Among many other things, Jeep Toe settings may cause or add to a Death Wobble or a number of other driving ability problems. One measurement to make sure you've adjusted properly on your front suspension is your Jeep Toe setting. A bad Toe setting can not only cause driving issues, it can wear out expensive tires in a hurry if not set correctly.
What Exactly is Jeep Toe?
The Toe setting is, in basic terms, how much the front edge of the tire is aligned with the vehicle and the suspension. Meaning, when you glance at your front tires, they seem like they are exactly straight with the sides of your Jeep, pointing forward (when the steering wheel is centered). But they usually have a little bit of Toe in them. This means, the front edge of the tire is actually pointing inward just a few degrees. (inward is known as Toe-In, outward, which is unusual, would be Toe-Out).
How Does Toe Apply to My Jeep?
Having the correct Toe setting allows the vehicle to drive easier, as it tends to want to go in a straight line when you let go of the steering wheel. It also helps keep even wear across the front tires. If the Toe measurement is off, your tires can wear in an uneven fashion, and it usually results in a bald patch just on the very inside or outside edge of the tire, depending on the toe.
How is Toe Set on a Jeep?
The Toe is set by a mechanic when you have your vehicle aligned. The Toe is one of several measurements checked, and changed when needed. To change the Toe, to bring the front edge of the tire inward (or outward), a tie rod is threaded in or out. This is done with an adjusting sleeve, which goes between the outer tie rod, and an inner tie rod (or a centerlink, depending on the vehicle). Here's an image below to illustrate this:
The adjustment sleeve has two bolts that, when tightened, lock it in place. To change the toe, a mechanic would loosen those bolts and rotate the sleeve in one direction to pull the tie rod in, or rotate it the other way to push the tie rod, and the edge of the tire, out. This is done in very small increments. If you measured with a ruler, it'd be around 1/8 of an inch, though on an alignment machine, it can be measured in degrees.
Toe Settings on a Jeep Suspension
Because it's hard to see with the naked eye, it's such a small measurement, the best way is to have it done is at a shop with a modern alignment machine. Many vehicles have 0 degrees of Toe right off the assembly line. So getting an alignment is a good thing to do throughout the life of your Jeep. If you trail, hit objects, run over objects, or bounce off curbs, anything can throw an alignment out of whack. Many owners like to alter their Toe on their own at home. This can be done, and in the old days, people would literally use a piece of string between two tires to do it. But it's such a small amount, maybe 1/16" to 1/8", it's not easy to get an accurate setting with your eyes. By the way, the higher the setting on your Jeep Toe, in or out, the more likely you will get uneven wear on your tires. Also, if you lifted your Jeep, your alignment specs have probably changed, and the factory settings will no longer work, so adjustments may need to be done. If you get your Jeep aligned, you want to use a shop that's familiar with lifted vehicles. A good alignment mechanic can usually determine a good alignment spec on a modified vehicle just using their years of experience. Each vehicle, each Jeep, will have different alignment specs in stock form. So one size definitely does not fit all. Check your specs if you want to change anything on your own. If you go to a shop, they will already have that information in their alignment machine. Toe - just one more way to keep your Jeep going forward in a straight line (at least, when you're on-road!). How often do you get your tires aligned? Do you notice a difference in performance and wear? Give us your thoughts in the comments section!