How to Adjust Camber Bolts

by Jody L. Campbell

To put it simply, camber is the vertical position of the wheel and knuckle on a vehicle. The straighter it is, the better the tire wear. Because suspension and steering components weaken after time, the camber on the vehicle can be compromised. Camber is measured in degrees when performing an alignment. Some vehicles come with camber bolts already in place as 1 of the 2 strut bolts. The camber bolt has an off-centered lobe that manipulates the vertical position of the knuckle and wheel to a slight degree. Most often, camber measurement can be corrected with a camber bolt.

Step 1

Put on the safety glasses and place the vehicle on the alignment rack. Follow the machine's direction to determine the alignment measurements. Always adjust camber (and caster) before making toe adjustments.

Step 2

Determine if there is a camber bolt already installed. One of the strut bolts (usually the top bolt for rear struts or the bottom 1 for front struts, but there are exceptions) will have a washer with a small tab-like handle (aftermarket camber bolt) or the bolt will have an offset eccentric bolt head (original equipment).

Step 3

Loosen the non-camber bolt first with the impact gun and a socket. If the camber bolt is aftermarket, loosen it with 2 hand wrenches. Never use an impact gun on an aftermarket camber bolt. Do not loosen the bolts too much. Once both bolts are loose, a helper can manipulate the vertical position of the tire by pushing the top of the tire in or out. Some vehicles use oblong bolt holes to allow slight positioning of the strut bolt to adjust camber.

Step 4

Manipulate the tire to get the desired measurement as close as you can and tighten the strut bolt with 2 hand wrenches and only tighten it snugly--enough to hold the position of the camber with the wheels and axle positioned back onto the rack.

Step 5

Run a caster sweep again if the alignment machine prompts you to. Return to the specifications screen on the machine to recheck the camber reading.

Compare the current measurement to the specifications and then if necessary, repeat the procedure to get the camber into specs. Camber bolts are only going to manipulate the measurement of the wheel slightly (see Tips section).