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Explaining Camber, Caster & Toe

Created on 2011-03-03 by IPD Staff

Caster is the angle at which your wheels are connected to your car’s suspension, much like the rake on the front forks of a motorcycle. Caster adjustments translate into steering effort. The greater the positive degree of caster, the more strength it takes to steer the car at low speeds, but the car is more stable at higher speeds. Knowing how you typically drive (around town? mostly highway?) is key to adjusting the caster.

Camber is the angle at which the top of the tire is tipped in (or out) in comparison to the bottom of the tire. Camber adjustments can help a vehicle compensate for older or softer springs, or for carrying a heavy load. It is also the adjustment most responsible for even tire wear.

Toe is the adjustment that is most critical to the forward movement of the tire. If the front leading edge of the tire is splayed out, the toe score is in the negative range (-). If the leading edge is turned in, the score is in the positive range (+). If a vehicle had a negative toe on the left front tire, and a positive toe on the right front tire, it would be in a “perpetual turn,” reflected by the car’s tendency to drift in one direction.

Every one of these adjustments represents a safety factor not just a performance factor (and there’s an economic factor if you’re going through tires rapidly).

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