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Torque Steer on Front Wheel Drive Cars

The lady didn’t get a proper answer–torque steer is often a result of using replacement tires of a different design, or rating. My 94 Eldorado with 295 HP is a classic example! I never drove it with the original tires but The H rated Michelin Pilots would side step a whole lane under a heavy kickdown to low gear! Replacing them with V rated (The correct rating for the ETC option) Pirelli P-6s eliminated the problem! Whether the change in brand, or the change in the speed rating got rid of the problem- I don’t know. Many people, while shopping for tires, look at their car’s tire speed rating and declare “I never will drive at that speed”, opting for a lower rating to save money. The speed rating affects daily driving responses such as emergency avoidance, wind shear resitance, braking, and torque steer.

I’m sorry, but torque steer is the result of the difference in the shaft lengths of the drive axles on FWD vehicles. It only appears under heavy accleration when the difference in shaft length makes a difference in amount of twist the axle undergoes.

While different tires may accentuation the affect, the root cause is the axle length.

Just a quick thought about tire ratings and the “I’ll never drive at that speed” thinkers. It’s not about how you drive, it’s about how the manufacturer says the car CAN be driven. Before you opt for a tire that does not meet manufacturer specs, check and make sure the insurance will still be valid. Many insurance companies will refuse any claim if you don’t use parts that are up to spec, including tires.

Capri Racer is 100% correct.
Torque steer is caused by unequal length drive axles, which results from the typical transverse placement of the engine in most FWD cars.

By contrast, if you drove a FWD car with a more conventional (“north-south” as some might say) placement of its engine (old Olds Toronados and Cadillac Eldorados, Saabs, Subarus, the Acura Vigor), you would not experience torque steer because these cars have equal length drive axles.

Torque steer can also be minimized (not eliminated) by use of a limited slip diff, especially the clutch type, which will only let one wheel go a little faster than the other one.

Tires - yes they can effect the amount of torque steer felt, but don’t cause it. Tire pressure can also have a significant effect on this as well.

I thought the comment that the torque steer was caused because the forces were transmitted “quicker” on the shorter shaft was a little misleading, but a non-symmetric geometry due to unequal drive shaft lengths can and is indeed the usual cause of designed-in torque steer.

Another way manufactures reduce torque steer is to design the longer axle shaft with an extra cv joint.

As others have said, Capriracer is right. Fortunately, most manufacturers today has evolved methods to compensate. Seventeen years ago, in '94, they were still struggling with torque steer…or at least Caddy apparently was.

Capri Racer is 100% correct. If the OP thinks tires can be the cause or torque steer, he/she doesn’t understand what torque steer is.

This is why companies such as BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus’ higher-end models are all RWD. It’s a more costly, but superior method of moving a car along. Modern cars employ limited differentials to reduce torque steer but it will always be a hobgoblin of FWD cars.

…unless the FWD car in question has equal-length drive axles.

Really, EB? My Honda Civic has ZERO torque steer. It isn’t that hard to make both axles the same length.

Nah EB, torque steer’s pretty much under control, at least for 250hp or less. A bigger reason for expensive cars using rwd is the handling, with fwd cars tending to understeer, while rwd cars can be more neutral in their handling. Partly due to the lower % of total weight on the front wheels for a rwd car.