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How Does Camber Impact Alignment?

Posted: Monday, July 8th 2013

Camber AngleA proper alignment ensures that all four wheels are in the recommended position for your type of vehicle. This is fundamental to preserving both your vehicle’s safety and the tread life on your tires. The way each wheel is positioned on your vehicle is determined by three primary measurements: camber, caster, and toe.  These measurements have standards that a technician uses as targets of adjustment (depending on the type of vehicle). Generally, the goal is to get as close as you can to these standards. In this article, we’ll review camber.

Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the front tires as viewed from the front of the vehicle.  The actual camber angle is the measure (in degrees) of the difference between the wheels’ vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface. If a wheel is perfectly perpendicular to the surface, its camber would be 0 degrees. Camber is described as negative when the top of the tires tilt inward. Consequently, when the top of the tires tilt away from the vehicle it is considered positive.

Camber is used to distribute load across the entire tread. Improper camber can make the tire wear on one edge and may cause the vehicle to pull to the side that has the most positive camber.

Zero camber will result in the most uniform tire wear over time, but may reduce performance during cornering. The optimal camber setting will depend upon your vehicle type, your driving style and the conditions the vehicle is being driven in.

An aggressive driver may prefer the advantages of a negative camber. A negative camber setting can provide increased handling during heavy cornering.  However, it generally reduces the contact surface between the tires and the road surface during straight ahead driving.

Positive camber may be ideal for off-road vehicles such as large agricultural tractors.  In these types of vehicles, the positive camber angle helps to minimize the amount of steering effort.

If you have questions about camber or your vehicle’s alignment, please contact your nearest Dunn Tire store.