To know what the heck camber IS, we must first explore what the heck it IS NOT. Camber is not:
A cold piece of filming technology
Casper the Friendly Ghost’s twin brother
The chemical reaction that happens when you put Mentos in Diet Coke
A dissolving tablet that is designed to shorten the length of colds
A physical thing
He mostly haunts the corner of the room, but will sometimes hang out with you.
So…what is it, then?
Camber is the tilt of your vehicle’s wheels relative to the vertical plane. There are 2 types of camber: positive and negative.
When the tops of your vehicle’s wheels are tilted outward, they have positive camber. This can help a vehicle become more stable. However, it also causes the tires to wear more quickly on the outside.
When the tops of your vehicle’s wheels are tilted inward, they have negative camber. This can help a vehicle turn corners more easily. However, it also causes the tires to wear more quickly on the inside.
It looks like a giant sat on this car.
There are names for the other angles of your vehicle’s wheels as well!
Caster (also not Casper the Friendly Ghost’s twin brother)
Caster is defined as the angle created by the steering pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle.
Caster is positive if the line is angled forward, and negative if backward.
Positive caster helps make it easier to keep the vehicle moving straight when just moving forward, but can make it harder to turn.
Negative caster helps make it easier to turn, but can cause you to drift when just moving forward.
Most vehicles have a mixed caster that is determined by the manufacturer and set in the factory.
Toe (no–not the digits on your feet)
Toe is the angle at which your vehicle’s wheels are turned inward or outward from a straight-ahead position.
Toe is positive or “in” if the fronts of the wheels are turned inward. Toe is negative or “out” if the fronts of the wheels are turned outward.
You put your right toe in, you put your right toe out…
Toe in, like positive caster, helps make it easier to keep the vehicle moving straight when just moving forward, but can make it harder to turn.
Toe out, like negative caster, helps make it easier to turn, but can cause you to drift when just moving forward.
Correct toe (the wheels pointing straight forward) will cause the tires to wear evenly, which extends their lives. Otherwise, the tires will wear unevenly along the edges, and have to be replaced sooner.
So, there you have it. Now you know what camber is NOT, what it IS, and I dropped some BONUS KNOWLEDGE on you regarding caster and toe!
Tell me what other automotive things baffle you. I’ll tell you what the heck they are!