Torque Steer and Its Causes Explained for Professionals with Auto Mechanic Training

Torque steer, a phenomenon where a vehicle behaves abnormally when steering, is a problem that often affects front-wheel drive vehicles. This occurs when power is applied unevenly to the drive wheels, reducing the amount of control a driver has on their vehicle and leading to a greater susceptibility for accidents. If you’re seeking a career in the automotive industry, it’s likely that you’ll be servicing many vehicles experiencing torque steer. In order to properly identify the signs of torque steer, it’s important to first understand what torque steer is and what causes it. Below, discover more about torque steer and why it happens.

What Is Torque Steer? A Guide for Auto Mechanic Training Students

Torque steer is related to torque, a measurement used in the automotive industry to determine the amount of force needed for a wheel to rotate on its axis. In the creation of torque, a rotational force is exerted upon the wheels to create linear acceleration, supplying half of a vehicle’s power potential. The other half of a vehicle’s power comes from the engine’s RPM, which is multiplied by the torque to yield the vehicle’s total horsepower. Torque steer is caused when an uneven amount of power is applied to a vehicle’s drive wheels. Typically found in front wheel drive cars, torque steer is often characterized by the front wheels turning (instead of the rear wheels) when torque is applied to the rear wheels. 

Torque steer is the result of the uneven application of power to a vehicle’s wheels

After completing your auto mechanic training, you may identify torque steer in vehicles when the throttle is applied. In vehicles with torque steer, acceleration will typically cause the vehicle to pull to one side, which can be felt in the steering wheel.

How Does Torque Steer Happen?

Torque steer is generally caused by an uneven load distribution between the vehicle’s rear and front axles. This uneven distribution of weight can be caused by a few different factors, including alignment issues, uneven tire wear, and uneven tire pressure. When the wheels aren’t perfectly straight, this can lead to uneven torque, and the wheels will need to be realigned in order to correct torque imbalances. Likewise, when one or more of a vehicle’s tires show more signs of wear, the wheel might be vulnerable to excessive steering, due to the reduced contact between the road and the tire that comes with greater wear. Lastly, if one of a vehicle’s tires is low in pressure, this can also cause uneven loading, making a vehicle vulnerable to spinning out of control.

Improper wheel alignment can cause torque steer to occur

Correcting Torque Steer During Your Career as a Mechanic

After you become an auto mechanic, one of your duties may be to correct torque steer in the vehicles you service. Many vehicles will experience torque steer as a result of the above causes, and during your career, you can typically develop a solution to this problem by performing a wheel realignment, checking and correcting a vehicle’s tire pressure, and examining the tires for signs of uneven wear. Replacing or repairing any components which may be contributing to uneven loading can help to prevent torque steer in a front wheel drive vehicle, and keep drivers safe on the road.

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