Electric vehicles have definitely gained significant traction in recent years, but certain vehicle components and parts remain common across the different types of vehicles including electric vehicles, traditional combustion engine vehicles, and hybrids. These include tyres and wheels, steering components, brakes, as well as the suspension system.
Numerous critical areas, including the aforementioned ones, in today’s modern vehicles, are controlled by sophisticated onboard computers that continuously assess the real-time driving conditions and communicate with different components to respond accurately and swiftly. The electronic stability control (ESC) system is one such example that leverages sophisticated technology to ensure that a vehicle doesn’t skid.
What Causes Vehicles to Skid?
A vehicle can skid after exceeding its traction limits, usually resulting from driving too fast for the current road conditions. This usually leads to two common types of skids: understeer and oversteer. Oversteer and understeer are both very dangerous skidding conditions that often result in some of the most serious auto accidents.
Oversteer refers to when the vehicle’s rear loses traction and attempts to overtake the front, which causes the vehicle to spin around. Understeer, on the other hand, occurs when the vehicle’s front tyres are unable to effectively grip the road, which causes the vehicle to continue moving straight in spite of the attempt by the driver to turn. For any car fans I would recommned you seeing skoda octavia saloon.
What Does ECS Do?
ECS is a sophisticated safety feature aimed at significantly reducing skidding by as much as 80 per cent. It works by constantly monitoring the behaviour of the vehicle, such as its “rolling” or leaning angle, and detecting when tyres lose traction with the surface of the road.
If the ECS senses a potential skid, it can adjust the speed of the engine instantly and apply braking to the individual wheels as needed to regain control and prevent the vehicle from spinning out of control.
It’s important to note, however, that the effectiveness of ESC is limited by the condition of the vehicle’s suspension and tyres.
The ECS system relies on the assumption that the tyres and suspension system are in good condition, similar to when the vehicle was new when calculating the corrective measures required to prevent skidding.
If the tyres are worn and the ECS sends a signal to apply the brake on a specific wheel, the vehicle may lack the grip needed to effectively implement the corrective measure and prevent a dangerous skid. This highlights why regular tyre monitoring and maintenance is important as an essential aspect of safe driving.
How Do Shock Absorbers Work?
Besides having well-maintained tyres, shock absorbers also play an important role in maintaining optimal contact between the tyres and the road. These components work by allowing the vehicle’s coil springs to compress and absorb impacts from bumps, and then smoothly extending the springs back to the original ride height. This ensures that the tyre is in constant firm contact with the surface of the road, maximising traction for braking and steering.
Properly functioning shock absorbers, along with properly maintained tyres, ensure that more of the tyre’s surface area remains in contact with the road, which in turn helps improve traction and the overall performance of the vehicle.
Similar to the example of worn tyres, if the ECS system sends a signal for the rear left wheel’s brake to be applied but your vehicle has worn shock absorbers, the vehicle may not have the traction needed to avoid skidding.
Just like many other parts in a vehicle, shock absorbers also experience a gradual degradation in performance over time. This is due to the hydraulic oil used in most shock absorbers (gas shock absorbers included), passing through metal valves inside the shock absorber during compression and extension that causes wear.