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Horrifying understeer


Ray Ward
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Hi all, I have a 2005 Forester XT no turbo 2.0 auto; I'm experiencing horrifying understeer under wet / greasy road conditions, front end will go into understeer and suddenly break away, the back end then goes and the car feels like it could flip, I'm not a mad driver either, tyre pressures are ok, tyres have about 5000 left on them 

Any clues ?? I like the car but my inclination is to get rid as it feels dangerous.

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Are the tyres any good or budget brand chineseium rubber ?

How old are they (check the date code on tyre wall)

Seems it only happen in wet tyre issue seems most likely thus good thing check first along with basic suspension visual checks.

I've driven a few cars such as evo's gtr's with poor tyres and it frightening as normally they above average handling vehicles.
Cause in most cases either junk chinese tyres or tyre compounds gone rock hard as so old .

The forester is pretty good handling and suspension pretty durable besides rear sls struts that sag with age (that effects handling but not to your degree)

As it a serious safety issue to you and others make proper effort get to bottom of it .

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As above check for uneven tyre wear,tyre brand and compound of tyre .

You can cross referance the weather type and compound of your existing tyres on a tyre site link "black circles".

You might find that they're a cheap tyre that underperform in the wet .

On my first scooby it had half worn bridgestones on the rear and brand new "yin sing ditchfinders" on the front . Not only did the abs seem to kick in early but the understeer was horrible .

I switched the tyres front to rear and with the part worn medium compound good branded tyres on the front , it braked and cornered much better .

Admittedly most cars leave the factory set up with understeer, as its eaiser to correct by lifting off the throttle but the awd and boxer layout tend to mean most Subaru's handle fairly well. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had Yokohamas from new, on my 66 plate Forester & they were terrible at the front, much the same as your experience. Try Vredestein Sportrac5, they are much better. Usual disclaimer, I have no connection with that tyre maker or any particular dealer other than a very happy Vredestein user.

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Agree with Vred Sportracs, an excellent tyre.

We have two sets for the XT,  Fulda Sport Control thingies in 17" flavour, these really are very good tyres in both wet and dry, stick like the proverbial to a blanket, But, a hard noisy ride is the price paid and when they are worn out i shall find something else, possibly Falkens which are doing very well on daughter's Civic which she thrashes to hell, but you won't find much better in the wet than Uniroyal Rainsports, though to be fair i've never tried them on a Scoob myself and they wear quickly but are usually cheap to buy from Camskill or similar.

The winter set, 16", are Cooper Weathermaster and once during last winter the car felt extremely skittish on one particular roundabout, but that never repeated itself elsewhere and i think it was either excess salt dropped there attracting the damp, or possibly a previous fuel spillage, the ride on these tyres is much softer and forgiving and i could well be tempted to move away from the 17" and go for 16" all year round....those 215/55 x 17 sizes are particularly expensive too, much more palatable in 215/60 x 16.

As for general skittishness, i agree with above this must be the tyres unless there is a serious fault with the car, the previous Outback and the current XT have been the most stable in all weather cars i've ever driven, just point in the direction you want to go and the cars just sort it all out for you.

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