the USA you can drive like that without extremely unpleasant attention from the law enforcement. So, don’t even try.

Take the advice given to find a place where you can push your limits. What I did was over 50 years ago. I never left the road nor hit anything while driving that way, because I did work up to it 1 mph at a time. Also, I have suggested God wanted to torture me some more. :smiley: