While electric vehicles are a new development in the car industry, some parts and components are common in several types of cars, such as hybrids, electric vehicles, and traditional combustion engine vehicles. The parts include brakes, the suspension system, wheels and tires, and steering components.
In many cars produced today, a vast number of critical areas, like the ones mentioned above, run with the help of complex onboard computers that constantly monitor real-time driving conditions and then pass the information to various components so that they can act accurately and fast. A good example is the electric stability control (ESC) system, which relies on ultra-modern technology which prevents the vehicle from skidding.
What Makes Vehicles Skid?
When a vehicle moves too fast under not-so-good road conditions, causing it to exceed the traction limit, it will skid. Two types of skids can occur in this situation – oversteer and understeer. When the rear part of the vehicle losses traction and there’s an attempt to overtake the front part, the car usually spins around, which is the oversteer. Understeer, on the other hand, occurs when the front tires can’t manage a good grip on the road, making the car causing the car to proceed moving straight while the driver attempts to make a turn. These two types of skidding situations are pretty dangerous and are among the common causes of serious accidents occurring on the roads. For any car fanatic, I would very much recommend you take a look at Tune 4 performance.
What is the Use of the ECS?
ESC is a complicated safety feature that can prevent skidding in vehicles, in fact, up to 80%. The components work by monitoring the vehicle’s every move and behaviour, for instance, leaning or rolling angle, and realizing when the car tires start to lose traction with the road. When the ESC detects the likelihood of a skid, the feature can automatically change the engine’s speed and cause braking to each wheel as necessary to help the vehicle regain control and avoid spinning and losing control.
However, the effectiveness of the ESC depends on the condition of a vehicle’s suspension and the tires.
The ESC system makes the assumption that the tires and suspension are in perfect condition, the same as when the vehicle was new, and the corrective measures to curb skidding were being calculated. But, assuming the tires are in poor condition and the ESC sends a notification to apply the brake on a given wheel, the car may lack sufficient grip to cause the necessary corrective measure, making it difficult to prevent skidding. As a result, vehicles should undergo regular tire maintenance and monitoring to ensure they are safe for driving.
How Do Shock Absorbers Function?
Besides having tires in good condition, the shock absorber feature also significantly contributes to maintaining firm contact between vehicle tires and the road. These features work by letting the car coil springs compress and suck up impacts caused by bumps, then extending the springs to the initial rightful ride height. This helps the tire to firmly grip the road surface, maintaining maximum traction for braking and steering. A vehicle with well-maintained tires and properly functioning shock absorbers have more tire surface area in contact with the road surface, improving traction and the vehicle’s general performance.
Like the worn-out tires example, assuming the ESC system transmits a signal to brake the back left wheel and the shock absorbers are not in good condition, the vehicle could lack the traction needed to prevent skidding.
Like any other vehicle parts, shock absorbers are also prone to performance degradation with time as the vehicle continues to hit the road. The cause of this is the hydraulic oil, majorly used in most shock absorbers (even the gas shock absorbers), going through the metal valves located in the shock absorber during extension and compression, leading to wear.