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Photo of the Day: Negative Camber

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I know some of you will gag seeing this photo while others will drool, but I want to have a discussion with you all.

Pros and cons of camber– what are the benefits, and when does it stop adding utility and start damaging your set-up. For the sake of keeping things simpler, lets not mention caster or toe (okay, I know I just mentioned it but no more after this!)

For safety and tire life, properly aligned wheels are important; this typically means no negative/positive camber. Many are willing to sacrifice both for aesthetics, mainly the ones that have such a high negative camber that while looking at the car, you can see there is more tire off of the ground, than there is on. Although many do hate, just a couple inches of positive camber can increase handling. A masterful, car-loving, driver will enjoy the benefits of increased grip in heavy cornering that negative camber offers.

So, how much is too much? Arguably, many say useful camber is typically so minor that it is hard to see. For the street, maybe. For the track, whether racing or drifting, I have learned that pushing it a step further is beneficial. Weight transfer, which is defined as “the change in load borne by different wheels during acceleration”, is crucial. When you are racing/drifting, the goal is to have larger amounts of a tire in contact with the surface (track) when going into turns. This is only achievable through camber. (See: http://www.drivermod.ca/articles-1/2016/1/29/how-much-camber) It is estimated approx. two inches of camber is “about right” (varies by vehicle, naturally.)

Adjusting the camber is a part of the alignment process. Aside from road handling problems, camber that isn’t properly aligned is going to damage your wheel bearings and ball joints, and add additional pressure on the rest of your suspension. Those are equally as important for handling and safety.

So when you see a car with so much negative camber that the wheels look like they are going to fall off, maybe (politely) drop some knowledge their way. But always know, some can be a plus!

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Written by Jennifer Buzzatto

Jennifer is a contributor to Future Motoring and also serves as the Photo of the Day Editor.

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