EVs (electric vehicles) are gaining significant popularity; nonetheless, many of the parts in these cars are similar to their conventionally powered counterparts. The same is also evident in hybrid vehicles. It is a situation that is unlikely to change soon, even as tech advancements increase in pace. Hence, brakes, wheels, tires, suspension, and steering components have commonalities.
Sophisticated onboard computers control much of the physical moving parts in the modern vehicle, constantly assessing the driving conditions and communicating with different components every millisecond to ensure they respond correctly to situations. For instance, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) is designed to prevent a car from skidding.
What Causes A Vehicle To Skid?
Speed is a chief factor in most skidding accidents. A speeding driver can lose control of the vehicle when the conditions are unfavourable or the vehicle exceeds its traction limits. As a result, the driver can either understeer because the car’s front does not turn effectively, causing it to continue going straight, or oversteer when the rear swings and wants to pass the front, causing the vehicle to spin out.
What Does ESC Do?
While the ESC enjoys praise for its effectiveness, it reduces the chances of skidding by roughly 80%. It does this by reading when a car leans significantly or is rolling too far. The ESC also senses tyres when they lose traction, signalling the engine to reduce speed, and activates the brakes on the affected wheel. The action is enough to ensure the vehicle can keep moving under control or stop safely.
ESC is a common feature in many vehicles on the roads and highways in the UK. However, a car’s tyres and suspension are the primary factors limiting the ESC’s effectiveness.
The system assumes the vehicles’ tyres and suspension are in excellent condition when calculating the corrective measures to execute. Thus, the ESC thinks the components are good as new. A car is likely to skid or spin if, for instance, the ESC detects a traction problem and activates the rear left wheel brakes, but the tyre is worn out. The corrective measure fails to have the expected impact because the required grip for adequate traction is unavailable. That is why routine wheel monitoring and maintenance are essential.
How Do Shock Absorbers Work?
The shock absorbers are equally important in ensuring a car has adequate traction. Tyres in excellent condition will have a limited impact if the shock absorbers are bad. They are designed to push the wheel firmly on the road to enhance contact by ensuring there is enough tyre surface area, meaning a firm contact with the road for more traction when steering and braking. The coil springs work in tandem with the shock absorbers for a smoother ride on bumpy surfaces. The shocks and springs extend and contract, levelling the ride height for maximum contact between the wheels and the road. I would highly recommend that you take a look at tuning 4 performance.
So, if the ECS activates the rear left wheel brake and that side has worn shock absorbers, the car will likely have limited traction, causing it to skid.
The springs and shock absorbers deteriorate over time, like many other car parts. Shock absorbers have hydraulic oil that flows through metal valves in the shocks as they extend and compress during motion. The oil is also used in "air/gas" shock absorbers. The oil passes through the valves roughly 400 times per mile. Therefore, the valves are fatigued, wear out, and soon start letting more oil through. Therein, the shock absorbers have less fluid resistance. They cannot absorb shocks emanating from the coil springs. The overall result is that your vehicle will not have the same handling qualities or feel like a "firm ride" as when it was new.