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Steering wheel suddenly pulls for an instant

2933 Views 44 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  PhilipD
Hello. I'm less than a month into my 2023 Bolt EUV. I've noticed the steering doesn't stay consistent or even. Suddenly I'll feel a slight pull to the right for an instant. Or to a lesser extent, a pull to the left. Or just uneven response with my steering (play in the wheel one moment, not in the next). Any idea why? Is this the way it is, or is it fixable?
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The Bolt does not have Torque steer. It has an open diff and terrible traction control but does not have torque steer. On a flat concrete road surface from a stop take your hands off the wheel and accelerate hard in a straight line.
The Bolt definitely has torque steer. Not sure why you put so many conditions on testing for it: concrete, take your hands off the wheel, straight line. None of that is required for torque steer. Torque steer is simply any time engine (motor) torque influences steering characteristics. I got significant torque steer (steering wheel tugging hard to one side or the other) when accelerating hard in the Bolt, particularly if you weren't accelerating in a perfectly straight line. It happens a lot when you are trying to accelerate to the speed of traffic when turning right or left from a development onto a main road. Most of the Bolt reviews that I have watched have also mentioned the gobs of torque steer.

Mike
Most of the Bolt reviews that I have watched have also mentioned the gobs of torque steer.
I'll call that bluff. Link, please.
Not sure why you put so many conditions on testing for i
Because all of those conditions eliminate the other causes attributed to torque steer. A FWD car with unequal length half shafts has inherent torque steer and under hard acceleration with no loss of traction will pull to one side or the other. That is the basis for torque steer. I give those conditions to test because dry concrete provides the best traction and will reduce or eliminate wheel spin, taking your hand off the wheel eliminates any driver input to possibly correct the condition. Do that on a flat surface and the Bolt will track straight. The Bolt does not have torque steer.

The engine, transmission, and drivetrain components in FWD vehicles are all located in the vehicle鈥檚 front end, but there is no driveshaft. The transmission and differential are mounted on one side of the engine, which causes one half-shaft to be shorter than the other. Different half-shaft lengths mean that they react to torque inputs differently, and one of the front drive wheels can have more power behind it than the other. Since the front wheels also connect to the steering system, the car can pull to one side or the other

Driving on an uneven surface or differences in traction between wheels, different tire pressures. Any of those factors may cause a FWD car to pull more to one side or another but that is entirely related to the conditions the car is under and NOT the natural tendency of the car. I have driven plenty of FWD cars on track and street that had bad torque steer. Meaning under ideal road conditions listed above if you did not have your hands firmly on the wheel the car would pull hard to one side. And under cornering load would handle differently turning right vs left. Making slaloms very interesting.

If you want to call the sensation of the Bolt pulling one direction or another Torque steer, have at it but it is not an accurate description. What is happening is the Bolt has terrible traction control an open differential and loads of torque in a FWD car with a small tire footprint and if on OE tires, tires with terrible traction. Because under ideal conditions it will track straight. And that is not something that a car that has torque steer does.




With all this low-end torque and front-wheel drive, you鈥檇 expect some significant torque steer鈥攖he tendency of the car to veer right under sudden acceleration. But I noticed very little torque steer in the Bolt鈥攗nlike a friend鈥檚 high-performance Mini Cooper, which practically yanked the steering wheel out of my hand when I floored it.



https://www.reddit.com/r/cars/comments/8u2zit Cars with laughable amounts of torque steer

I鈥檝e driven several Mazdaspeed 3鈥檚 from both generations and they鈥檙e absolutely hilarious with front wheel drive and no modern torque vectoring like the CTR.
As soon as it hits boost it鈥檚 like it鈥檚 trying to rip the wheel from your hands.
What other cars have had this insane amount of torque steer and actually have been put on sale?
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What other cars have had this insane amount of torque steer and actually have been put on sale?
I can take a right turn in my 2006 Acura TL 6MT by letting go of the wheel and stomping on the gas. If you don鈥檛 pay attention and you get on it, it will happily pull the wheel in your hands.
I can take a right turn in my 2006 Acura TL 6MT by letting go of the wheel and stomping on the gas. If you don鈥檛 pay attention and you get on it, it will happily pull the wheel in your hands.
That my friend is Torque Steer.
I'll call that bluff. Link, please.
Easy. Here you go. This is the one that is most memorable and was easy for me to find. If you want more, you can put in the time to search. I'm not going to do it for you:


Mike
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Easy. Here you go.
"So when you floor it, it's, like, torque steer!" That's pretty weak tea, eh, even for a Tesla fanboi.
Easy. Here you go. This is the one that is most memorable and was easy for me to find. If you want more, you can put in the time to search. I'm not going to do it for you:


Mike
LMFAO, not torque steer. Shtty traction control. Makes you think it is torque steer but it is not. It is a loss of traction on one or even uneven loss of traction on both causing the car to pull to one side or another. Not torque steer. Just because a couple of youtubers make an off the cuff comment does not make it true.
Seems like the YouTubers just heard the term torque steer and never researched what it is. Then giddily yell out "torque steer" whenever there is a traction issue and the wheel pulls left or right. Which, with EV torque, quite easily happens.

What would minimize the YouTubers' "torque steer" would be a limited slip differential. But GM did not decide to include that feature.

Theoretically, the Bolt can have some torque steer. The two half shafts are of equal length. Prof. Kelly points out they are even the same part number. But the left side output shaft is much longer than the right hand shaft. There could be some shaft twist on the left side. If the longer shaft is torsionally stiff enough there would be minimal wind up.

To see the output shafts go to 13:30 in the Deep Dive video:


In real life, it's so small that it is swamped by the high torque/traction issue. Just comes with the EV off-the-line "whee!".:p
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Not sure why there are so many deniers. Torque steer is ANY time pressing the accelerator results in the steering wheel jerking around. I don't care if it's unequal half shafts, ABS, TC, or anything else: if pressing the accelerator is what initiated the steering wheel twitching back and forth, it is torque steer! Starting to feel like a Tesla forum here, with the defend mode buzzards circling. It's not a big deal: the Bolt has obvious torque steer. If you want to come up with your own definition or some custom conditions you made up to test it, you can post it on TheStraightPipes YT video comments. I'm sure two guys who do this every day for a living would be interested in your custom definition.

Oh forgot to say, traction control... at highway speeds? That's funny. :)

Mike
Not sure why there are so many deniers. Torque steer is ANY time pressing the accelerator results in the steering wheel jerking around. I don't care if it's unequal half shafts, ABS, TC, or anything else: if pressing the accelerator is what initiated the steering wheel twitching back and forth, it is torque steer! Starting to feel like a Tesla forum here, with the defend mode buzzards circling. It's not a big deal: the Bolt has obvious torque steer. If you want to come up with your own definition or some custom conditions you made up to test it, you can post it on TheStraightPipes YT video comments. I'm sure two guys who do this every day for a living would be interested in your custom definition.

Oh forgot to say, traction control... at highway speeds? That's funny. :)

Mike
Guess you completely missed the linked definition of torque steer posted above.

or here


pressing the accelerator is what initiated the steering wheel twitching back and forth,
What initiated it, but not what caused it. The cause is in the design. My problem is people say the Bolt has bad torque steer when it does not. A car that has bad torque steer will exhibit the problem under ideal driving conditions and will exacerbate the problem in adverse conditions. The Bolt in ideal driving conditions has no torque steer. That is the gist of this. To say it has torque steer when the road is wet and slanted and I have one front tire with 25psi of air pressure is just dumb because most any car in those circumstances will do the same thing.

There is a section of road I drive almost daily that in the rain if I floor it going 40 mph the car will nearly instantly pull off the side of the road. Why, because I lost complete traction in both front wheels and the road is severely worn and angles down towards the ditch. The problem is not torque steer. The problem is no traction control, complete loss of traction and poor road conditions. But many people would call it torque steer when it is not. Torque steer is just the buzzword they heard on a YT channel and they now apply it to anything that happens when they pressed too hard on the accelerator. This is the same misinformation as calling DCFC a Level 3 charger or that my battery has 65kW of power.
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Guess you completely missed the linked definition of torque steer posted above.
No, but apparently you did: "car鈥檚 engine torque influences its steering ". It's what I've been saying all along: torque steer is a symptom of the accelerator affecting steering. It does not require a specific cause and I have no idea where that got started. As long as your steering wheel is being tugged while applying torque, it is torque steer. Torque steer does NOT require unequal length half shafts or some other specific cause. Never did.

Autoweek:
"There鈥檚 a decent bit of torque steer, more than you expect in the typical compact, which is something some critics might pan."
Link: Chevrolet Bolt review: The case for GM鈥檚 new EV, and for one-pedal driving

Car and Driver:
"According to Tavel, the 200-hp motor鈥檚 output had to be trimmed at times to diminish torque steer. While passing a tractor-trailer outside GM鈥檚 Milford proving grounds, we feel exactly what he鈥檚 talking about. Those who summon all the loose electrons for acceleration will need more than a couple of pinkies on the steering wheel."
Link: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

TorqueNews:
"The only negative was the Torque Steer. I haven't felt torque steer like that in any post-1990 car. But then again no pre-90 FWD car had this much instant-on torque."
Link: My Biggest Shock When I Test Drove Chevy Bolt | Torque News

JDPower:
"The Bolt EUV is downright quick when you need it to be, though some torque steer is evident when you press hard on the accelerator pedal."
Link: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Review

Anyway, it's not necessarily a bad thing so I'm not sure why people are trying to redefine it so it can only be torque steer if it occurs due to one of many possible causes. I thought it was kinda fun in my 2019 actually. Made the car feel more "alive". It's been a part of all three FWD cars I've owned and I never saw it as a "problem".

Mike
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No, but apparently you did: "car鈥檚 engine torque influences its steering ". It's what I've been saying all along: torque steer is a symptom of the accelerator affecting steering. It does not require a specific cause and I have no idea where that got started.
Apparently you stopped reading at that point.

"However, the most common cause of torque steer in front-drive vehicles is the orientation of their engine."
"Different half-shaft lengths mean that they react to torque inputs differently, and one of the front drive wheels can have more power behind it than the other. Since the front wheels also connect to the steering system, the car can pull to one side or the other"

Anyway, it's not necessarily a bad thing
Well yeah, it kinda is. Otherwise automakers would not spend so much time trying to eliminate torque steer.

To demonstrate I made a series of runs today with full power acceleration with hands off the wheel. You will notice in every case the car tracks straight and only veers due to road surface changes or bumps and not due to torque steer. If the Bolt had torque steer immediate correction would be necessary to keep the car going straight under full power acceleration.

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Apparently you stopped reading at that point.

"However, the most common cause of torque steer in front-drive vehicles is the orientation of their engine."
"Different half-shaft lengths mean that they react to torque inputs differently, and one of the front drive wheels can have more power behind it than the other. Since the front wheels also connect to the steering system, the car can pull to one side or the other"
I read the whole thing but I could have stopped at that point. You are "reading" stuff that's not there, so if I'm not reading enough and you are reading things that don't exist, maybe between the two of us lies the answer. I appreciate the fact that you can do runs on a perfectly straight surface without any steering input and get minimal torque steer but again, you are adding in requirements that don't have to be there and you are cherry picking the conditions.

Go back to the half dozen quotes referencing torque steer on the Bolt by professionals who are paid to report on that stuff. Sometimes when you think you are right and everyone else is wrong... it might be time to reevaluate. I don't think anyone is going to interpret "unintended influence of engine torque on the steering" (from Wiki) to mean that engine torque has to be the only factor and that it alone will turn the steering column and no other factors can be present. That doesn't make sense with the spirit of the trait itself which has always been a term to describe when a car changes its steering characteristics when you press the accelerator. So any time you are driving and you find the steering wheel fighting against your input or changing resistance as you apply more throttle, it is torque steer. Like what will happen in your Bolt if you redo the test and one side of the lane is wet and the other is not. Or when you accelerate hard while making a slight turn.

I feel like it is a silly argument on both sides at this point. Torque steer is mostly used any time the steering wheel jerks around as a consequence of you mashing the accelerator hard; it doesn't matter what factors "caused" it. It's like shooting a watermelon and then making a statement like the watermelon got "shot". Then arguing whether it was the gun or the bullet that blew up the watermelon. Can't be the gun because the gun never touched it. And technically it wasn't the bullet because you could walk up and set a bullet on the watermelon and it won't blow up. But wait, it's neither. The shooter did it. But the shooter didn't do it because the shooter by themselves can't "will" a watermelon to blow up. And on and on we go. :) Just say someone "shot the watermelon" and we all know what you mean.

Mike
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I appreciate the fact that you can do runs on a perfectly straight surface without any steering input and get minimal torque steer but again, you are adding in requirements that don't have to be there and you are cherry picking the conditions.
Not minimal, no torque steer. Adding requirements and cherry picking conditions, LOL. You mean like measuring 0-60 times or standing 1/4 mile or g force on a skid pad or braking distance. There are standard measures for those that anyone can go out and test. There is not standardized test for measuring torque steer so I set forth conditions to measure torque steer that you can repeat with ANY car. You want to argue under a different set of conditions then set them. I set conditions that eliminate any factor other than the cars inherent tendency for torque steer. Repeatable conditions. You know, a scientific test.


half dozen quotes referencing torque steer on the Bolt by professionals who are paid to report on that stuff.
Surprised you did not put up something from Jeremy Clarkson. You know, because he is a paid professional and absolutely everyone agrees with him. I see paid professionals all the time making mistakes about what they are saying. Is it possible they have an inherent bias that any FWD car with a lot of torque will have torque steer and just naturally report that out of habit but without any real thought?

The quote from Car and Driver. Is it at all possible that what they felt was due to road conditions and not that car and that ANY other car would have behaved the same but they attributed it to torque steer because FFS that must be what it is.

JDPower:
"The Bolt EUV is downright quick when you need it to be, though some torque steer is evident when you press hard on the accelerator pedal."
Link: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Review
No, no it is not. Simply amazing that you completely discount video evidence of 0 torque steer when pressed hard on the accelerator but offhand fully believe an automotive journalist that you probably have never read before.


the spirit of the trait itself which has always been a term to describe when a car changes its steering characteristics when you press the accelerator.
You mean like throttle on oversteer? Is that torque steer as well? Or when a car pushes and stops when you let off the gas, is that also torque steer? Man did you just see that Mustang torque steer through that corner. Wow, I really love the Fast and Furious movies, they have lots of Torque Steer scenes. Man Ken Block (RIP) makes awesome torque steer videos.

When I first got a Bolt I also said it had bad torque steer. But then I came to the realization that no, it does not. Torque steer as defined in the examples above relate to unequal power deliver to the wheels as a result of the cars design or other mechanical issues with the car. Absolutely none of those definitions include wet roads or other driving conditions. Why is that? Because those are factors that apply to all cars. You accelerate hard in a RWD drive car and hit a bump and the car will change direction just like a FWD car will do. Press on the throttle hard in a RWD car in the rain and you might swap ends. Do you call that torque steer? And you can have torque steer in a RWD car. If you have ever watched drag racing and see a car lift the front wheels and then drift to the side that is RWD torque steer normally due to an improper suspension alignment but is only noticeable under hard acceleration.

Will a Bolt in adverse conditions pull to one side or another because of differences in traction and excessive power. Yes, yes it will. No argument there. Why because all cars do that. And the Bolt under those conditions behaves worse than many other cars that I have driven because it has a ton of torque and crappy traction control. My entire point is that anyone that says the Bolt has excessive or any inherent torque steer is full of BS. I have posted clear evidence of that. Don't believe me, go test it yourself. And before you go quote this paragraph and say ah-ha I got you, you said the Bolt has torque steer. I have never once denied that in adverse conditions it will pull to one side or another. In fact you can go review my posts in other threads and see that I state many many times how bad the Bolt is in adverse weather conditions with power delivery.


Just so you can understand. This is video evidence of Torque Steer. Please please show me ANY video of a Bolt doing this under the same conditions. But you won't. Know why? Because the Bolt does not do this and I have shown that it does not do this.

And Here

And Here
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Influencing the car because of LACK OF TRACTION, not Torque Steer. These are completely different things.
I read the whole thing but I could have stopped at that point. You are "reading" stuff that's not there, so if I'm not reading enough and you are reading things that don't exist, maybe between the two of us lies the answer. I appreciate the fact that you can do runs on a perfectly straight surface without any steering input and get minimal torque steer but again, you are adding in requirements that don't have to be there and you are cherry picking the conditions.

Go back to the half dozen quotes referencing torque steer on the Bolt by professionals who are paid to report on that stuff. Sometimes when you think you are right and everyone else is wrong... it might be time to reevaluate. I don't think anyone is going to interpret "unintended influence of engine torque on the steering" (from Wiki) to mean that engine torque has to be the only factor and that it alone will turn the steering column and no other factors can be present. That doesn't make sense with the spirit of the trait itself which has always been a term to describe when a car changes its steering characteristics when you press the accelerator. So any time you are driving and you find the steering wheel fighting against your input or changing resistance as you apply more throttle, it is torque steer. Like what will happen in your Bolt if you redo the test and one side of the lane is wet and the other is not. Or when you accelerate hard while making a slight turn.

I feel like it is a silly argument on both sides at this point. Torque steer is mostly used any time the steering wheel jerks around as a consequence of you mashing the accelerator hard; it doesn't matter what factors "caused" it. It's like shooting a watermelon and then making a statement like the watermelon got "shot". Then arguing whether it was the gun or the bullet that blew up the watermelon. Can't be the gun because the gun never touched it. And technically it wasn't the bullet because you could walk up and set a bullet on the watermelon and it won't blow up. But wait, it's neither. The shooter did it. But the shooter didn't do it because the shooter by themselves can't "will" a watermelon to blow up. And on and on we go. :) Just say someone "shot the watermelon" and we all know what you mean.

Mike
Mike, your posts are clearly expressed. I thought you had the incorrect definition of torque steer, so I checked with numerous online opinions, and the general, but not unanimous consensus appears to agree with you.

In order to accent how ambiguous this definition is, I provide the following scenario.
Let's say your Bolt has severely worn out lower control arm bushings on the right front, so worn out, that stability control cannot completely hide the problem. When accelerating, the right front wheel moves forward of the normal position, increasing toe in, causing a pull to the left. The car pulling to the left while accelerating is defined as torque steer. When braking the right front wheel is pulled back from the normal position increasing toe out, causing a pull to the right. Is that pull to the right defined as torque steer? You say no because it is not caused by mashing the accelerator.

Here's another one. Let's say you have repaired the worn control arm bushings. Road has flooding and while accelerating hard, right front tire hits a deep puddle, starts spinning faster, and car pulls to the right. We already included in our torque steer definition that it can be caused by lack of traction while accelerating. So that pull to the right is torque steer. But when the right front tire hits the next deep puddle, the car is coasting. The car again pulls right, but this time it is not defined as torque steer because accelerator hasn't been mashed.

Yes, the torque steer definition requires it to be caused by engine torque.
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Yes, the torque steer definition requires it to be caused by engine torque.
This should not be surprising, given use of the word "torque" in the definition. Your example of uncommanded steer caused by worn components is not due to torque, so IMHO it would not be appropriate to label it "torque steer".

I suppose one could argue that torque is being applied to the steering knuckle by the worn components, but this seems to me like it's a stretch. In my mind the torque is the cause of the steering anomaly, not a result of something else.
This should not be surprising, given use of the word "torque" in the definition. Your example of uncommanded steer caused by worn components is not due to torque, so IMHO it would not be appropriate to label it "torque steer".

I suppose one could argue that torque is being applied to the steering knuckle by the worn components, but this seems to me like it's a stretch. In my mind the torque is the cause of the steering anomaly, not a result of something else.
Here are torque steer causes per wikipedia:
"Root causes for torque steer are:[2]
  • Incorrect sidewall ply design allowing deformation of the tire sidewall.[3]
  • Asymmetric driveshaftangles due to any combination of
    • Unequal driveshaft length or diameter

      Torque-steer effect simulated using MSC Adams
    • Transient movement of the engine
    • Tolerances in engine mounts
    • Body roll
    • Single wheel bump
  • Different driveshaft torques left to right (due to wheel bearing or differential problems)
  • Suspension geometry
  • Unequal traction forces due to road surface (-split) in combination with kingpin offset"
So my complaint about the definition is when the steering pull from these causes is experienced while the motor is applying torque it's called torque steer. But the very similar steering pull from that same cause when coasting or braking is not torque steer. Lousy definition then leads to controversy in this thread.
Here's more:
With regenerative braking (or after downshift in manual transmission vehile) the motor applies torque to the wheels. So a steering pull then is torque steer. But the similar steering pull (from one of the above listed causes) when friction bakes are applied is not torque steer.
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Torque steer is normal for high power FWD car but I think you can anticipate the pull and compensate for it.
However, the biggest issues I have is during construction area where there are multiple white/yellow lines that tend to confuse the lane keeping assist. When that happens I usually turn off LKA. It's usually a very helpful ADAS except in this situation.
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