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What Is Rear Toe Adjustment And How Does It Affect Driving Control?

Toe adjustment may be a phrase you have heard in the workshop when you have your tyres checked or changed but what does it mean?

Toe adjustment or toe alignment refers to the amount by which the wheels are closer or further apart at their front edges compared to their rear edges.

Most tyre fitters refer to ‘toe-in’ or ‘toe-out. The difference can be very small, roughly 0.3mm to 1.6mm.

Why is Rear Toe Adjustment Important?

Incorrect toe adjustment effectively means that the front wheels are wrongly aligned. This can seriously impact the car’s handling and will certainly cause uneven tyre wear.

Is Rear Toe Adjustment Something you can Change?

A garage can adjust the amount of toe using special equipment. Toe-in or toe-out is adjustable on all cars.

Why does Rear Toe Adjustment go Wrong?

‘Kerbing’ your car – hitting the kerb hard – can affect toe adjustment, or it can go wrong because it has not been set correctly by the garage. You might be alerted by poor performance or handling or, there could be uneven wear appearing on the tyres.

Ask your garage to check the rear toe adjustment as well as the camber.

Checking the Toe Setting at Home

If you suspect the toe setting, then you can check this yourself at home. Here’s how.

  • Remove any luggage from the car
  • Check the tyre inflation and make sure it is correct on all four tyres
  • Make sure the track rods are straight and the same length on both sides
  • Put the car on a flat surface which is even – avoid a driveway or road with camber
  • Centre the steering
  • Release the handbrake and push the car forward so it rolls and comes gently to a stop without any assistance from the brakes
  • Bounce it a few times so the suspension settles and is even
  • Using the car handbook, find the measuring point on each front wheel
  • On the front of the wheel, measure from one outer wheel rim to the other using a piece of wire or a length of string, pulling it taut at both front and rear
  • Mark this level on the tyres using chalk and a ruler
  • Mark the wire near the end and then with the help of another person, keep the mark on the measuring point and then stretch the wire over to the other. Keep it taut and mark the wire where it touches the second measuring point
  • Repeat the process at the rear of the wheel and try to keep the same tension on the wire or string

The distance between the first and second marks on the wire is double the toe-in or toe-out.

Don’t worry if the measurement is not truly accurate as the object of the exercise is not to work out the exact figure but just to establish whether the wheels have a slight toe-in or toe-out.

Working out the Measuring Points on each Front Wheel

The car handbook will provide a toe setting which commonly is the measurement between the inner wheel rims at their front and rear edges at the level of the hub.

Final Thoughts

Think of the toe as the angle at which the front of the wheels points inwards or outwards. Rear toe adjustment may be required if the handling of the car is suspect or there is uneven wear on the tyres. Toe adjustment can also be used to influence performance. Racing cars tend to favour toe-out alignment for better cornering whereas standard road vehicles tend to be slightly toe-in as this offers better stability.

Here at Supalign, we offer rear toe adjustments linking including platforms and scissor lifts and computerised and laser wheel aligners with expert and professional service from the Supalign team.


Offering an extensive range of laser, CCD & 3D aligners Supalign is a one stop shop for wheel alignment requirements.