Next thought: Understeer, Oversteer, and the "First United Bank of Traction"
These are a little beyond the basics...they are more some of the nastier side effects of messing with the suspension geometry (and your personal driving style..or lack thereof)
First, the "Bank" of traction. I'll credit Motorcycle Roadracing Guru Keith Code for planting this philosophy in my noggin (along with the Bank of Concentration..which is more of a racing strategy.)
All right, what is "Traction" ?...it is the amount of force available by the interaction between the tire and pavement. In Physics terms, it'* the normal force and the three coeeficients of friction (static, rolling, and sliding.)
That seems a little dry...so back to the "First United Bank of Traction" analogy...we each have an account at the bank. The money in that account is the sum of the traction from each tire at any given moment. How much money we have changes based on the road surface, the tire temp and compound, and how we choose to spend that traction at any given moment.
So, we go tooling down the road at a steady speed, in a straight line, on a warm sunny day with good tires. Cool, we are fat happy cats with a ton of traction in our bank accounts to spend.
Rain comes along, pavement gets wet, temps go down. We are not the fat cats anymore, as our back account of traction is a little light..better be carefull how we spend it.
Rain turns to ice and snow...Ok, we are screwed and about to be overdrawn at the bank of traction just going in a straight line...we had better be really carefull how we spend our traction funds.
Now, How DO we spend from the bank of traction?
Well, anything we do to make the car deviate from travelling in a straight line at a constant speed is spending money from the bank of traction.
First, stomping on the gas spends traction bucks. Pretty obvious to anyone drag racing...hammer the gas too hard and you are suddenly overdrawn at the bank of traction as wheel spin takes place and clouds of tire smoke errupt from the contact patches. (Don't answer the phone...it'* either the bill collectors or the EPA looking for you.) In physics terms, you transitioned from the rolling coeficient of friction to the sliding coefficient of friction...ok, you really didn't need to know that...suffice to say your wrote a check your tires can't cash
Next, standing on the brakes can also cause problems at the bank of traction...when you hit them too hard the tires are overdrawn and you hopefully slide to a stop without hitting anything solid or expensive to fix.
Last, making the car change directions with the steering wheel spends money from the bank of traction. This is the sneeky one, because we are so fixated on acceleration and braking that we often forget that turning left or right spends traction bucks too...often a lot more than we think.
So, You should be getting the drift of this by now...You spend traction through acceleration, braking, and turning or some combination of them. You just have to know how much cash you have at any given moment in the bank of traction before you spend it.
Now, we talked about weight transfers in the suspension of the car...that'* like the car shuffling around the money in our bank of traction..some in savings, some in checking, a little in the Christmas fund. The car'* suspension reacts to how we drive by moving traction around from wheel to wheel. If the car'* suspension is pretty good at this money manegment, no wheel has less traction available than it really needs when we go and spend it.
Oversteer is one condition where the money manager at the bank of traction is not on the job. It happens when the car becomes unbalanced in a turn and the rear wheels start to slide to the outside of a turn in a skid. The weight transfer got messed up and not enough force is pressing on the rear tires to hold the side loads they need to generate. Worst case, the car swaps ends as the rear wheels break free (Overdrawn at the bank of traction again.) Can be fun if you dig doing doughnuts in the parking lot for kicks...not so fun is it happens in a turn when you are not expecting it.
Understeer is the exact opposite...the FRONT wheels are now overdrawn at the bank of traction and the car doesn't want to make the turn you just told it to do! This is pretty hard to do, and it takes a really bad suspension setup to induce understeer. As the driver, it is more likely to wrote this bad check yourself...usually by trying to accelerate or brake the car in a hard turn.
In terms of driving style, the first rule of roadracing is never ask the car to do more than one thing at a time! (Ok, it'* the second rule..the first rule is Don't Panic!) You brake before you enter a turn, execute the turn with enough throttle to maintain the car'* cornering speed without unbalancing the suspension, then you can accelerate out of the turn as the turning forces lighten up. The tires are generating traction into the bank account and you are spending it on one thing at a time. Try to spend on more than one thing at a time and you are going for a little excursion off into the haybales.
Just keep in mind, that your chassis setup dictates what you can spend and when you can spend it. Do it right and you'll have a lot of traction to spend. Screw it up..well..you get the point.