What are Camber and Caster in your vehicle?

January 26th, 2016 by

Camber and Caster Explained

As a car owner, it’s important that you keep your vehicle properly maintained. If you run into problems with your vehicle’s tire alignment, you’re bound to run into terms like “Camber”, “Caster” and “Toe”, all of which pertain to your vehicle’s wheel alignment. Your vehicle’s wheel alignment depicts your vehicle’s safety on the road as well as its tread capability. Here we’ll explain how camber and caster depict your vehicle’s drive.

With the proper alignments, all four of your vehicle’s wheels are consistent with each other and offer the best possible traction on the road. In order for your wheel to be properly aligned, three major components need to be in order: camber, caster and toe.

[Read more: Front Tire Alignment]

What is Camber?

When discussing your vehicle’s alignment, camber is the term most often brought up. It refers to the angle, measured in degrees, of the difference between the wheel’s vertical alignment perpendicular to the ground. When the top of your tires tilt inward, this is considered “negative camber”, which increases your vehicle’s grip on the road, making it great for making turns, however when it comes to straight acceleration it can be a deterrent.

You’ll also experience longer tire life with a negative camber compared to zero camber, assuming that you rotate your tires properly.

What is Caster?

A little more complicated than camber, caster is defined as the angle created by the steering’s pivot point from the front to the back of the vehicle. If it’s angled forward, it’s considered positive and negative if backward.

With a positive camber, your vehicle is more stable at high speeds and increases steering effort.

Cross-caster is found in most road vehicles, which means they feature slightly different caster and camber designed to cause the vehicle to drift to the right while rolling. This was added so that in the event the driver loses control of their vehicle’s steering, the vehicle will drift off the road rather than into oncoming traffic.

[Read more: Horsepower vs Torque]

What is Toe?

Simplest of all, toe represents the angle of your tires, whether they point inward or outward from a top-down view. It’s necessary for even tread wear and extending your tires’ lifespan. Pointing the wheels inward or outward wear down your tires more quickly, however it also improves performance, so it’s up to you which is more important to your drive.

To learn more about other features in your car and what goes into its performance, be sure to check out the rest of our blog!