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Toe, Camber, and Caster: Important Alignment Terminology for Every Driver

Last updated 6 years ago

Toe, camber, and caster are three pieces of terminology that every driver needs to understand. These terms aren’t as complicated as your mechanic or service specialist might have you believe; let’s take a look at the basics of each and how they relate to vehicle alignment.

A vehicle’s “toe” is a measurement, marked by degrees, of how far the front wheels stray from parallel with the rear wheels. When the front wheels are facing inwards towards one another, the pair has a positive toe, also known as “toe-in.”  If the leading edges point in opposing directions, then pair has a negative toe, which can also be called “toe-out.” If a vehicle has any significant amount of positive or negative toe, then wheels will wear irregularly, straight-line stability suffers, and handling becomes inconsistent.

Camber is the angle of the wheel relative to its vertical axis. If the top of the wheel tilts towards the chassis, then it possesses negative camber; if it leans away from the car, then its camber is positive. Camber has a significant effect on the amount of grip a wheel can generate, which can be dangerous on windy roads.

Caster is the angle at which the steering pivot axis is tilted forward or rearward from perpendicular to the road. If the pivot axis is tilted backward, then the caster is positive; if it is tilted forward, then it is negative.  Caster is used to influence the straight line driving characteristics of a vehicle, and positive caster can correct alignment issues.

At Greulich’s Automotive, we have all the knowledge and equipment to handle the toughest automotive tasks. Call us at (480) 483-8186 or visit us online for additional information. 



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