The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part VII – Tuning your Toe
By Mike Kojima
Previously in our series we were talking about general tips for you to follow when tuning your suspension. In our last installment we talked about adjusting your camber to gain more grip. Today we will talk about an easier and more basic adjustment that has a great influence in handling, adjusting your toe settings.
Tune Your Toe
Toe refers to the direction a car’s tires are pointed relative to each other when viewed from above. Toe in means the front of the tires are closer to each other than the rears. The opposite is toe out.
|From the left to right, toe in, toe out and zero toe as shown from above looking downward. Of course this is the front wheels but you can also tune toe on the rear wheels with good effect as well.|
Fine tuning toe settings will allow a measure of control that is often overlooked. It also has a significant effect on how a car behaves in a corner. Front toe settings make a big difference in how a car handles in the first third of the turn, the critical turn in phase where cornering force is initiated. Rear toe settings can be critical for helping a RWD car get on the gas on the exit of a corner harder and sooner.
|Toe adjustments are not well understood but can make a big difference and can be used to help you go faster in all motorsports from autocross, to road racing, to rally and drifting.|
The cool thing is that toe settings are probably one of the easiest alignment settings to do and all cars are toe adjustable with the exception of rear toe in cars with beam and solid rear axles. This makes it so you can experiment with different toe settings and get a feel for how they affect chassis balance.