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Camber settings.

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Following on from the post last week about alignment which can be found here.

We will delve into camber settings and how they effect a car.

Camber setting is one of the key parameters in wheel alignment that affects a car's performance. Camber refers to the angle of the wheels concerning the vertical axis when viewed from the front or rear of the vehicle. The camber can be either positive (top of the wheel tilted outward) or negative (top of the wheel tilted inward). Here are the effects of different camber settings on a car's performance:

  1. Handling and Cornering: Camber plays a crucial role in a car's handling characteristics. Negative camber (tilting the top of the wheel inward) improves cornering performance by increasing the tyre's contact patch when the car is turning. This results in better grip and reduced understeer during cornering. However, excessive negative camber can lead to uneven tyre wear and reduced straight-line stability.

  2. Tyre Wear: Improper camber settings can cause uneven tyre wear. Excessive negative camber can wear out the inside edges of the tyres, while excessive positive camber (tilting the top of the wheel outward) can lead to wear on the outside edges. Properly balanced camber settings help maintain even tyre wear and prolong tyre life.

  3. Stability and Braking: Neutral or slightly negative camber settings provide good straight-line stability and consistent braking performance. Positive camber can reduce braking performance as it decreases the contact patch, leading to longer braking distances.

  4. Road Surface Adaptation: Different camber settings can affect how the tyres adapt to various road surfaces. Negative camber helps maintain better tyre contact on uneven or bumpy roads, providing improved grip and stability.

  5. Weight Transfer: Camber influences how weight is distributed between the inner and outer edges of the tyres during cornering. Negative camber helps counteract body roll, keeping more weight on the tyres contact patches and improving cornering stability.

  6. Ride Comfort: Excessive negative camber can lead to a harsher ride quality, as it can transmit more road imperfections and vibrations to the vehicle's suspension. Finding the right balance is essential to achieve both performance and comfort.

In summary, camber settings significantly impact a car's performance and handling characteristics. Negative camber improves cornering grip and stability, while positive camber enhances straight-line stability but may compromise cornering performance. Striking the right balance based on the vehicle's purpose, driving style, and road conditions is crucial for optimising performance and tyre longevity.

Regular wheel alignment checks by a qualified professional can help ensure that your car's camber settings are within the recommended range for safe and efficient driving.

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