Q: What is Tire Camber?

asked by on November 16, 2015

What is tire camber?

When talking about your alignment, you may hear terms like camber, caster, or toe. These are all angles that are built into your suspension that affect the way that your vehicle drives, handles, and how the tires wear. Over time each of these angles will change from normal wear and tear. They can also change from hitting objects in the road or from modifying your vehicle. Camber is one of the main angles that will cause your vehicle to pull while driving and can cause excessive tire wear.

Camber is the tilt of the tire. When you look at the front or rear tires on your car, you may notice that the tire has a tilt in or out, or it may be straight up and down. If the tire sits perfectly vertical, that is known as zero camber. If the top of the tire tilts out, or away from the vehicle, that is known as positive camber. If the tire tilts inward, or towards the vehicle, that is known as negative camber. Most vehicles will be set at or near zero camber. This all depends on the design of the suspension. If the tire is negative, or tilted inward, more than it should be, the tire will wear excessively on the inside shoulder of the tread. If the tire is excessively positive, or tilted outward, it will wear fast on the outer shoulder of the tire. Camber can also cause your vehicle to pull. Because it is the tilt of the tire, if one side is tilted more than the other, or if they are tilted in opposite directions, then your vehicle will want to pull.

Over time your camber will change on your vehicle. The most common cause is normal wear and tear which will cause subtle changes in the camber angle. Anytime there is a big change in your camber angle, it is due to a part that has failed or a part that has come loose. If this is the case, the suspension needs to be fully inspected to identify any problems. Modifying your suspension will also cause some serious changes in your camber angle. Whether the vehicle is lifted to raise it off of the ground, or lowered closer to the ground, it will change the camber. Most of the time it will change it drastically causing some serious tire wear issues.

The camber can be adjusted on many vehicles. Most rear wheel drive vehicles will have camber adjustments on the front suspension. It is not as common in front wheel drive cars. If the camber angle is not within specifications, it will need to be adjusted. This may require that the suspension components be moved to adjust the camber, or you may need some parts replaced. If some of the suspension components are worn out then those will need to be replaced first before an alignment can be done. If the suspension is fine then you may need aftermarket camber kits installed to get the camber within specifications. Once the suspension is repaired or determined to be fine, the vehicle will need to be aligned. This should only be done with a computerized alignment machine.

Though there are several alignment angles built in to your suspension, camber is one that needs an in-depth look. Not only will it cause tire wear and vehicle pulling, it also gives a good indication as to the health of the suspension of your vehicle. Unfortunately camber cannot be properly adjusted or inspected without an alignment machine, but getting it checked twice a year can keep you from having any serious issues or unexpected tire replacements.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

The dash shows warning lights on, the alarm goes off

It is possible that you could be experiencing an alternator failure. When alternators fail, they can cause a number of electrical issues to occur that seem unrelated. My best recommendation would be to have your battery and alternator professionally tested...

Road noise from the front end. I thought the tires were bad. replaced the tires and the noise is still there?

If you are hearing noise from the front wheel bearings, then you will have a noise that will get louder the faster you go. The noise may get more or less as you turn the wheel left or right. ...

Between 35-40 mph a harmonic vibration in car cabin

Since it sounds like you have ruled out tires and tire balance, it's time to start looking at other things. The problem could be the driveshaft or possibly a faulty wheel bearing. However, the fact that it goes away after...

Tires and rims keep getting damaged

Hello. There could be a problem with the suspension on your car. The control arm, ball joint, and inner or outer tie rod could be damaged. This will cause excessive wear on the tires. There could also be damage...

Is my rack opinion damaged?

The rack and pinion gear set does two things: It converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion needed to turn the wheels. It also provides a gear reduction, making it easier to turn the wheels...

I've just had my car aligned and new tires put on, and my car when at highway speeds feels loose, and wanders from side to side.

Hi. It sounds like there may be some loose suspension and steering parts in the front end of your car. There is a possibility that the steering parts that were loosened to do the alignment were not tightened all the...

What is causing the steering wheel vibration?

Anytime you have a vibration in the steering or the steering pulls, the first thing I would recommend doing is to check all the tire pressures, then balance and rotate the tires from front to rear and road test it...

Not sure what part my car needs. It it shakes when I'm getting off the high way. And it feels like it's dancing in the front.

Hello, thank you for writing in. When dealing with a shake or wobble, its always best to start with the simplest options and work your way up in complexity. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and have the tires...

Tires easily go flat when hit curbs at slow speed

The angle at which the impact occurs is more important than the speed at which the impact occurs. The tire will lose air if the angle of the impact shifts the tire off of the rim bead. Another possible...

Related articles

How Do I Take Care of My New Tires?
You’ve You’ve equipped your car with a brand new set of tires, replacing the old set of worn out rubber. They were noisy, and every time you had to brake hard, you were losing traction. Now you’ve spent your hard-earned...
How Do I Take Care of My New Tires?
You’ve You’ve equipped your car with a brand new set of tires, replacing the old set of worn out rubber. They were noisy, and every time you had to brake hard, you were losing traction. Now you’ve spent your hard-earned...
Can I Safely Add Camber to My Wheels?
It’s It’s increasingly common to see “tuner” cars (or less commonly, pickup trucks) with extreme camber settings — in other words, with wheels and tires that are noticeably tilted relative to vertical. Some owners may wonder whether changing their camber...