bought a lowered car and need solution to tire wear


snowball1288
03-22-2005, 05:40 PM
alrighty, i know this is going to sound a little dumb and the answers are probably scattered throughout this forum - as this is my first post - , but im in a bit of a time/money crunch. Any help is appreciated.

ok so heres the situation. I bought a 1999 honda Civic DX Hatchback. Its had several owners and its history is a blur. Its been lowered. The car has about 45K miles. The tires have less than 12K miles on them.

There's really unusual (and bad) tire wear on the inner edges of all four tires, but much more wear on teh front than the rear. Ive done a little research and took it into les schabb tire center and they said i need to have Camber Kits installed. Les Shuabb wants $700 for the camber kits, installed. im only 16 and inexperienced with these things... id rather not try to do it myself. If a $700 set of Camber Kits will not save me $700 in tires (and yes this car has expensive tires.... $400 a set), id rather forget them and just run on the existing suspension system.

I took it to another shop, and they said that a majority of my tire wear was NOT due to camber, and that i should simply get my toe aligned. Visibly, i can see that the car has a lot of toe-out on the front wheels - maybe a half inch.

So i have several questions, answers to any of which are much appreciated:

1) Is the Toe-out really causing most of my tire wear?
2) Can my toe be completely restored to its origional value?
3) Should i get Camber Kits installed? Will they pay off in terms of tires?
4) With Camber Kits AND a wheel alignment, can my car's alignment be completely restored so it stops eating tires?
5) Will camber kits or reduction of toe-out help or hurt my car's already exceptional corning?

Greenblurr93
03-22-2005, 05:55 PM
not sure about toe, but it sounds like u have a major camber problem, get a camber kit like skunk2 or ingalls, have it installed (souldnt be too much) and get an alignment, that should solve most if not all of your tire wear.

snowball1288
03-22-2005, 06:07 PM
i would like to keep the idea of camber kits as a last resort, but how easy are camber kits to install?

Greenblurr93
03-22-2005, 07:33 PM
pretty easy, and camber kits should NEVER be a last resort, they should go with any lowering kit u buy.

snowball1288
03-22-2005, 07:46 PM
ok les shwabb wants to put in SPC Performance Camber Kits that can allow for camber AND caster adjustments. they sure look good to me... do you guys know anything about SPC Camber Kits? are they any good?

Greenblurr93
03-22-2005, 08:51 PM
yes they are good, but so are ingalls and skunk2, i suggest shopping around and get the best price, and you can install them yourself, its not hard, then take it for an alignment.

CivicSiRacer
03-22-2005, 10:52 PM
As many say (including me) Toe kills tires more than camber.

If you can visually see toe out then I would get it aligned first. Do you know how much it's dropped? Or have a picture of it?

$700 for a camber kit and install is OUTRAGEOUS! Camber kit itself is around $120 and to install yourself takes about 2 hours. Then you need to get it aligned.

snowball1288
03-23-2005, 02:14 AM
they want roughly $120 bucks for installation and something like $550 in parts.... aparently these SPC Camber Kits they install are really nice. i dunno, ill keep checking prices, but i think my parents would rather pay $120 in installation than let me do it myself... lol

BullShifter
03-23-2005, 02:45 AM
If it's lowered more than 2" then YES you will need camber kits. Any thing above 2" is marginal, really up to you because the camber change isn't a lot. There is a cheap way for the rear - www.tirerack.com look into the Ingalls bolt & washer kits. For the fronts I'd go with Ingalls but SPC is also good.

This is how easy the rear is - http://home.earthlink.net/~civicex95/rearcamber.html Just don't use cheap ass hardware as shown in the link. Buy Ingalls or grade 8 or better bolts.

Toe can be set to factory spec's without any special kits, it's all in the tie rod ends.

Yes it can be aligned to spec with camber kits, as far as Toe, Camber, & Caster go. those are the main points of an alignment. There are other angles that change with lowering but don't become an issue unless it's a race car.

Negative camber eats the inside edge
Toe in/out eats the whole tire

Negative camber will help in cornering but I don't think you will feel a difference after the camber is corrected, maybe a skilled driver would feel it.

snowball1288
03-23-2005, 03:03 AM
dont have a picture, and i dont know how far its been lowered... but if id have to guess id say 3 inches.... from what you guys have said, i definatly need a camber kit. The car has 17 inch wheels with really slim tires which come pretty close (1-2 inches maybe) to scraping the body with teh wheel turned all the way to one side.

you guys think my handling will get worse or better? considering the extreme wear ive been seeing, it seems like all teh car's weight is resting on a small portion of tire tread... maybe with a bit less camber (but still negative camber), it will get even better. Its handling is pretty specacular right now. ive never seen anything like it... its better than my dad's bmw 325xi.
:biggrin:

CivicSiRacer
03-23-2005, 12:47 PM
dont have a picture, and i dont know how far its been lowered... but if id have to guess id say 3 inches.... from what you guys have said, i definatly need a camber kit. The car has 17 inch wheels with really slim tires which come pretty close (1-2 inches maybe) to scraping the body with teh wheel turned all the way to one side.

you guys think my handling will get worse or better? considering the extreme wear ive been seeing, it seems like all teh car's weight is resting on a small portion of tire tread... maybe with a bit less camber (but still negative camber), it will get even better. Its handling is pretty specacular right now. ive never seen anything like it... its better than my dad's bmw 325xi.
:biggrin:

If you can see the tops of the tire lining up with the fenders than the car is dropped about 2-2.25". If you cannot see the tops of the tires then I would guess 3".

Handling depends on alot of things: camber, toe, how low you are, how much shock travel you have, what sway bars you have, tires, etc....

But what you describe as tire wear is usually too much toe (in or out). Camber does help with cornering to a point. Too much camber is just excessive for the street.

For reference I run -3.0 front camber and -2.0 rear, but 0 toe front and rear and I autocross about 40 events a year driving about 10-15,000 miles a year and my tires last 1 1/2 years usually.

snowball1288
03-23-2005, 05:16 PM
hmmm my tires have got to last longer than that. this car is my main mode of transportation (if im not being driven by my parents). Im expecting about 10K miles per year on the car, and we're hoping for about 30-40K out of the tires. Is this an unreasonable expectation given teh modifications to my car? With camber kits and a full alignment will my tires last this long?

BullShifter
03-24-2005, 01:48 AM
Besides alignment, tire choice and driving conditions will determine how long tires will last. If you use a "summer" high performance tire they aren't going to last for shit no matter how you drive. Your better off using "all season" tires for normal street driving and if you want that extra kick in handling buy a 2nd set of wheels and soft tires for short periods of use.

CivicSiRacer will agree that tires are a major factor in handling. Not only acceleration, braking is done through the tire. Brake pads and rotors don't stop a car, the brake system stops the wheel/tire which stops the vehicle.

Add your comment to this topic!