The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven – Tuning your Toe

The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven- Tuning your Toe

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.

To read the rest of the series, click here!

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.

The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven- Tuning your Toe
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.

The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling: Part Seven- Tuning your Toe
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.


  1. Practical tip: after using toe plates double check your work by placing a toe plate on the front and rear wheel on the same side of the car with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead. Lie on the ground and sight along the toe plates. Do the same on the opposite side of the car. This will show up any large errors in your toe plate alignment. It’s easy to turn a turnbuckle in the wrong direction and not notice if you skip this step. Also, be aware that changes in camber may or may not change toe. And ride height changes can affect camber and toe. So after lowering your car off the jackstands you need to bounce it at all four corners or drive it a short distance to make sure the suspension has settled back to its normal ride height. This last step is especially important if you have poly bushings which tend to have some initial resistance to rotation (hint: poly bushings occasionally need to be taken apart and greased). One last tip: On your street car if you see feathering on your tires (tread blocks wear into a wedge shape) you have a toe problem. On your track car if you have tire chunking (pieces of tread break off the tire carcass) you may have a toe problem.

  2. when you refer to 1/8 or 1/4inch adjustments are you talking about just one side or the total amount of both left and right wheels?

  3. Hey Mike!
    I was reading your The Ultimate Guide to Suspension and Handling for like three years without racing just dreaming of racing some day.
    This year was my first year of ice racing. And damn! The difference correct toe tuning makes!
    Just wanted to say how greatful I am for the guides.
    Thanks mate!

  4. Another thank you for Mike from me.

    After reducing front toe-in to the minimum the equipment could register (0.03degrees each side) and reducing the rear toe-in (0.06 degrees each) and camber (from 2.6 to 2.0 degrees) and nothing else, cornering G went from 0.8 to 1.0 on winter tyres. 0.8 was ok, but 1.0 is excellent for a street setup and i can keep the car there as long as the turn lasts. Above 1.0G understeer sets in but I think a slight increase in track width, caster and SAI might raise that.

    On good summer tyres the limit is higher but cant tell how high yet. With 215/50r17 Hankook Ventus prime2 on the rear and 225/45r17 Hankook ventus v12 evo2 up front the rear stepped out at 1.05G. Ordered wider wheels and 4 235/45r17 tyres, will see where we are after lockdown, but 1.15G or above i suspect.

    Just wanted to share those numbers for people who are wondering how much differernce toe can make, though the reduced camber in the back will also have helped to make the car turn.

  5. Hi from halfway across the world, Mike. I’m a big fan of your articles and this series in particular. What are your thoughts about using toe out to counter the toe in moment/effect caused by negative camber thrust? Assuming we don’t care about tire wear, of course.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers


  6. Mike, thanks so much for all the great information, you’ve helped me drop seconds off my lap times.
    I was wondering if the toe recommendations listed are total toe or per side?

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