Positive vs. Negative Camber: How It Affects Car TiresTires |
Camber is a critical factor in the handling, safety, and tread wear of your car and its tires. But what do positive and negative camber mean, and how does it affect car tires? We answer those questions below.
What Is Camber?
Camber is the angle of the wheel and tires relative to the tires’ position on the road. Specifically, it is the inward or outward tilt of the tires when viewed from the front of the vehicle.
Every vehicle has a specific camber alignment set by its manufacturer, which could be positive, negative, or zero camber. If the camber is out of alignment for a vehicle, it’ll affect the handling, tire wear, cornering performance, and vehicle safety.
Does Positive or Negative Camber Affect Car Tires?
Positive and negative cambers affect a car’s tires and the entire vehicle differently. A vehicle with a negative camber maximizes the tire’s contact patch area on the road, making the car more stable, especially at higher speeds. The tradeoff with negative camber is that it’ll cause the tires to wear down faster and it will take more effort for the vehicle to reach its top speed, making it less efficient.
A positive camber means there’s less surface area of the tire on the road, meaning greater acceleration and top speed but less traction and less sensitive steering response and handling. Positive camber also means a smoother ride for the vehicle on uneven ground, which makes it common for most off-road vehicles.
What Are the Signs of Camber Problems in a Car?
Most vehicles have either a slight negative or zero camber. If the camber on a vehicle is too negative or gradually shifts out of alignment, the change will start to impact your car’s overall performance.
If you notice your car pulling to one side while driving or that you have to apply pressure to the steering wheel to keep the vehicle straight, it could be a camber issue. Also, you can check the tread wear on your tires—if the inside or outside of the tread is significantly more worn, the camber could be off, causing your tires to degrade faster.
Whatever your tire problems are, RNR Tire Express can help! If your car’s camber is off or you need new tires, stop by our tire shop in Tucson or one of our many other locations nationwide. We’ll align your vehicle according to manufacturer regulations and put on new tires for a smoother and safer ride.