Steering and Tracking Glossary

tail wagging the dog

Ever wonder what terms like Tail Wagging the Dog, Porpoising, or Dog Tracking mean in relation to suspension and steering? Here is a glossary of terms to help you speak the language like a pro.

Bottoming Out: When the suspension travels to its lowest limit and makes contact with the suspension stops.

Bounce: Bouncing may occur in the front of the coach, the rear, or both

Bump Steer: Occurs when the coach hits a bump and the steering wheel suddenly jerks to one side or the other on its own.

Dog Tracking: When the rear wheels of the vehicle do not follow or line up with the front wheels

Harsh Ride: The vehicle rides stiff. You can feel every crack, rut, or bump in the road.

Porpoising: The coach will teeter-totter in a front-to-back movement after encountering a bump in the road.

Returnability: After a turn is made, the steering wheel should come back to center.

Road Wander: The coach wants to move left or right even if the driver is steering straight.

Rut Tracking: The coach follows the grooves worn into the road or ridges that have been created where an asphalt surface meets a concrete road surface.

Shimmy: Occurs when the coach hits a bump and the steering wheel “shimmies” or shakes back and forth.

Side Play: This is excessive unilateral movement in any component in the steering or suspension systems.

Steering Play: When the driver moves the steering wheel to the left or right, there is little or no immediate response.

Sway: The coach leans, sways or rocks in a side-to-side motion.

Tail Wagging the Dog: This is where the rear end of the coach tends to swing to one side or the other.

Wind Drift: The coach is being pushed off its centerline of travel due to cross winds or passing vehicles.

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