Q: Rear driver side tire is slanted, causing wear on the inside.

asked by on October 10, 2016

I went to have an alignment completed on the 2008 Dodge Caliber. The mechanic told me he could not align the rear tires and I needed to purchase a $400 adjustable rear lower control arm and my car did not have an adjustable lower control arm. At the time I said no thanks, and now I see the tire is bent and think there must be another spot to adjust the rear tire because the current control arms are straight from the factory. I researched and looks like I need what's called a camber kit (bolt) I can adjust the rear tires 1 3/4 inch inside and out. Also I feel I need to replace the rear lower control arm as well.

What are your thoughts?

My car has 214000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi, thanks for writing in. Camber on the rear wheels of your vehicle is not adjustable. Your vehicle was set up at the factory with fixed negative camber in the range of one-half to to 1 degree although values as low as 0 degrees (i.e., no camber) are acceptable for certain wheel diameters. With negative camber, the top of the wheels are leaning inward (again, by design) which lean will tend to wear the inside tread of the tire, just as you are observing. Regular rotation of the tires, every 6,000 miles, tends to minimize that effect. I would ask the shop if your camber exceeds 1 degree negative. If it does not, then the solution (to tire wear) in your circumstance is more frequent rotation of the tires. However, if the camber exceeds 1 degree negative, the suspension parts are worn, bent or damaged because camber was set at the factory based on OEM parts. If camber is no longer within the allowed range set at the factory, obviously one or more parts has worn out although it possible the frame could be damaged, too. Before considering aftermarket fixes, you have to confirm that there is no way to restore the measurement to that which it was built with originally. If you would like help, consider having an expert automotive technician from YourMechanic come to your home or office to inspect your vehicle for you and speak with you about what’s going on with the car.

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