Are you trying to learn what is a positive camber and how to improve your car’s driving ability while on the track? If that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will cover everything in great detail.
- Understanding Alignment?
- Camber VS Caster
- Positive VS Negative
- Camber Effects
Wheel alignment is a true mastery and the ones who can get the best setup on their cars can milk the best performance from their cars on the track. And knowing all of the angles concerning wheel alignment is an essential thing to do if you want to set yourself from the rest.
That’s why you need a good introduction when it comes to all of these different concepts that usually are unknown to a lot of people who want to drive their car in stock settings. Also, you will benefit if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on wheel alignment and do all this alignment work at home.
It might not be precise, but it will do the job really well. And the positive camber is one of the most important angles when it comes to aligning your wheels. That’s why we dedicate a whole article to it.
First, we will learn the basics of wheel alignment. Then we will dive into the three main angles that are of your interest and explain them in detail. After that, we will compare the camber vs caster. And the positive camber vs negative camber.
Later on, in the article, we will cover the positive camber effects, as well as the pros and cons of running positive camber. Lastly, we will learn how much is a wheel alignment. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
Understanding Wheel Alignment
Now let’s cover some of the basics when it comes to the wheel alignment. Knowing the basics will help you understand how wheel alignment works and also understand how positive camber works. If you feel like you know this stuff, you can move on to one of the next chapters, if not follow us for a bit.
Wheel alignment is one of the most important things that the driver needs when it comes to safely driving your car on the road. Why I’m saying this?
Well, because it is true. Wheel alignment keeps you safe. A good alignment will make your car drive like it’s on rails. And you need that if you want not to have to experience some safety hazards that will put your life in danger.
Not to mention that wheel alignment will also protect the suspension components of your car. When the wheel alignment is off, you will have problems driving the car but also, your suspension components will take a toll.
Another aspect of why you need to know wheel alignment is if you want to track your car. Using your car to track will require you to adjust the suspension. More precisely the positive camber improves performance in the straight line.
But what is this camber in general? This is basically an angle. In fact, there are three main angles for adjusting car suspension, and that is the camber caster and toe. In the following chapters, we are going to cover all of them.
Now let’s cover the first type of angle of wheel alignment and that is the camber angle which is our main focus in this article.
So, what is a camber angle? The camber angle is basically how the tire lies on the surface. If the tire covers the road perfectly flat and even, you have a zero camber.
The zero camber is the most recommended type of camber angle because your tires wear less and also the car is more stable.
Positive camber is when the tire is not flat but the lower portion from the axle is pointing inwards. So, both of the tires are basically put at an angle.
There is also a negative camber. This type of camber is basically the complete opposite of positive camber. At this type of angle, the lower portion of the axle tire is pointed outwards. Both of these types of angles offer you a different driving feel and have positive and negative sides. But more on that later on in the article after we finish with the other two angles.
Now before we further elaborate on the positive camber. Let’s first cover the second type of angle. And this type of wheel alignment angle is the caster angle.
The caster angle is another really important type of angle when it comes to wheel alignment. This is the angle that your strut has.
It is measured starting from your strut tower and goes to the center of the wheel. This angle is basically set up from the factory. And if you don’t install mods on your car, you will not be able to adjust this type of angle.
The stock caster angle on new cars is a positive caster angle. This type of angle usually delivers the best performance when it comes to getting the best fuel economy and performance.
In racing applications, this type of angle is adjusted with special plates that are mounted on the strut towers that allow adjusting of the strut angle. But for you as a beginner, this type of angle should be of the least concern to you. The next type that we are going to cover is more important.
Now let’s cover the last type of angle before we focus on the positive camber and that is the toe. There are three types of toe.
The first type of toe is toe in. This is the situation when the wheels are pointing inward, perfect if you plan to drive fast in a straight line.
And the second type of toe is zero toe. This is the situation when the wheels travel perfectly in a straight line. This is probably the setting that you are after since it has the best performance and the lowest wear of the tires.
The third type of toe is toe out. This type of toe is when the wheels are pointing in an outward direction.
As we said, having zero toe is probably the best when it comes to tire life and overall stability on the road. But what about positive camber? More precisely camber vs caster. How do they compare with each other? Let’s find out in the following chapter.
Camber VS Caster
Now let’s cover another interesting topic before we learn the positive camber effects. And that is the topic of camber vs caster. Which angle is better to adjust when it comes to using the car for the track?
Well, as we noted, there is a positive camber and negative camber. The positive camber greatly improves the stability of the car at straight-line speed. While the negative camber improves a lot the cornering. So, it is up to you to learn what fits the bill the best for you.
If you want to drift your car on the track, then the negative camber should be your top interest. The bigger the negative camber, the easier the car will slide through the corners.
If you plan on racing on oval tracks or drag racing. Then a positive camber might be the best for you because this will improve your stability at high speeds.
In contrast, the caster angle is basically the angle on which the strut is placed. So, you cannot change it much unless you install aftermarket coilovers and special kits with which you can change the angle of the strut.
And adjusting the caster angle on a low budget is almost impossible. That’s why if you are running low on money, you might focus more on the positive camber, negative camber, and toe in and toe out, than focusing on the camber vs caster.
But what about the positive camber vs negative camber? Well, that’s what we are going to cover in the following chapter where we will dive more in-depth when it comes to these two types of camber. And you don’t want to miss that.
Positive Camber VS Negative Camber
Now let’s discuss more positive camber vs negative camber. What camber should be the best for your vehicle?
The short answer is zero camber, or a small amount of positive camber should be your best bet. Why I’m saying this?
Well, there are a couple of reasons why I’m saying this. The first reason is the safety aspect. Your car needs to have good contact with the surface.
When you have either a positive camber or a negative camber, your car might be driving well under some circumstances. Like being fast in a straight line or cornering well with negative camber. But will this be a good thing if you want to daily this car? I think not.
Your car will not be safe to daily on these settings. You will start to feel a lot of discomfort while driving this vehicle. And not to mention that if you have positive camber, you will have trouble catching corners and your car will basically feel terrible while driving like this.
This is why zero camber is the best all-around setting when it comes to driving your car on a day-to-day basis.
In addition to this, you will not have increasingly more wear and tear when it comes to driving a car with positive or negative camber.
Overall, that’s it when it comes to positive camber vs negative camber. Still, the decision is yours. But in the next chapters, we are going to discuss the effects.
Positive And Negative Camber Effects
Now as we learned what is positive camber and negative camber. Let’s discuss more about the effects that both of these types of camber have both on your driving as well as on your suspension components.
Knowing the effects is going to help you out which type of camber you need for your specific application and also how will affect your driving ability on the road. This is why knowing these things is really essential to any owner out there who wants to do some suspension tweak like this. So, let’s begin discussing both types of camber.
Positive Camber Effects
Now let’s begin with the positive camber effects. As we already explained. This is the type of camber when the wheel’s surface that touches the tarmac is pointed inward. This means that both of the front wheels are pointing in an inward direction.
The positive camber offers great stability in the straight line. With this type of camber, the car sticks to the ground. So, if you have a car that you want to do drag racing. This might be the thing you want.
Often small cars that have low stability use positive camber from the factory to improve their stability. Since they are lacking it because of their low weight.
This type of camber is also used for off-road vehicles as well as agricultural equipment like tractors and other mechanization since it delivers a good performance because these uneven surfaces are forcing the vehicle to have a negative camber because of the sheer thrust the vehicle has.
Also, a lot of people in the car world often tune their cars like this to look cool in front of other people. So, you will often see a car slammed to the ground with positive or negative camber. People just love these cars and want to take a lot of pictures. That’s how things go.
Also, the wear and tear of suspension components like tires, struts, control rods, and other bits and pieces will be greatly increased when you push your car on these settings.
Now as we covered the positive camber effects, we can move to the negative camber effects.
Negative Camber Effects
Now as we covered the positive camber effects, we can move on and discuss the negative camber effects. How the negative camber behaves and in what aspects can you see an improvement or possible drawbacks? Let’s elaborate.
The negative camber as we mentioned is the situation where the bottom of the wheels is pointing outwards. This is the total opposite of positive camber.
With this type of camber, you will see great improvement when it comes to the handling of the vehicle and there will be also fewer vibrations.
This type of setup is perfect for race cars that are used on the track and need the best performance when it comes to cornering ability and tackling curbs. If you want to build a drift car, the negative camber should be your top concern because with it you will be able to lose the rear wheels much sooner than on stock settings. But here is where the positives end.
There are also negative effects of the negative camber. These include the poor straight-line speed of the car and also increased wear and tear of the tires.
Similar to positive camber, the tires will wear out unevenly and you will have to go through sets much sooner than on stock settings. Not to mention the risk of puncture that these tires have. That’s why using either positive camber or negative camber on a car for daily use is not recommended at all.
But these types of settings look cool. Similar to positive camber, people like to slam the cars to the ground and add a ton of negative camber on them. But how you can align the camber angle on your car? Well, that’s what we will cover next.
We have covered a lot about the positive camber and its effects on how the car drives. Now let’s take a look at camber alignment. How you can align the camber on your car?
First thing first, it is useful to note that adjusting the camber is possible. Unlike with the caster where adjusting the angle could be a real pain if you don’t purchase some expensive upgrades to get this angle sorted.
Camber on the other hand is really easy to adjust. But you will need to purchase a camber measurement unit to measure the angle of the camber. Since you want to be sure that the camber on both sides is the same.
You don’t want one side to have too positive camber than the other. This will ruin the performance of the car and will make it handle poorly. So, beware of this.
The next thing you will need is the camber adjustment bolts. These are special bolts that you put on the strut to make the camber angle increase or decrease. Depending much if you want to have positive or negative camber.
In the video that we attached above, you can see how this procedure is done on a car. It is a fairly simple procedure but requires a camber measurement tool for you to be able to do this job precisely. So, be aware of this. Now let’s discuss more on wheel alignment and how much it will cost you to align the wheels.
How Much Is A Wheel Alignment?
So, let’s say that you suspect that your camber is off. You have bad tread wear and the tires are worn on the outer side. All this leads to driving the car with too much positive camber. So, how much can you expect to pay to sort this out?
Well, on average, the price is between $50 to $80, to adjust the front end of your car. If you do this at the rear as well, you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $100 to $160.
But if you try to look for good deals in your area, you can find deals for only $40 for the front wheels which is rather insane value for the money. But how you can do that?
Well, you can go on groupon.com and look for wheel alignment in your area. There are a ton of offers that wait to get snatched. So, if you want to save some money on this, this is the way to go.
Facts about Front-End Camber and Alignment:
- Front-end alignment refers to the orientation of a vehicle’s front wheels in relation to the road ahead and the rest of the vehicle.
- Most modern vehicles have adjustable camber and caster settings in addition to toe settings, with camber having the most significant impact on tire wear.
- Camber is the inward or outward orientation of the upper half of a vehicle’s wheel/tire assembly and is measured in degrees.
- Ideally, most modern vehicles feature a slightly negative camber angle of 0.5-1 degree, which provides optimal balance and grip during cornering while preventing excessive treadwear.
- Caster refers to the forward or rearward lean of a vehicle’s steering/suspension components and has little bearing over tire wear but relates to straight-line performance.
- All vehicles feature some degree of camber, even if such angles are not independently adjustable, and camber plays a pivotal role in establishing the way a vehicle handles and the manner in which a vehicle’s tires wear.
- Excessively negative camber can cause a certain degree of oversteer, darting inline with imperfections in the pavement, and cause the inside shoulder of a tire to wear exceedingly quickly.
- Too much positive camber can cause a vehicle to wander and be difficult to hold within one’s lane of travel, as well as cause the front tires to wear exceedingly fast on their outside edges.
- A vehicle’s camber settings are adjusted in conjunction with a specialized lift known as an alignment rack, which uses a computer interface to take a series of measurements for proper adjustment.
- Camber adjustment devices include eccentric washer bolts, cam bolts, turn-buckle joints, or strut-mounted shims. The alignment procedure concludes only after the data displayed on an alignment rack’s monitor reflects acceptable values.
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to wheel alignment in general. We learned all of the angles that are adjusted when you do your wheel alignment. The caster, camber, and the toe. But we have thrown our primary focus on the positive camber.
We learn what is the positive camber and we compared camber vs caster and the positive camber effects and the negative camber effects on your car’s driving ability.
Then we have covered the camber wheel alignment and how you can do this at home using a camber tool and camber bolts. Lastly, we listed the costs for doing a wheel alignment.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is Camber
Camber is one of the three important angles when it comes to wheel alignment. The camber angle basically determines where the wheels are tilting. Either inward or outward or they have zero camber meaning that they are perfectly straight.
How To Fix Positive Camber
Fixing positive camber is possible if you do an alignment. There are shops that are doing this work and they will adjust the camber to be perfectly straight in order for your car to return to the optimum road performance. There are ways that you can try to fix it by yourself. But nobody can adjust the alignment better than computers.
How To Adjust Positive Camber
Adjusting positive camber is possible if you try to use a camber tool with which you will be able to measure the angle. And then use special camber bolts to adjust the camber, whether you want a positive or negative camber on your car.
What Causes Positive Camber
Positive camber can be caused by a number of different things, worn-out struts, bad control arm bushings, bad ball joints, bad wheel bearings, and more. This is why you need to perform the necessary repairs before you do a wheel alignment on the car.