Rear Tires Lock When Turning – Here is Why

The vehicle has oversteered because the tires are not able to supply as much traction as you need at that moment. The reason for this is a combination of four factors:

Weight Transfer

Usually, when a car turns, there is going to be some weight transfer. This means that a certain amount of mass will move from one side of the car to the other while turning. For example, if you turn left, some weight in your body will shift to the right side and vice versa.

If your car’s tires do not have enough grip or friction with their surface, this could cause one tire on one side (in most cases, the outer wheel) to lose grip with the road, causing aquaplaning (aka hydroplaning). This in turn, would make that wheel “float” and lock almost instantly.

The surface the tires are on

A tire works by creating friction between its grooves (called tread) and the road, allowing a car to be propelled forward as most of that adhesion is lost when going above 70MPH.

Road surfaces help this process in many ways, such as having grooves or expansion joints where you can easily apply additional traction but not all surfaces have those characteristics, so sometimes your vehicle will slip even if both rear wheels reach maximum grip capacity.

Vehicle wheelbase

How far a car is stretched out from end to end is important as it will determine how much body roll and inertia there will be while turning.

This allows you to have more control over your vehicle in some ways, but that’s also where understeer comes into play when accelerating or braking because most of that momentum has yet to be transferred evenly throughout an axle.

This plays a massive role in drifting as well since most skid turns are done at lower speeds so having proper traction and transfer of weight and grip is crucial for making good turns. While most people want their cars to slide, without proper traction, you might end up in a series of unfortunate events such as fishtailing, going straight into something, or even rolling over.

Distance from center of gravity

Wheelbase plays an important role here, the closer the CG is to one side of your vehicle will create more oversteer problems while turning.

Distance from the front wheels

The distance between the two rear tires, especially if one is not on par with the other, could also create problems.


Make sure your brakes are properly adjusted, so you can stop within the distance available by using brakes alone. If they do not perform properly, get serviced immediately! Threshold braking would need to be applied rather than maximum braking force.

Drivetrain tuning

If you cannot get the wheels to turn with less angle, than they were designed for, then lower the rear ride height by adjusting the dampers until you can get them to spin without locking up.

Which is an easier way: To increase toe-in by lowering the car [side-to-side] or increasing camber? Answer: Increase cambers, which get more grip from inside of the wheel.

Pointed out on this website; “When there’s too much caster then the inside rear wheel will tend to lock when steering into a curve.” You can change the caster by raising or lowering the mounting height of your strut towers.

Wheel alignment

Proper alignment is critical for safety and performance with respect to handling but it may not be something you know much about until you experience handling problems such as skidding, locking of wheels, blue-smoke spiraling (in a sports car), fishtailing, and others.

Tires are designed for optimum grip at certain specific angles. Having good quality front suspension geometry, all four wheels do not assume different corners speeds when cornering (“Inside, outside tire speeds”).


Properly tuned “Performance” radial tires are specifically designed to achieve maximum performance both in wet and dry conditions when properly aired (pressure) and have sufficient tread depth for best design.

A true performance radial tire technology is very advanced and expensive compared to normal consumer radial tires. They performed best at specific load, speed, temperature, camber settings during cornering in both dry and wet conditions.

Proprietary technologies which develop high-performance traction include effective compound formulations that ensure both grip while avoiding “graininess.” Special tread designs optimize water evacuation and minimize weight while also providing an extra gripping area where it’s needed most.

High-performance radials are tuned for specific drive train/chassis characteristics.

Low air pressure inside tires

The proper level of tire inflation is very important to achieve maximum safety and performance from your car and to maximize the tread life of your tires.

Properly inflated tires also improve comfort, handling, and fuel economy. If you have your tires under-inflated by even 10 pounds per square inch (psi), it will adversely affect the handling, ride quality, traction on wet roads, fuel efficiency, and tire life.

Under-inflation increases the stress in the sidewalls of your tires which causes them to flex excessively at speeds around 45 mph or more when cornering or braking hard.

Excessive flex leads to heat buildup in the tires, which causes tread cupping and irregular wear patterns. Over time, this can lead to tread separation.

Under-inflation also increases the dynamic coefficient of friction (μ) between your tires and the road surface which means that you need more traction to get moving at a given speed.

Tire pressures

The easiest way to do this is with an air pressure gauge. It will give good handling, ride, and fuel efficiency if you keep your tires properly inflated at all times. All cars have recommended tire pressures incorporated into their owner’s manuals or on the placard in front of the glove box.


Maintaining alignment and balance (New nomenclature). Offset – This term describes how far apart the wheels are from each other in relation to the car body centerline when looking at them from behind a car with its nose facing straight ahead.

For example on a Subaru WRX STI, we see that the “offset” is 42mm for both front and rear wheels. In other words, they seem like they’re about 9 inches towards the outside of the body centerline when looking from behind.

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