torque pull

dzagdzag Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Mazda
Just bought a 2002 mazda protege 5 hatchback with 12,000 miles. Right front tire tread = 3/32 and left = 4/32. Rear treads were 6/32.

 After rotating, balancing and alignment the tire dealer tells me the car's pronounced pull to the right happens in some cars as a result of "torque pull".

Assuming everything is now to spec what permanent fix is available and who should do it?


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    and it's common with front wheel drive cars. Today's cars are much less pronounced than older front drivers.

    There's no real "fix", it's just a characteristic.

    If you're rotating at 12,000 miles, you should rotate much more frequently.
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    i wouldn't expect great handling with tire tread depths of 3/32 and 4/32.those should be replaced.i wouldn't drive on those in the winter time.a new tire measures atleast 10/32 and a lot of traction is lost when the tire even reaches 50% worn.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    and 2/32 is minimum legal depth in most states - those buggers are bald!
  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    Maybe not in rain or snow, but on dry pavement, I prefer about 2/32nds of tread, LOL

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    And I'm totally scared of them on anything but dry pavement - they're downright squirrelly.
  • dzagdzag Member Posts: 3
    My original question seems to have been left in the dust. Thanks to all for your thoughts on tires, but please note the 6/32 treads are now on the front and balanced and 4 wheel computer aligned. What can be done to correct the heavy right oversteer?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    individual FWD vehicles have different engine support, computer/transmission settings, balance of components, and the like. the theoretical engineer can well make a case that a RWD car also has a torque shift when you punch the engine as it shifts its weight due to friction in the drive train. probably won't tell it unless you have either hopped up the engine considerably for stock car racing, or are on ice.

    but on a FWD car, when you punch it up and the engine lays over to the side, generally to the right, it is also putting that extra weight on the driven wheels, not on the passive wheels. this will greatly exaggerate the effect, as you have discovered. I am told that in some cars, using counter-rotating camshafts and balance shafts reduces the torque shift of the engine, and in others the effects of torque shifts in the engine and transmission seem to add up for a greater side pull.

    short of massive redesign and reconstruction efforts, there is little way to minimize this torque steer effect in a particular model of car. you have to decide if you can stand it in a particular vehicle during the test drive.

    methods of living with it once you're stuck and decide you don't like the torque steer effect are driving like granny with eggs taped to the pedals, or cranking the wheel X amount left before pushing the gas down, X being dependent on your own reaction times and the amount of torque steer in a particular car.

    sorry, but there is no real neat answer, and no "mechanic-in-a-can" that can correct this.
  • dzagdzag Member Posts: 3
    swschrad thanks for the erudition. latter suggestion most helpful.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if you have worn springs or struts it will be more prone to have the steering "roll over" with the torque. so there is that possibility to improve the control.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Sounds good except fr one minor point; most fwd engines are transverse mounted and torque roll is fore and aft.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Doesn't the right front wheel get most of the initial power in a FWD car, or are they all posi now?

    I distinctly recall the r/f tire in my Saab turbo wearing at a far greater rate than the l/f tire, regardless of how I drove or rotated or whatever.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    but "torque steer" is the problem the guy is describing, and yes, the right front wheel shows more usage and wear inflection because the drive shaft is usually a little longer on the right side. Also, with the rotational direction of the engine, the side of the shaft that gets turned from the top to the bottom, versus the bottom to the top (as in the driver's side) will get more torque.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Member Posts: 1,391
    You can minimize torque steer in FWD cars by using equal length (left and right) driveshafts.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    That's why Chrysler used an intermediate shaft on the right side with higher torque engines, and GM has an extension of the diff to the right. Makes the shafts equal length, which in turn makes the CV joints operate through the same angles. Other strategies include one side shaft a solid rod which will allow some torsional twist, the other side a rigid tube.
  • oldharryoldharry Member Posts: 413
    All FWD cars have a little, especially on hard accelleration. Later model cars a designed to minimize the effect. If it did not do it before rotating the tires, the you probably have a tire problem. Cross the fronts, and see if the effect reverse or goes away. If it goes away, leave them there and use up your tires. if it reverses, you are in the market for a new set.


    P.S. Zues? Huh? Top to bottom/bottom to top? Axel length and angle have some effect, and a couple years on the "X" cars GM was putting a shim under one engine mount to minimize it. No 2002 automobile should have noticable torque steer at light throttle.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    because of the way the engine rotates - that's what I meant if I wasn't clear.
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