Periodically adjusting your vehicle’s camber is essential to ensure even tire wear and smooth handling. The easiest way to adjust your camber is with camber bolts. However, many wonder if there’s another way.
To adjust your camber without camber bolts, you will need to remove the wheel and locate the suspension adjustment point. After adjusting your suspension to your desired position, turn the camber adjustment component until you reach the correct level.
Below, we’ll discuss more on how to adjust your camber and why it’s important to do so. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
How much your vehicle’s wheels lead toward or away from the chassis is referred to as “camber.” There are many reasons why someone may want to adjust their camber, ranging from regular maintenance to fixing tires that are wearing unevenly.
Experts often recommend checking a vehicle’s camber, and making adjustments if needed, every 10,000 miles. The easiest way to adjust the camber is by using camber bolts. However, some people wonder if it’s possible to do so without these bolts.
Luckily, it is still possible to adjust a vehicle’s camber without camber bolts. It’s a relatively simple process, but it’s not recommended for anyone without at least some mechanical experience. As long as you feel comfortable doing so, follow the steps below to adjust your camber:
- Park your vehicle on a level surface. A garage works best, but any flat surface will do. Make sure your wheels are straightened out before turning off your car.
- Use a jack to raise your car. Locate the jack points near the wheels, then place the jack underneath and slowly raise your vehicle until the wheel you’re working on is completely off the ground.
- After raising your vehicle, place a jack stand underneath it. Find a solid spot on the frame where you can place the stand, then slowly lower your vehicle onto it and remove the jack.
- Using a wrench, loosen the wheel’s lug nuts and remove the wheel. If your vehicle has hubcaps, you will need to remove those as well.
- Find the suspension adjustment points. These are usually located near the vehicle’s lower control arm or struts. Loosen the suspension with a wrench, then move it to your desired setting. Once you’re finished, tighten the adjustment component back into place.
- Now, you’re ready to adjust your camber. Turn the adjustment component until you’re at your desired camber. Use a protractor to ensure accurate adjustments, as an incorrect camber can cause handling problems with your vehicle.
- After you’ve adjusted the camber to your liking, replace the wheel. Line up the holes in the wheels with your bolts, then carefully thread them in. Use a socket wrench to tighten the bolts completely.
- Place your jack back under the car and remove the jack stand. Slowly lower the jack until your car is on the ground, then remove the jack.
After you’ve finished, test drive your car to see how the new adjustments feel. If everything seems okay, you’re good to go. If not, go back through the steps above and make the necessary adjustments.
Adjusting your camber helps improve your vehicle’s overall performance. When done regularly, adjusting your car’s camber can improve:
- Fuel economy
- The lifespan of your tires
When your camber is out of alignment, the tires do not come into full contact with the road. This can cause your vehicle to slip on the road, especially when you’re turning corners. Incorrect camber also causes your tires to wear out more quickly and creates more drag. “Excess drag” causes your engine to work harder, using more fuel and hurting your fuel economy.
The most obvious sign that your camber needs to be adjusted is uneven tire wear. After adjusting your camber, it’s a good idea to get your alignment checked by a professional to ensure everything looks alright.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If you’re new to dealing with camber, you may have a few questions about it. Below, we’ll cover a couple of common questions people ask before they attempt to adjust their own camber.
Q: Should My Vehicle Have Zero Camber?
A: As mentioned above, a vehicle’s camber is a measurement of how much the wheels lean toward or away from the vehicle itself. When a car’s wheels are completely perpendicular to the ground, that’s known as “zero camber.”
Camber can be calculated based on the number of degrees the wheels lean toward or against the vehicle. If the top of the tire leans toward the vehicle, the vehicle has a “negative camber.” If they lean away from the vehicle, it has a “positive camber.”
Many people assume that zero camber is ideal. However, that’s not quite the case. When aligned properly, all vehicles should have slightly negative camber. This allows you to turn more easily, as the camber flattens out around corners.
Q: What Causes Misaligned Camber?
A: The main thing that causes misaligned camber is driving on uneven surfaces for a long period of time. In some cases, your camber can also come out of alignment after you hit an especially large bump or drive over a deep pothole.
Even if you drive over smooth surfaces and avoid potholes at all costs, your camber can also become misaligned over time due to normal wear and tear. Your suspension settles as your vehicle gets older, and if you don’t take the right precautions, such as regular camber inspections, you may notice camber misalignment as a result.
Adjusting your camber is easier when you have an adjustable camber bolt, but it is still possible to do when you don’t have this piece. Before you attempt to do the adjustment yourself, make sure you’re familiar with all the parts you’ll be working with.
After adjusting your camber to your liking, it’s best to take your vehicle to the mechanic and ensure it’s in the correct alignment. Any incorrect adjustments left unchecked can not only negatively impact your car’s handling, but can also significantly decrease the lifespan of your tires by causing uneven wear.