The tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. You will not be able to drive your car once the tire fails and it is necessary to ensure the vehicle’s safety.
It is essential to carefully inspect the tire once in a while and understand the tread wear pattern to avoid possible sudden vehicle breakdown.
The front wheel leaning inward at top is a typical issue noticed due to a negative camber angle formed by the wheels which is the result of underlying problems like worn-out ball joints, torn control arm bushings, bad suspension springs, worn shocks or struts, loose strut nuts, worn strut mounts or bad wheel bearings.
If you are noticing that the front wheel is leaning inward at top and looking for ways to fix it, then you will get all your doubts cleared. Stay tuned!
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is wheel alignment?
- 2 Is Front Wheel Leaning Inward At Top? Effects, Causes, And Solutions To Fix It!
- 2.1 What Are The Effects Of Front Wheel Leaning Inward At Top?
- 2.2 7 Causes And Solutions For Issue Of Front Wheel Leaning Inward At Top?
- 3 Final Thoughts
What is wheel alignment?
Typically, wheels are aligned on a vehicle with some orientation with respect to different vehicle axes or directions to ensure car handling & performance. They are camber, caster, and toe which have an inclination with respect to vehicle longitudinal, lateral and vertical directions.
The angle formed by the wheel when viewed from the vehicle front is called the camber angle.
The camber is said to be positive when the wheel is tilted outward and the camber is negative when the wheel is leaning or tilting inward at top.
The angle formed by the steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle is called the caster angle.
The caster angle is positive when the steering axis is inclined towards the driver and the bottom of the steering axis touches the ground ahead of the tire contact patch.
The caster angle is said to be negative when the steering axis is inclined towards the vehicle front away from the driver and the bottom of the steering axis touches the ground behind the wheel contact patch.
The caster angle would not affect tire wear but it is important in ensuring the correct steering condition of the car and stability of the vehicle while negotiating a turn or during cornering.
The wheel toe is the difference in distance between the front and rear of a tire when viewed from the vehicle top.
If the distance is less at the front, it is said to be toe-in & when the distance is more at the front, is toe-out.
Is Front Wheel Leaning Inward At Top? Effects, Causes, And Solutions To Fix It!
The front wheel leaning inward at top means that the wheel has more negative camber angle.
The negative camber is clearly visible in a race car that undergoes high-speed cornering that helps to increase the contact patch during extreme cornering but it is not recommended for a normal car.
The positive camber angle is provided to the wheels to prevent the front wheels from leaning inwards at top under the carload and to accommodate play in suspension bushes and ball joints.
A positive camber ensures the self-centering of the car after negotiating a turn.
It is worthwhile to note that some suspension designs give a perception of the tire leaning inward at top in parking maneuvers. But the alignment needs to be confirmed by testing on a special wheel alignment testing machine.
What Are The Effects Of Front Wheel Leaning Inward At Top?
When the front wheel leans inward at the top due to negative camber and wheel alignment goes out of the acceptance limit, it would increase the non-uniform tire wear and affect vehicle handling, directional control, and stability.
Your car would end up pulling on one side while steering and you would feel that the steering would be mushier which may lead to accidents.
Your vehicle’s wheel alignment settings go for a toss once you hit potholes or speed breakers on road. It would put high stress on suspension and steering components that would alter your wheel alignments badly and you may experience vehicle drivability problems.
A bad wheel alignment will result in poor car mileage and fuel economy since the tires would offer a higher frictional load on the engine.
7 Causes And Solutions For Issue Of Front Wheel Leaning Inward At Top?
To confirm that there is an issue with the wheel camber, you may take off your hands from the steering and check whether the car runs in a straight-ahead direction.
If it drifts away from the straight path, it indicates that there is an issue with the camber angle.
The front wheel leaning inward at top typically happens due to below problems
Worn control arm bushings
The road unevenness exerts a load on the control arm bushings and ends up wearing out the bushes.
Once the bushings are worn-out it would affect the wheel alignment angles to an extent that you would notice vehicle handling problems and shorter tire replacement intervals.
Hence it is advisable to replace the suspension bushings to get rid of the issue of the front wheel leaning inward at top.
Worn ball joints
The lower & upper ball joint is usually the first part to go bad since it takes up the road loads.
Jack up the car and lift it by the lower control arm to take the load off from the suspension.
Then, you can push and wiggle the tire and watch for movement in the front-end components. If the tire moves while pushing then the tie-rod or tie-rod ball joint ends are bad.
Bad suspension spring
In the above test, if your tire doesn’t move but still the front wheel is leaning inward at top, then the problem could be at suspension components like springs, struts, and shocks.
If the springs are found to be broken or compressed completely, then you would need to replace the suspension springs by vising a professional mechanic.
Bad suspension struts or shocks
If the suspension springs are found fine, then you need to inspect the rubber pieces on your suspension shock absorber or struts.
If you observe any fluid leakage then probably your shock absorber is going bad and you would need to replace it with a fresh one to get rid of the wheel leaning inward at the top problem.
Loose strut nuts
One of the reasons for the front wheel leaning inward at top could be a loose suspension strut spindle nuts and bolts.
If both the left and right wheels have a negative camber then this cause can be ruled out.
Ensure all the suspension-related nuts are tightened properly, otherwise the parts like struts would slide and can make the front wheel lean inward at top and which may lead to dangerous safety hazards.
Torn strut mounts
The suspension strut mounts are often blamed for the front wheel leaning inward at top.
The strut rubber mounts either get shifted or wear off over a period of running and need to be replaced with a fresh ones.
Worn-out wheel bearings
A failing wheel bearings also could be one of the reasons for the issue of wheels leaning inward at top. It is easy to replace the wheel bearings on your own if you are a DIY kind of guy.
If you are noticing that the front wheel is leaning inward at top due to negative wheel camber then it is necessary to get the wheel alignment checked to avoid possible uneven tire wear, poor vehicle handling, and control.
It is recommended to get the wheel alignment done once a year to extend tire life by preventing uneven tire wear and also to ensure vehicle safety and to avoid costlier repair operations.
The negative camber is often the result of worn-out suspension and steering parts like ball joints, bushes, mounts, loose nuts, and bad bearings.
You need to inspect the parts thoroughly by jacking up the vehicle and look for part movements when you push the wheels during the inspection.
Whenever you replace any worn-out parts of suspension and steering, it is recommended to get the wheel alignment check done.
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