Oversteer and understeer are two of the most common types of car handling problems that drivers may experience. They are often confused with each other because they both present themselves in different ways, but understanding what they really mean can help you diagnose your vehicle's problem more quickly.

Oversteer is when the rear tires lose traction and spin out. This usually happens in a turn when the front wheels have enough grip to cut into the corner, but due to weight or something else, there is not enough grip on the back end. Oversteer can happen with either accelerating (weight transfer) or decelerating (braking). The key to detecting oversteer is listening for a sudden spin of the rear tires during acceleration or braking, followed by a sudden heel-and-toe downshift from the driver. You should always be looking out for this, as it indicates that you may have a problem with your rear tires losing traction.

Understeer is when the front tires of a car lose traction and spin out. This happens in both acceleration and deceleration situations. It's very similar to oversteer, but different because of where it occurs; while oversteer more commonly affects the rear tires, understeer typically affects the front wheels.


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