What Causes a Wheel to Lean Inward? Expert Solution

A wheel leaning inward, often called negative camber, is a condition where the top of the wheel is tilted towards the vehicle. This phenomenon can be observed in various automobiles and can be caused by several factors. Understanding what causes a wheel to lean inward and fixing a negative camber is crucial for vehicle maintenance and safety.

tires leaning inward

What is Wheel Alignment and Camber Angle?

Wheel alignment and camber angle are essential aspects of a vehicle’s suspension setup, affecting its handling, tire wear, and overall safety.

Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment refers to adjusting a car’s suspension system that connects the vehicle to its tires. It is not about adjusting the wheels or tires themselves, but rather adjusting the angles of the tires, which affect how they touch the road. Proper wheel alignment ensures that the tires are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. When an automobile’s wheels are correctly aligned, it confirms optimal tire wear and better vehicle handling.

Three Main Types of Wheel Alignment Angles:

  1. Camber: The inward or outward tire angle when observed from the car’s front side. Camber is positive when the top of the tire leans away from the center of the vehicle and negative when it leans toward the car.
  2. Toe: This is the magnitude to which the tires turn inward or outward when monitored from above. If the tires point inward, it is called toe-in; if they point outward, it is toe-out.
  3. Caster: It is the steering axis angle when observed from the side of the vehicle. This angle affects balance, steering, and cornering.

Camber Angle

Camber angle is one of the critical alignment settings and refers to the angle of the wheels in relation to the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear. Camber is described as negative or positive:

  • Negative Camber: This is when the top of the wheel tilts towards the vehicle. Negative camber improves grip in cornering, especially for performance or sports vehicles, as it allows for more of the tire’s surface area to be in contact with the road during a turn.
  • Positive Camber: The top of the wheel tilts away from the vehicle in a positive camber. This camber is less common but can be found in certain vehicles, such as agricultural machinery, where stability in straight lines is more important than cornering performance.

Improper camber settings can lead to uneven tire wear. Excessive negative camber can increase wear on the inside edge of the tire, while too much positive camber can wear out the outside edge. Regular wheel alignment checks ensure the camber angle is within the manufacturer’s specified range for optimal performance and tire longevity.

What Causes a Wheel to Lean Inward?

A wheel leaning inward, often called negative camber, can be caused by several factors, each related to the vehicle’s suspension and alignment systems. Here are the primary causes:

1. Vehicle Design and Alignment Settings:

Some vehicles are designed with a slight negative camber to improve handling and cornering performance. This setup means the top of the wheel leans towards the car. Manufacturers set this alignment for optimal balance between tire wear and handling characteristics.

2. Suspension Wear and Tear:

Over time, components of the suspension system, such as bushings, control arms, and ball joints, can wear out. This wear can lead to changes in the wheel alignment, causing the wheel to lean inward. Regular maintenance is crucial to identify and address these issues.

3. Impact Damage:

Hitting obstacles like potholes, curbs, or road debris can cause immediate and significant damage to the suspension system. This can result in a change in wheel alignment, including a tilt inward. Such impacts might bend suspension components or shift the position of alignment settings.

4. Improper Alignment Service:

If a wheel alignment service is not performed correctly, it can lead to incorrect camber settings. This might result in one or more wheels leaning inward more than intended.

5. Modifications to the Suspension System:

Lowering a vehicle or installing specific aftermarket suspension components can change the geometry of the suspension, often resulting in increased negative camber. It is vital to ensure modifications do not negatively impact the vehicle’s handling and safety.

6. Spring Sagging:

Over time, the springs in the suspension system can sag due to wear and tear, leading to changes in the suspension geometry, including the camber angle.

4. Damaged Struts or Shock Absorbers:

If these components are damaged, they can cause a change in the car’s ride height, which can indirectly affect the camber angle.

It is vital to address the issue promptly in each of these cases. Excessive negative camber can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling, and tire leaning inward at the top. Regular checks and maintenance of the automobile’s suspension and alignment are crucial for preventing and correcting this issue.

How to Fix Front Wheel Leaning Inward at Top?

Fixing a front tire leaning inward at the top, a condition known as negative camber, involves adjusting the vehicle’s wheel alignment. This process should ideally be carried out by a professional mechanic or at a service center equipped with the necessary tools and expertise. However, understanding the steps involved can be helpful:

1. Diagnosis and Inspection:

Before making any adjustments, diagnosing why the wheel is leaning inward is significant. This could be due to worn-out suspension components, impact damage, or incorrect alignment from a previous service. A thorough inspection of the suspension system, including bushings, control arms, ball joints, struts, and tie rods, is essential.

2. Wheel Alignment Check:

Using specialized equipment, a mechanic will check the current alignment of your wheels. This includes measuring camber, toe, and caster angles to determine the needed adjustment.

3. Adjusting Camber Angle:

If the negative camber is due to misalignment, the mechanic will adjust the camber to bring it within the manufacturer’s specifications. This is usually done by loosening the bolts on the strut mounts or control arms and shifting the position of the suspension components. Some vehicles have adjustable camber bolts or aftermarket kits that can be installed for greater adjustability.

4. Replacing Worn Parts:

If the negative camber is due to worn or damaged parts, these parts must be replaced before alignment. This might include replacing bushings, control arms, or other suspension components.

5. Realignment:

After making adjustments or replacements, the vehicle will need a complete wheel alignment to ensure all angles (camber, toe, and caster) are correctly set.

6. Test Drive and Recheck:

After the alignment, a test drive is necessary to ensure the vehicle handles correctly. After the test drive, the alignment might need a recheck to confirm that the adjustments are holding.

7. Regular Checks and Maintenance:

Regularly checking wheel alignment and suspension health is crucial to preventing issues from recurring.

While some car enthusiasts with mechanical experience might attempt to adjust tire leaning at home, it is generally recommended to have this work done by professionals. Improper alignment can lead to tire wear and safety issues. Not all vehicles have easily adjustable camber settings, and some might require specialized tools or parts.


A tire tilted inward can be due to intentional design, wear and tear, impact damage, incorrect alignment settings, or modifications. Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections are vital to identify and address any such issues. Understanding the causes and effects of negative camber is crucial for maintaining vehicle performance and safety.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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