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Q: FWD Camber Adjustment

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So I just got my alignment done and my driver's side front camber is off by a fraction (negative). Can the front camber on FWD cars be adjusted? I have read it cannot be. I just don't want abnormal wear.

Mark Halvorson

My car has 74777 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

A: The preferred front camber setting for your...

The preferred front camber setting for your car is 0.4 degrees negative, which means that the top of your tire is tilted inward, toward the centerline of the car, ever so slightly. That slight inward tilt promotes stability when cornering. There is a range, though, of acceptable front camber settings for your specific vehicle, and so long as the camber is in the range of negative 1.4 degrees to positive 0.6 degrees, that is considered acceptable (again, the preferred setting, though, is 0.4 degrees negative). Of concern is cross-camber which refers to the difference in the camber value between the two sides of the car. If there is too much difference in camber, say more than 0.5 degrees, the car will tend to pull toward the side that has more positive camber. So, it is not just a question of whether each side is within the relatively wide range of acceptable camber values but also whether the difference in camber between the two sides is kept to a minimum. Often, factory service manuals will specify a maximum value for this "cross camber".

Although some cars are designed these days to leave the factory with more or less "fixed" camber (that is the camber angle is simply a consequence of assembling pre-designed parts and no adjustment is provided after assembly at the factory), there are always aftermarket kits, consisting of special eccentric bolts, plates, and adjustable control arms, that can be used. Such is not very common though. In addition, many of the aftermarket strut assemblies have designed in adjustment which can actually be "unfortunate" in the case of the vehicles that were built with "fixed" pre-set camber because with these aftermarket camber adjustable struts, for sure you must have the car aligned after merely switching out the struts. On your car, there is minimal camber adjustment available on the front, probably +- 0.2 degrees. The ideal thing to have done in your circumstance is obtain a print-out of the final alignment angles and then you can just simply compare those values against the factory specs for your car and see if it meets your needs for precision. As far as tire wear is concerned, so long as the alignment is within factory specs, the two things that will guarantee maximum service life from your tires is regular rotation every 6,000 miles, without fail, and maintenance of the correct air pressure. Tire rotation is not optional if you want to get reasonable service life out of tires. If we can assist you further, by all means let us know.

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