All About ESC
Despite the inevitable rise in demand for electric vehicles, certain parts of automobiles remain remarkably consistent between conventionally powered cars, electric vehicles, and hybrid models. Such parts include vital components such as the wheels and tyres, brakes, steering apparatus, and crucially, the suspension.
Furthermore, these components are tightly regulated through the precision of onboard computer systems, constantly scanning and analysing the vehicle’s driving conditions to guarantee the utmost safety and efficiency for the driver. One of the many advanced electronic systems in place is the electronic stability control (ESC), an ingenious system designed to prevent skidding that operates with absolute precision every millisecond.
Although electric vehicles may capture the attention of motorists everywhere, the automotive industry is unlikely to see any radical changes in the fundamental workings of automobiles anytime soon. There will remain a core group of components fundamental to the operation of any car, conducting a symphony of complex back-and-forth communication between the vehicle and its onboard computers to ensure flawless performance.
What causes a vehicle to skid?
The majority of severe collisions materialise when automobiles are driven excessively fast for the present road surface conditions, which can result in surpassing the permissible boundary for traction. Such circumstances can instigate a vehicle to undertake either an oversteer reaction, characterised by the backend of the car chaperoning the frontal portion, spinning the automobile uncontrollably, or an understeer response, where the front wheels are unable to manoeuvre collectively, and the car struggles to stay on its intended trajectory.
What does ESC do?
Electronic stability control (ESC) is a technological marvel that can avert the nightmare of skidding, potentially saving lives and vehicles. By sensing the angles of tilt and rolls of the car and identifying the loss of grip on the road surface, ESC can spring into action almost instantaneously. ESC can lower the engine speed and trigger the brake system of a specific wheel at precisely the right time to steer the car back on track.
Though ESC has become a standard safety feature on most automobiles in the UK, its formidable potential remains curtailed by the wear and tear of the vehicle’s tyres and suspension. The underlying premise of ESC is that the tyres and suspension function in pristine condition, akin to the moment they rolled off the car factory’s assembly line. Thus, if any slippage occurs and ESC triggers the rear left wheel to brake, it does so based on the assumption of optimal tyre traction. Therefore, if the tyres are woefully worn and lack the necessary grip, ESC’s intervention may fail to bring the car back from a dangerous skid. Therefore, keeping a vigilant eye on the tyres and maintaining them religiously is of the utmost importance for ensuring safe driving.
How do shock absorbers work?
In addition to possessing tyres that are in a state of impeccable condition, shock absorbers play an indispensable role in ensuring that they remain firmly pressed against the tarmac. This is primarily due to the fact that as the surface area of the tyre that touches the ground increases, so does its degree of traction which, in turn, significantly affects the vehicle’s ability to steer and brake with optimal efficacy.
Although a vehicle’s coil springs diminish the jarring effects of road irregularities by compressing, it is the shock absorber that permits the spring to extend effortlessly back to its level ride height. This function, in particular, is vested in maintaining an enduring contact between the tyre and the road, which is particularly pivotal when operating the vehicle on tough terrains, off-road circumstances, and unpredictable weather conditions.
To that end, if the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) dispatches a message to activate the brake, say, on the rear left wheel, and the shock absorbers are deteriorated or irreparably worn out, the vehicle fails to cling on to the surface of the road with the required tenacity. Ultimately, this results in a plethora of hazards, with skidding being the most prevalent and life-threatening occurrence that exists.
The performance of your shock absorbers will decline over time. The cause of this is the oil that runs through the metallic valves in the shock absorber, which causes wear and tear on the shock absorber. The valves are tired and allow more oil to flow through their orifices with each movement, which leads to a reduction in fluidic resistance that undermines their ability to absorb shocks. This inevitably results in a vehicle that feels less stable and lacks the same handling characteristics as it did when it was brand new.