Go Kart Oversteer is the universal word used to describe a go kart that turned more than was expected.
What does that even mean? “Turns more than was expected”.
Doesn’t the driver have control of the steering wheel?
Why did they turn the wheel more than they should have?
Was it a mistake on the driver’s part?
Have you ever seen Cars… The movie? Turn Right to go left.
You can see as Doc Hudson enters the corner the rear of the car starts a different path around the corner. This is an oversteer condition.
The correction is beautiful from a pro like Doc. A slight input from the steering wheel brings the car back on track!
Oversteer – My Go Kart is Loose
Ideally a go kart will go around a corner with minimum steering wheel input from the driver. This will prevent the loss of speed.
When a go kart is ill handling the rear of the go kart may begin to track around a different corner.
Try to think about where the rear wheels are pointing to. The rear wheels should be in line with the optimal line around the corner. If the rear of the go kart comes around the rear wheels may now be facing the inside of the corner as if the corner was sharper than expected.
How to Correct Oversteer in a Go Kart
Correcting oversteer may be as simple as a slight input from the driver. Or it may be as complicated as a serious set up adjustment.
Driver Input – Go Kart Oversteer
Do not panic!
The worst reaction is an overreaction.
An over correction can result in disaster. We are not going to get into driving technique here but the short of it is you need to be smooth.
A smooth and small correction will bring the go kart back on the correct path and prevent you from crashing or losing speed.
If you start to experience an oversteer condition, simply steer slightly in the direction the go kart is sliding.
If you are turning left and the go kart oversteers. You will need to turn to the right
Take a look at these two pictures. One shows the perfect corner. Almost as if Lewis Hamilton was driving this bad boy. The other picture is of your local rookie trying to figure it out.
In the oversteer picture you can see that the go kart starts to track as if the corner is sharper than it really is. If the go kart continued along without any driver input the kart would have been in the grass.
Essentially the go kart oversteered the corner.
Steered too much
How else do you want me to explain this!
Go Kart Oversteer – Correcting with Setup
Simply put the front has too much grip and the rear does not have enough.
There are a couple ways to correct this issue.
First off, it’s never the driver’s fault….
Yea ok, let’s be real here. Starting out most of the problems will be the driver. Be humble and ask some questions
Driver Adjustment – Oversteer
Ask your competitors at the track. They may be able to help you. Ask them these questions.
- When do you start to turn into the corner?
- When do you lift going into the corner?
- When do you hit the brakes?
- Do you hit the brakes?
If they shrug you off then shame on them. Go kart racing is a family sport and everyone usually helps each other.
Watch the fast people. Follow them on the track the best you can. Mirror their line going into the corner. See how long you can keep up. Try to do the things they are doing. You may learn a thing or two.
Setup Adjustment – Karting Oversteer
So, you feel like you have the correct line and you have tried everything to prevent the go kart from oversteering.
Let’s make some changes
- Move the Front wheels in – Moving the front wheels in on the spacers will reduce the weight jacking effect and reduce front grip
- Lower Caster – Lowering caster will help reduce the amount weight is induced to the front wheels during cornering
- Raise Tire Pressure – Raising tire pressure on the rear tires will help increase bite in the tires
- Narrow the Rear Track width – Moving the rear tires so the track width is narrower will help put more weight on the rear tires. This gives the rear more grip
These four adjustments are basic and universal. Small oversteer condition, then make a small adjustment. Big oversteer issues, make a big adjustment. Another interesting view on go kart oversteer is explained here.
Which is better oversteer or understeer?
Oversteer is a more favorable condition.
Go karts will scrub more speed in an understeer condition. You can trail brake and change corner entry to ease a oversteer condition.
How Do I stop Oversteering?
Slow down your entry into the corner.
When you back down your entry you will have more of a chance to control the oversteering. You may not be able to stop oversteering and the go kart may require an adjustment
What does oversteer feel like?
Oversteer feels like you are rotating at a faster rate than the arc of the corner.
You will also feel lighter. Since the rear tires break traction the forces that pull you to the side will no longer be there.