What Does Negative Camber and Positive Camber Mean?

You may have heard of camber before, or perhaps you have been advised that yours might need to be adjusted. So, what is negative camber or positive camber and why does it matter?

What Does Negative Camber and Positive Camber Mean?

“Camber” is the inward or outward tilt of a vehicle’s tyre. The camber is set by the vehicle manufacturer and it can be affected by striking potholes in the road, so may need to be adjusted periodically.

The “camber angle” is a sloping imaginary line that would run vertically through the centre of the wheel, when viewed from the front of the vehicle. It dictates whether the tyre leans slightly inwards or slightly outwards. Negative camber is when the top of the tyre leans inwards towards the vehicle whereas positive camber means that the top of the tyre leans away from the car.

How does camber affect performance?

Ideally, camber would vary based on the vehicle’s current activity:

Straight-Line – The tyre would have no camber whatsoever. This would maximise the contact patch with the road and give the best traction whilst wearing the tyre evenly.

Cornering – In corners, the tyre would need a negative camber. With no camber, the tyre would naturally roll onto its outer edge and lose grip. Therefore, negative camber gives better traction and helps you to steer more effectively at high cornering speeds.

Unfortunately, you can’t set both camber at the same time so, a compromise is made. The ideal camber settings are advised by vehicle manufacturers and can be checked during a wheel alignment service.

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