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Negative and Positive Camber Symptoms in Your Vehicle

March 19, 2016 | Quick Service Info

Camber refers to the wheel’s vertical position with respect to the surface of the road that you are driving on. A negative camber takes place when the uppermost part of both front wheels start to incline on the inside towards the centerline of the frames or chassis. A positive camber takes place when the topmost parts of the wheels start to incline outwardly from the centerline of the frame or chassis. For a positive camber to occur, it must work in cooperation with the steering axis inclination (SAI) with the intention of reducing the exertions of the steering wheel. However, when a positive camber occurs in old vehicles that have independently replaceable wheel compartments, the greater inner wheel bearing endures all the weight of the vehicle.

Camber functions

When it comes to your car’s stability, especially when making corners, camber plays a significant role. For the most part, a positive camber helps to stabilize your car, whereas a negative camber commonly helps high-performance cars to make swift and accurate corner turns. The angle of the camber (measured in degrees) pinpoints exactly how far off the tire tilts away from the vertical axis when observed in a straight line from the rear to the front of your car.

Negative and positive camber effects

A negative camber tilts the two front tires on the axle in the center direction of your car. Both tires will always develop the same counteracting force of “camber thrust” even as you drive your car in a straight line. This is the same principle that enables all vehicles to make corner turns as they lean. If at all your car runs over a bump and causes one of the front tires to lose some grip on the road, the negative camber of the other tire will respond by pushing your vehicle towards the tire that had lost its grip. As such, your car will lose most of its balance or stability, which may make it more vulnerable to tramlining. Furthermore, too many camber angles will lessen the obtainable grip to make the vehicle go in a straight line, especially when accelerating rapidly and making sudden and hard stops.

A positive camber is the outward leaning of the wheels, which is measured in degrees. You will feel your car pulling to the side if it has a more positive camber. Many vehicles with front-wheel-drives have a non-adjustable camber. When you realize that your car is out of a camber, perhaps from an accident, you must replace or repair the worn or bent component that is related to your wheels.

Most vehicles have a positive camber fixed on them with the intention of improving the quality of their rides and the stability of their vehicle. However, high-performance automobiles may need a better performance in order to make perfect corners. In one way or another, you can consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle’s manufacturer to identify these particular angles before applying the appropriate settings. The identified angles will help in aligning the angles of the wheel camber properly.

Read also: Hydraulic Power Steering Rack and Pinion Leaks Symptoms and Repair Cost

Before adjusting the camber settings of your vehicle, you should know that even though some negative or positive cambers enhance your vehicle’s performance, excessive use of both can be detrimental. The camber affects your car’s suspension, especially its rubber bushings. Both the negative and positive cambers make the bushings wear down over time, leading to too much movement in the suspension. Hence, the extra flexibility results in a poor cornering performance as well as quicker and irregular tire wear.

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