Novice needs advice (Spun out in the wet)

poverty rider

Active Member
Hi all,

I have a problem I need help with.

As anybody in SEQ would know it has been non-stop raining here for the last 24 hours or so. Last night, I was returning home from a family visit when my car spun out nearly 180 degrees on a roundabout. By no means am I a novice driver but I am a newbie behind the wheel of a 4WD and I have only owned this vehicle for less than a month. Fortunately, due to good luck and not good management, no damage occurred this time. My biggest worry is I don't know why I lost traction.

Details of incident.

Vehicle: 2005 Mazda Bravo B4000 with aluminium tray

Tyres: Rear - Hercules Terra Trac A/T 265/70R15
Front - Falken Wildpeak A/T 265/70R15

I approached the roundabout at a moderate speed (28kph according to my dashcam), and entered the roundabout. When I reached the apex of the turn I felt the rear end of the vehicle beginning to drift wide. My first thought was to lose speed and, probably incorrectly in retrospect, applied the brakes. At this point all wheels locked up and the car increased speed (by 4kph) and went into a spin until it stopped.

There was no visible debris or oil etc. on the road.

Once I had my car pointing in the right direction I continued my trip to a 2nd roundabout 500 metres further up the road. This roundabout has a gentler curve than the former and I experienced no issues.

Do I have crap tyres? Did the rear end give way because of lack of weight? Are there other factors I haven't considered?

I would certainly appreciate any advice or comments that better informed people can offer.

cheers

Brian
 

Tink

Well-Known Member
Few suggestions. How old are the tyres? They could be getting a bit hard and losing their grip? Secondly, being ATs, they are not as "grippy" in the wet as a HT or normal car tyre. You need to adjust your driving style a little to suit. Thirdly, no weight in the back of the ute was probably the most likely cause. Ute suspensions are designed to carry a load and without a load they are light in the rear end and prone to breaking away in corners. Again you need to adjust your driving style accordingly. Mate has a similar Mazda and his will lose it on roundabouts even in the dry if pushed hard enough.
 

Aaron Schubert

Moderator
It could be a number of things

- Oil on the road. I know you say there was no evidence, but often you can't see it.
- Aluminium tray (and a ute) means very little weight on the rear, which would make the rear lock up easily and slide very badly
- Tyre pressures too high (most likely I'd say)
- Old tyres - as they age they become hard and lose their 'stickiness'

Why does it have different tyres on the car? Isn't that unroadworthy?

Don't stress mate; just look at the above, and take it easy on your next roundabouts!

Aaron
 

Pure Yobbo

Moderator
Tyres in QLD just need to be matched left to right eg but can be different front to back,

It has been dry up here in SEQLD for sometime lots of residue on the roads I would say greasy roads along with you are now running a 4x4 tyre instead of a road tyre in a tray back ute with bugger all weight in the back. Welcome to driving 4x4 utes mate.
 

Superdad

Well-Known Member
I don't know about those specific tyres but I had a lesson in tyre importance on an SS commodore I used to own. When I picked it up second hand from the dealer, they said "and look, we out new tyres on it for you". I should have twigged but I didn't....

I had my ass saved twice by the traction control systems of the car in the wet, in conditions where I was not so driving stupidly or too fast.

After the second incident (sweeping right around the Jindabyne dam wall), I took it to a tyre shop for a review. They said they were the crappiest Chinese rip off tyres they had seen and I changed them for a set of Dunlop Direzza's.

The performance difference was extraordinary. Cornering, braking, wet weather, it was like a totally new car.

It may be obvious to those that know, but I had no idea just how important good tyres were to safety.

Long story short, check your tyres.
 

chris_stoffa

4x4 Earth Contributer
Something as simple as a combination of adverse camber on the roundabout, incorrect tyre pressures ( probably too high) , little or no weight on the rear , residual road grime , a tad too much right foot , a little too heavy on the brakes could be all you need to swap ends

Highly likely it was a combination of several factors rather than just one.
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
All good responses, here is a couple more. The camber on a lot of roundabouts slope in, however sometimes for reasons of drainage they slope outwards and that could make them a little hairy.
Road surface has a bearing. Bitumen can be real smooth, have rough texture, undulating with dips which could all have an effect.
If rear slides out, usually you point the vehicle where you want to go and accelerate a little. Over correction will create swaying back and forth and requires some experience. However if that's not helping, then braking while your back is out will take you into a spin. Then if you spin with rear swinging out and brake, this will make you spin inwards, better than a slide out into a pole or whatever. You basically "spin in an inward circle", that is a clockwise action. Not a bad thing if all else fails.
Maybe look at getting a defensive/ advanced driving course where you take your own vehicle to get a feel for it under all types of conditions. Braking, swerving,in wet and dry, also a skid pan to learn how to slide and correct. My five kids did these courses and it has helped them a lot.
A tray truck does not handle as well as any car basically, so you have to get a feel for its limitations.
Cheers.
 

poverty rider

Active Member
Thank you everyone for your informative answers. There were many points raised that I hadn't considered.

After reading the various replies I proceeded to sift through the info and re-check my car. Aaron's reply is brief and comprehensive so I'll respond using his quotes.


It could be a number of things

- Oil on the road. I know you say there was no evidence, but often you can't see it.
As I stated earlier I am an experienced driver. Also I am an avid motorcycle rider and I make a point to scan for oil and debris on the roads.

- Aluminium tray (and a ute) means very little weight on the rear, which would make the rear lock up easily and slide very badly
A fact that won't change.

- Tyre pressures too high (most likely I'd say)
Tyre pressures (cold) are 35psi. The sticker on the door recommends 30psi so I will rectify.

- Old tyres - as they age they become hard and lose their 'stickiness'
The front tyres are 1 year old but I was unable to determine the age of the Hercules tyres which leads me to believe they are old even though they have about 50% tread remaining.

Why does it have different tyres on the car? Isn't that unroadworthy?
While not illegal in QLD I am considering a new pair of FALKENS

I would appreciate any thoughts on the Falken tyre brand

Don't stress mate; just look at the above, and take it easy on your next roundabouts!
I will definately alter my driving style until I sort this problem out.

Aaron
 

Swaggie

Moderator
Roundabouts are notorious for being slippery when wet, also watch out for stop signs also. (vehicles stop there dumping oils etc) Mine being diesel can lock-up when wet in these areas.. But I am aware of it..

I was going to suggest 32 psi for your particular vehicle, plus being a tray its very light on the back end

Goodluck..
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
Agree with what others have said and could be any or a combination of all that caused it
Regardless I would be looking to add a bit of weight in your tray, it will ride and handle so much better
You can grab a couple of bags of sand and leave them in their or add a water tank or some jerry cans so that you can easily drop your weight if you were picking up a load and then add the water back later
Some people mount a decent lump of steel bar on the drawbar to settle the rear end as well
 

billolga

Well-Known Member
Hydroplaning can be a problem to & you don't have to go very fast to get that. ABS of course helps but I can tell you, you can still get Hydroplaning with them as we sometimes did in Aircraft. (The water under the tyre would boil & leave a print on the tyre like a blow torch but didn't effect it).

With Hydroplaning the depth of the tread is a big factor as is slamming on the brakes. If we felt Hydroplaning we would release the brakes for a second to get the wheels spinning & hit them back on.
 

poverty rider

Active Member
Agree with what others have said and could be any or a combination of all that caused it
Regardless I would be looking to add a bit of weight in your tray, it will ride and handle so much better
You can grab a couple of bags of sand and leave them in their or add a water tank or some jerry cans so that you can easily drop your weight if you were picking up a load and then add the water back later
Some people mount a decent lump of steel bar on the drawbar to settle the rear end as well

Suggestion taken onboard. I have heard this but I have never spoken to anyone who has added weight.
 

chris_stoffa

4x4 Earth Contributer
Suggestion taken onboard. I have heard this but I have never spoken to anyone who has added weight.

3-4 bags of cement - $8 each - makes a world of difference :D

Gets the springs down off the top of their travel and gives you a better ride as the springs can now cycle up and down with out topping out.

This then allows the shockers to travel and work both ways for you .
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
Agree with what others have said and could be any or a combination of all that caused it
Regardless I would be looking to add a bit of weight in your tray, it will ride and handle so much better
You can grab a couple of bags of sand and leave them in their or add a water tank or some jerry cans so that you can easily drop your weight if you were picking up a load and then add the water back later
Some people mount a decent lump of steel bar on the drawbar to settle the rear end as well

Suggestion taken onboard. I have heard this but I have never spoken to anyone who has added weight.

3-4 bags of cement - $8 each - makes a world of difference :D

Gets the springs down off the top of their travel and gives you a better ride as the springs can now cycle up and down with out topping out.

This then allows the shockers to travel and work both ways for you .

Yeah. Years ago we filled the car boots up with bags of sand or cement. Sure got better grip. Also doing 90 degree handbrake spins on dirt roads was good training? experience?:eek:
Don't try this at home ( I mean on a dirt road).:D
 

Paddler Ed

Well-Known Member
To counter the rain soaked roads, look for something with plenty of siping; this makes it closer to a European winter tyre, where they are designed to work on icy and wet roads compared to a standard all season. We had a corner near where we used to live in the UK where the wife reckoned on winters (even cheapo Italian remoulds) she could take the corner a bit faster without the traction control light coming on compared to the Bridgestones that were on it the rest of the year.

Also check the rubber hardness, my Nankang Mudstars are much harder under a finger nail compared to a mates BFG KM2's; we (wife) gets the 4Runner sideways some times on some of the roads near us here with a gentle prod...

For siping, the All Terrains can be a better option than a mud, but look carefully at them as an All Terrain is not the same as a winter tyre (which are also a softer compound again, which works better at lower temperature)

Have a look at the hardness of the tyre, the harder tyres will last better, but at the trade off of feel and grip (my old Coopers were like that)

Sorry, a bit rambling...

Ed
 

chris_stoffa

4x4 Earth Contributer
Yeah. Years ago we filled the car boots up with bags of sand or cement. Sure got better grip. Also doing 90 degree handbrake spins on dirt roads was good training? experience?:eek:
Don't try this at home ( I mean on a dirt road).:D

Just for a laugh we tried three cement bags tied to the lowered tailgate in the ute while practicing "driving" on wet grass paddocks

( "Driving" = Yahooing :D on private farm land )

Talk about swap ends at a great rate of knots - happens in a heart beat:D:D

Also great experience

So Poverty - put the weight over the back axle - not at the back of the tray ;)
 

Aaron Schubert

Moderator
Different cars require different driving styles. I lost it going around a corner on very slowly in my Hilux with almost brand new mud terrain tyres. Completely out of the blue; it's just a reminder to slow down a bit more and take it just that bit easier.

Aaron
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
Yep. Doing an advanced drivers course many years ago my instructor was amazed that I was able to go 100 k.p.h. to dead stop on a wet track without activating my ABS on my new company car and stop in shorter distances then those who did activate their ABS.
Today I drive vehicles with ABS and still have never activated them in any of my emergency stops. I must admit however in my wife's front wheel drive I have activated her traction control because I do like to put the pedal to the metal.:D
Maybe because of the great options, safe driving bell and whistles, the car takes care of itself and you.
Until the proverbial hits the fan and we don't know what the hell to do.
Gone are the days of manual gears,toe and heel changing down.
That is, right toe on the brake pedal,at the same time, right heel on the accelerator pedal giving you the revs for correct change down of gears and left foot is throwing clutch in and out as you go down.
I think it's called having a feel for your car.
P.S. Make sure you cut your gear stick down to 10 cm for quicker changes.:D
 

poverty rider

Active Member
Update: Replaced the Hercules with 2 new Falkens. That means the same tread on all four tyres.

The tyre fitter increased tyre pressure to 40 psi, he reckons anything lower would be too soft and no good for the tyre walls.

I've got a toolbox coming that should help put extra weight over the axle.

Lastly, I would like to thank all the forumites who chimed in with their words of wisdom and advice. I have taken everyone's comments on board and they're greatly appreciated.

cheers
Brian
 
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