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Hi I've just bought my 94 polo and love it with one exception.  On my first attempt at hitting 60mph I thought my number was up.  On a straight and flat road I went over a very, very small undulation. In a modem car or any car I've ever had it would have been either unnoticeable or a minor sensation, in the polo however, it skitted sideways so fast and without warning I was lucky to remain in control.  I genuinely thought I was a gonna, I slowed to 50mph and it settled back to a normalish drive. The best description I can provide is that it seemed to hop sideways, it's like the sterring wheel was savagely jarred but in reality I hardly felt much through the wheel apart from me trying to wrench it back under control.  There doesn't seem to be any playin the steering wheel and it tracks straight. It's had new brakes and tyres. Please help.  It's not that I particularly want to go faster than that but I also don't want to die if I do. 

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It's had new tyres, but has it had new decent tyres, or just whatever was cheap?


These don't handle like modern cars, end of, the suspension didn't really changed since 1974. You have to up your hazard perception a lot as they will react to things a modern heavy car with big wide tyres and wishbone suspension will hide from you.


Things to bear in mind -

 - They're small

 - They're very light

 - They have skinny tyres

 - The brakes can lock up really easily

 - The brake feel isn't great

 - The brakes can heat fade

 - You have no traction control

 - You have no ABS

 - You have no seatbelt pretensioners

 - You have no airbags. 

 - 10,000 grannies used to drive these things, and they lived to tell the tale. 

 - Quite a lot of people who are used to driving modern cars buy these and stack them because they try to drive them like a modern car. 


If you're in a modern car, you can pretty much drive how you want until there's a problem 10 feet from your bonnet, then mash the pedal in the middle and the car will sort it out for you, and if it doesn't, there's airbags. In an old polo, it's 100% up to you to figure out. 


Personally - When I drive an old Polo I consciously set my brain to motorbike mode. 

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if it was wet that'd explain a lot, If however it was dry and not windy I'd suggest you avoid potholes like your life depends on it as these cars do get caught with the small and narrow tyres. what a lot of people tend to do is fit wider wheels and tyres as it helps grip and allows you to feel a little more control 

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is it on standard sized wheels and tyres ?  any camber washers ? 


tyres good brand and inflated properly?


other than that , have a good look under it make sure everything is done up tight etc , but yeah as above you cant hoon about like you can in a brand new car  

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All the "fun" of owning what is almost an entirely analogue car, there are no 3 letter acronyms anywhere on it that are going to save your arse when it goes tits up. 


If its on stock suspension at speed you can get what can only be described as a floating feeling, at this point easing off is the best option or shit will occur. In the wet they can be fun but you cant break physics, at some point those skinny wheels will let go and will straighten out that bend/roundabout.


Brakes: Well, at least the 2F has a servo, but will lock up fairly easy if panic braking in the wet/on bends. check what pads you have, some had postage stamp sized ones, as an upgrade G40 pads ones should fit.


Steering: Think of it like a go-kart steering setup, the steering wheel is practically connected straight to the wheels, so no damping (unless its a g40), no electric/hydraulic power assistance, you will feel everything through it.

You will get exceptionally brilliant at spotting potholes, standard tyre size is 5.5" wide and these days most pot holes are about that deep. Cheap Tyres are cheap for a reason. 


As a precaution check that everything is tight and the ARB has no serious play in it. 

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thinking about it ...both times mine scared me when we first got it is what i think was the arb moving in the bushes on cornering 


most certainly worth checking those bushes are as new or upgraded if you wish


all the suspension bits are cheap and easy enough to fit with a basic tool set

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Probably repeating what has already been said here, but here goes. 

Your car is 23 years old. So there is bound to be a worn bushing or something somewhere. The suspension setup, although simple, any minor changes can have a big impact on how it handles. 

So if you've had new tyres, did you get the tracking checked at the same time? 

If the car has been lowered at all then an essential modification is nylon ARB blocks to replace the original ARB bushes. Then obviously an alignment. This is where I think a lot of people go wrong at first with these. 

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Firstly, can I thank you all for your replies. You have given me some fantastic information and things I can start checking but also you have had me laughing out loud too with your own tales of owning one. I reminded when I test drove it to my days of owning an 82 mk1 astra but I never drove it up past 35 on the test run.  It was only after I'd bought it and hit 60 did I think something may be seriously wrong but once I've worked my way through your suggestions, maybe this is just how they are and I'll keep it to 50mph max. 

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Get the tracking checked. 4 wheel allignemnt

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Thought the 1994 was a bit less primitive than audi 50 based mk1 or mk2(f) 1982-1990... so it has drop links maybe even PAS.

Are the shock absorbers in good nick? Does it bounce more than twice when you press down a front corner and release?

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