Forza Horizon 5 Tuning – How To Setup Your Car – Ultimate Guide
Forza Horizon 5 Tuning can be an important part of the game to master to optimise your car's performance. Follow this ultimate guide to learn how to tune your car to its full potential.
Forza Horizon 5 has landed with a bang (quite literally if you’ve played the opening sequence where you are dropped out of a cargo plane!) And it has been extremely well received by players and critics.
This is no real surprise, as Forza is one of the longest-running and most popular racing game franchises of all time. One of the reasons Forza Horizon is hugely popular is due to the pure amount of activities you can partake in in-game.
These activities can range from different racing disciplines such as street racing, drifting and rallying. But they also include being able to paint and tune your car. Many players jump into a Forza game just for the livery editing, and many will spend a lot of hours in the garage tuning their cars.
In this guide, I’m going to focus on Forza Horizon 5 tuning
I’ll run through all of the different aspects of tuning your car within Forza Horizon 5, and how to achieve certain results. As well as running through every tuning option to help provide a good understanding of how each setup option will affect your car’s handling.
My goal for this guide is to help those who want to learn how to tune their cars in Forza, by providing some insight into how Forza Horizon 5 tuning works. And to also help improve the knowledge of more experienced Forza tuners, or those who are having some issues with certain aspects of a car’s setup.
Finally, I’ll round out by giving you a few solutions for common problems. Maybe your car understeers too much, or maybe it loses too much grip over bumps. Check out my setup solutions towards the end of this guide for answers to common handling issues, and a resolution for how you can solve them.
Why tune my own car when I can just download a community setup?
There are plenty of car setups available for you to download in Forza Horizon 5, and the process of downloading a tune is super easy. However, it may be hard to find a tune that works well for the result you are after.
If you want to create a car setup that is perfectly adapted to your own driving style and achieves the result you are after, tuning yourself is the way to go.
Say you want a car with great straight-line speed, but is gentle over the bumps, or a car that has a tendency to understeer, but can maintain a high minimum speed. Finding a community setup with these exact requirements could be extremely hard.
Forza Horizon 5 Tuning Options
Before I go too deep, I want to give you an overview of each area of the car that you can tune. This will serve as a brief introduction to each aspect of tuning. Then further down this guide, I will jump into each area in a little more detail.
Your tyre pressures control how much pressure is in each tyre. This directly affects how inflated your tyres are, affecting your overall contact patch with the road, and how soft your tyres are under stress.
Your gearing setup will allow you to individually adjust your gear ratios. This serves as a great area to tune your car towards faster acceleration or better top speed. And these tuning options will directly affect how quickly you need to change through the gears when driving.
Your alignment affects the angles that your wheels are aligned to. Camber affects the angle at which your wheels lean when looking from the front. This can affect how much of your tyre is in contact with the road as you lean on each tyre through a corner.
Toe affects whether your tyres point in or out. This can adjust a lot of aspects of your car, from tyre temperatures to how responsive your car is. Your caster affects the angle of your suspension mounting, which in turn affects the camber of your wheels.
I’ll go into much more detail about alignment below, as it is a very important part of your overall car setup.
Your anti-roll bars link both sides of your suspension. They can have a big effect on overall handling and can affect how much oversteer you get mid-corner.
Your springs and ride height tuning will affect how stiff and rigid your car is over bumps, as well as how low your car sits to the ground. Just like anti-roll bars, this can have an effect on your oversteer/understeer balance.
Your damping setup is the third suspension tuning setup area and is heavily linked to your springs and anti-roll bar. Your dampers affect how fast or slow your springs compress and extend.
Your aerodynamic setup controls how much downforce your car generates. Here you can tune your car for ultimate top speed or better cornering downforce.
Your braking setup options with Forza Horizon 5 work in a very similar way to many other games. You have a setup option for brake balance, and one for brake pressure.
Here you can optimise how much braking force gets sent to the front and rear wheels, and also how sensitive your brakes are.
Your differential controls how much power gets sent to each individual wheel across an axle. For example, a rear-wheel-drive car with a rear diff will control how much power goes to each rear wheel of your car.
This is great at controlling how much slip your car has under traction, and how much oversteer or understeer your car has.
Why are some Forza Horizon 5 tuning options locked?
When you first open up your car setup in Forza Horizon 5, you will more than likely see that a few setup options are greyed out with a lock icon next to them.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to tune that area of the car. But it does mean you can’t tune it without a specific upgrade.
For example, if you look at the aero setup options, with most stock road cars you will see both front and rear aero locked. This is because there isn’t a tunable part installed in that area yet. Sticking with the aero example, to be able to tune your downforce and aerodynamics your car will need an adjustable front splitter, and an adjustable rear wing installed.
You can install these parts over in the custom upgrade part of the garage. Simply head over to upgrades, click on the “aero and appearance” tile, and you will see that you can install an adjustable part. This is indicated by the green note saying”Adjustable” on each individual part. If the note is in yellow and says “Non-adjustable” then you won’t be able to tune that part of your car if you install that particular part.
As soon as you have installed the adjustable part, you can head back to the custom tuning section and you will find the aero is now adjustable.
This method can be applied to various parts of your car’s tuning, from the gearing to the brakes and more.
Top tip – As an extra note, some parts that you can install will only partially unlock tuning options. For example, the gearing can only be fully tunable when you install a race transmission. If you only install the sport transmission, you will only be able to partially tune your gearing.
Now I’ve run through what each setup option generally does at a base level, I’ll start to look at each Forza Horizon 5 tuning option in much more detail. I’ll show you exactly what every setup option does, and I’ll give you some starting values so you can create a base tune.
In-depth tyre tuning guide
Your tyre pressures directly affect how much air is in each of your tyres. As Forza Horizon 5 isn’t a full-on simulator, tyre wear isn’t an issue here. We don’t need to set up our car to counteract tyre wear. We can focus entirely on grip and responsiveness.
As a general rule of thumb, the more pressure in your tyres, the more responsive they will feel. You will have more ultimate grip. This doesn’t mean you should maximise your tyre pressures though because high tyre pressures can break traction much easier.
If your tyres are over-inflated, you will have less surface area in contact with the road, meaning it is easier to lose traction altogether.
With lower tyre pressures, you have more of a contact patch with the road. This does a few things to our setup. It will first make it harder to break traction as you have a larger contact patch.
It will also increase our overall tyre temperatures as there is more scrubbing happening. Scrubbing can mean a few things, but with tyres, it refers to the movement of your tyre across the track surface.
Finally, lower pressures reduce responsiveness making your car feel a little more sluggish in general. This is because as you turn your steering wheel, there is more of the tyre touching the road, making it harder for you to turn your wheels.
It is generally preferable to have slightly more tyre pressures at the front to make your front wheels a little more responsive. You can aim to have your pressures around the 30-34 mark to start with and hone them in once you start testing on track.
In-depth gearing tuning guide
Gearing tuning will allow you to adjust how fast your car goes through the gears as you accelerate.
If you increase your gearing you are doing two things. First, your car will travel through the rev range slightly slower. This will affect your outright acceleration speed.
However, as your rev range is increased, your car has a higher potential top speed. Tuning your gearing really is a trade-off between top speed and acceleration.
If you have added power to your car via custom upgrades, you will probably need to adjust your gearing to suit this. Your stock gearing will be too short, meaning your car will rev too fast, and won’t reach its true top speed potential.
When it comes to actually adjusting your gear ratio, you can approach it in two ways. Your final gear will affect your whole gearing. You increase your final gear and all of your gearing becomes longer. You reduce it and all gears become shorter.
A very visual way to show your gear setup is via the graph in the bottom right corner of the tuning screen. Each individual white line represents a single gear. And the length of the graph is your overall speed.
The goal is to tune your gearing so your final gear is close to the maximum potential top speed, indicated by the bottom right number of the graph.
If you move your final gear to the left, towards speed you will lengthen your gears. This is normally the first place to start so your gearing closes matches your car’s top speed potential.
I would also move your first and second gear individually a touch closer to the left (lengthening the gear). This will make your car rev through first and second gear slightly slower, which will help increase your traction. Your car wont be as wild when accelerating from slow speed, and this technique is especially helpful in higher powered cars.
In-depth alignment tuning guide
I’m going to kick off our alignment tuning guide with camber, as each individual tuning option within alignment is very important.
As mentioned in my brief overview, the camber affects the angle of your wheels looking from the front. More negative camber will point the tops of your wheels closer to the car. Whilst any positive camber will point them away from the car.
It is the norm to set up your car with negative camber. This angles your wheels so that when you turn through a corner, your car leans on your tyre. This in turn pushes more surface area into contact with the road surfacing, increasing mid-corner grip.
The more negative camber you tune into your car, the smaller your contact patch will be when travelling in a straight line. This will affect braking performance. This will prevent us from running a camber setup that is too high.
Start your setup off with around -1.5° to -1.8° of negative camber at the front, and slightly less at the rear. This will give us a good base to work from.
Your toe works in a similar method to camber but affects the angle of the wheels when looking at them from the top. Toe-in means that the front of your tyres will be pointing in towards your car, and toe-out points them away from your car.
Toe out is generally preferable for the front tyres, but only a little bit. Toe out will give you slightly more responsiveness, but can make your car feel twitchy if you apply too much toe. I normally go for 0.1° or 0.2° of toe out at the front, and 0° or -0.1° of toe in at the rear.
Toe in at the rear of your car will promote understeer, which can help stabilise your car, especially if your car is rear-wheel-drive.
Your caster affects the angle that your suspension arm sits when looking from the side. A caster angle of 0° means that your suspension sits directly vertical. While any degrees of positive caster will angle the top of the suspension arm towards the rear of your car.
You will generally find setups with positive caster angles. The results of this are higher amounts of camber when cornering while keeping the camber more neutral when travelling in a straight line.
With higher caster settings, you can run slightly lower camber angles, which will help with braking in a straight line. Because of this you can run your caster a little higher than default while lowering the camber angle a touch as I recommended above. Go for a starting angle of around 6-7°.
In-depth anti-roll bar tuning guide
Your ARBs (anti-roll bars) tie both of your wheels together across the left and right sides of the car. Front ARBs link both front left and front right, while rear ARBs do the same across the rear axle.
Stiffer ARBs will allow less body roll through a corner, while softer ARBs will let your car roll more, making it feel softer and washier as you turn.
By softening the front ARBs you will start to introduce a tendency to oversteer. Softening the rear ARBs will give your car a tendency to understeer.
It is recommended that you soften your front ARBs to start with and stiffen your rear ARBs a touch. This will give us a good platform for a base setup, which we can adjust later.
The ARBs play a big role in fine-tuning your car to understeer or oversteer, so we will definitely look to adjust these more when we get out onto the track.
In-depth springs tuning guide
The springs tuning option will affect how stiff your car feels over bumps and through corners. It plays a large roll in how much understeer and oversteer your car has so should be adjusted along with your ARBs and your damping.
Forza Horizon 5’s base tunes have a tendency to understeer too much, so I always like to soften up the front of the car a little for my first tuning pass. I presume the developers set up the base tunes in this way to make each car a little more controllable for a wider range of racers.
As a good rule of thumb, a softer front sprint will increase your oversteer, while a softer rear spring will increase understeer.
If you set up your overall spring tune to be too soft, however, your car will feel slower and less responsive. If you tune your car to be too stiff, it will have a tendency to snap out of control over harsher bumps and can be slightly harder to drive.
As I mentioned, lowering the front spring stiffness is my recommendation here.
Your ride height controls how low your car is to the ground. This should be adjusted in line with your spring stiffness, as a car that is lower will require slightly stiffer springs to stop the car from bouncing into the ground over bumps.
The goal with ride height is to lower your car as far as you can get away with before you start touching the road surface. Lower ride heights improve your overall handling by reducing your center of gravity. You’ll also encounter less drag meaning your car will be a touch faster too.
If you lower your car too much though it will start touching the ground and bottoming out. This is something we definitely want to avoid. If you bottom out you will feel a sudden loss of control, and your car could spin out.
The base ride height tune in Forza Horizon 5 is almost always too conservative and can be lowered a touch.
In-depth damping tuning guide
Your damping tune affects how your suspension behaves over bumps and works in tandem with your spring setup.
The rebound stiffness affects how fast or slow your suspension recovers from being compressed. It directly affects how your spring extends after compression.
Much like our spring stiffness, if you tune your dampers in Forza Horizon 5 to be too stiff, your car can feel skittish over bumps. This is normally one area that the developers have got right, so I quite often leave the default tune alone to start with.
The bump stiffness is much like the rebound stiffness but in reverse. The bump stiffness will affect how fast your springs compress. You can calculate your bump stiffness based on how you have tuned your rebound stiffness.
Throughout motorsports, the rough calculation is that your bump stiffness should be around 60-70% of your rebound stiffness. This is about where the default tune is, and much like the rebound stiffness above, I don’t normally touch this for my first tuning pass.
As we move on to track testing this setup, you can tune in some oversteer or understeer characteristics by playing with your damper tune.
In-depth aero tuning guide
Your aerodynamic setup directly affects the amount of downforce generated. Higher aerodynamics will produce more downforce at either the front or rear of your car.
If you are tuning your car for a shorter track where top speed isn’t as important, or you require more cornering ability, you can tune your aero towards cornering. This will however have the negative affect of making your car slower in a straight line as you’re effectively creating extra drag.
Increasing front aero is a good technique if your car is understeering too much. Your car will become more responsive at the front with more front aero applied. This will however increase the tendency to oversteer, as the rear of the car will feel lighter due to the front having more of the aero balance.
Adding rear aero does the inverse of front aero. More rear aero will improve rear stability allowing your car to feel more planted. But too much will increase understeer as the front of your car won’t have as much of the downforce.
I would normally look to increase my aero at both the front and rear of the car. But as this tuning option will have a huge impact on your car’s behaviour and speed, you can adjust it to fit the style of car you are building.
In-depth brake tuning guide
Your brake tune will help you feel more confident under braking. It is a simple, yet effective part of your setup that you should always consider.
The brake balance affects how much of the braking force is distributed to the front or rear of your car. More frontward braking will improve overall braking stability while making your car more prone to understeering.
By moving your brake balance rearward, you will create a car with the tendency to be more twitchy at the rear. In motorsport and other sim racing games, you will normally find a more frontward brake bias, normally between 52%-57%. So in Horizon 5 I would recommend adjusting this slightly towards the front.
Your brake pressure will affect the amount of brake force that is applied when you apply 100% brakes. Higher brake pressure will increase your overall braking force, but will also increase the possibility of locking your wheels.
I would recommend leaving this at 100% to start with, as the higher you go, the harder it will become to brake at full force without either locking a wheel or using the ABS assist.
In-depth differential tuning guide
Your differential is one of the more confusing areas of your overall tune. This controls the amount of power that is sent to either the left or right wheel along a specific axle.
Front-wheel drive cars will have a front diff, while rear-wheel-drive cars will have a rear diff. And some all-wheel drive cars will have both a front, rear and center diff.
If you lower your diff tune, (or open your diff) then your car will send the most amount of power to the wheel which is easiest to turn. This can mean that you get a lot of power to the inside wheel during cornering as that wheel is less loaded than the outside wheel (because the car will be leaning on the outside wheel as you turn).
The more you close or lock your differential, the more evenly power will get distributed along each axle. It definitely isn’t recommended to lock the differential entirely if you are street or track racing, as this will cause both tyres to rotate at the exact same speed.
If both tyres rotate at the same speed you will lose traction. This is because your outside tyre needs to spin faster as it’s travelling a longer distance when you turn a corner. If both tyres are spinning at the same rate, your inside tyre will break traction as it is spinning faster than it needs to.
The difference between acceleration and deceleration is how your diff behaves under acceleration and off-throttle. These settings can also be called on-throttle and off-throttle diff (Just like in the F1 series of games)
Adjusting your acceleration tune will directly affect traction, or how easy it is for your car to break traction when you accelerate. A higher acceleration setup will increase oversteer, and lowering this will increase understeer.
For track racing, you won’t want to go much higher than about 70-80% as your car will start to oversteer more and more. Higher powered cars can handle a higher acceleration setup than lower-powered cars.
The opposite of the above is true for front-wheeled-drive cars. The lower your diff setting, the more oversteer you will have, and the higher your setup, the more understeer you’ll get. Typically you’ll want a value around 15-30% here.
For the deceleration diff setup, this will affect rotation on corner entry, and generally lower is better. If you have seen any of my F1 2021 car setups, you’ll know that I always run an extremely low off-throttle (deceleration) diff setup. This will promote better corner entry while minimising understeer.
If you do go too low with your off-throttle diff though, you can promote lift-off oversteer, making your car behave wildly on corner entry. If you need stability under braking, a higher deceleration setup can help out.
Always keep your deceleration diff tuned low, and it can be set anywhere from 0%-25%.
Your center diff will act as an overall controller for how much power gets sent to the front or rear of your car. This is often referred to as drift mode in many four-wheel-drive road cars such as Mercedes.
In those road cars, the drift mode will change the center diff to send more power to the rear wheels, making them spin faster breaking traction.
Typically you will want a more rearward focused setup here to promote more oversteer. Especially in rally cars where you need to be able to swing the rear of the car around. Go for a tune around 60-80% here. If you need a bit more understeer, you can bring this back closer to 50%.
Testing & tweaking your setup
With the technical part of this guide complete, it’s now time to hit the track for the first time. This is where you will start to get a feel for how your car behaves and gives us a chance to make any corrections that may be necessary.
I would recommend finding a part of the Forza Horizon 5 map that suits your car’s driving style to test on. For example, if you are creating a track car, head over to one of the asphalt race tracks in the game. There is no point testing your car in an area that you won’t be driving it in.
While testing your car I would recommend using the telemetry window to show you exactly what is happening at all times. This is accessed in-game by switching Anna for telemetry in the settings and hitting the down button on your d-pad. You can then scroll through different telemetry windows using the left and right d-pad buttons.
A few areas to keep an eye on while testing is your tyres and suspension compression.
Checking tyre pressures
First up in our series of test is the tyre temperatures and pressures. Open up the heat telemetry window and start to drive around. You will notice that each tyre changes colour from blue through yellow and red.
If your readout is going into red regularly under normal conditions, then your tyres are running too hot. Your goal should be to set up your tyre pressures so that under cornering your tyre readout doesn’t go any darker than yellow. This is where your peak grip will be.
On the flip side. If your tyres aren’t reaching the yellow zone under cornering then there is a good chance your tyres aren’t getting enough heat into them.
When testing your camber, you should open up your tyres window. Here there are four different camber readouts that you should keep an eye on.
When your car isn’t moving the camber values should be close to what you set them up as in the tune. As you start to drive and corner you will see these fluctuate up and down.
The key here is to keep an eye on the outside wheel’s camber as you corner. You need to ensure while cornering this value doesn’t go into positive numbers. In fact, it shouldn’t really dip below -0.5°. If it does go lower than this, or into positive readout, you should look to increase your negative camber.
Run a few corners, while keeping an eye on the outside tyres while cornering and ensure your camber value is around -1° and -0.5° at its peak. If it is much lower than this, you may have too much camber installed into your setup.
With the suspension, you will want to ensure your suspension isn’t bottoming out. You can test this by ensuring the pink bar doesn’t hit the top or bottom of the white bar it sits in. If it does, then you’ll need to jump back into the setup and tweak a few things.
If you are experiencing any issues, check out our potential issues and fixes section below.
Potential issues and how to best fix them
By now we should have a reasonable base tune for your car in Forza Horizon 5. We should have checked that the camber, tyre temperatures and suspension are all working as they should be.
However if you are experiencing any issues with any of these areas, or other areas of your setup, then some adjustments should be made. This part of the guide will run you through common problems, and how to apply setup tweaks to fix them.
The most common issues come in the form of understeer and oversteer, so I’ll address those issues first.
Too much understeer on corner entry
- Increase front aero
- Increase toe out at the front of the car
- Lower rear deceleration differential
- Increase front tyre pressures
- Lower your front springs, rebound stiffness and ARBs
- Increase rear spring stiffness
Too much understeer on corner exit
- Increase rear acceleration differential
- Adjust center diff more rearward
- Stiffen ARBs
Too much oversteer on corner entry
- Increase deceleration differential
- Increase front toe-in
- Increase front springs, rebound stiffness and ARBs
- Increase rear aero or lower front aero
Too much oversteer on corner exit
- Lower your rear acceleration differential
- Adjust center diff more frontward
- Soften rear ARBs
Tyres not heating up
- If you have understeer, increase toe out
- If you have oversteer, increase toe out
Car too twitchy over bumps
- Lower your spring stiffness
- Lower rebound stiffness
Car spins when changing direction
- Increase front ARB stiffness
- Increase rear aero
- Increase rear deceleration differential
Not enough braking performance
- Reduce front camber
- Increase caster
- More front aero
- Stiffer front suspension
Car too slow in a straight line
- Adjust final gear more towards speed
- Lower aero
- Lower toe
Too much wheelspin at low speed
- Increase first and second gear ratio towards speed
- Lower rear tyre pressures
- Lower rear camber
Hopefully, this in-depth Forza Horizon 5 tuning guide has helped run you through each tuning department, and how each setup option can affect your car. If you are looking to tune many cars moving forward in Forza Horizon 5, why not bookmark this page so you can easily come back to it in the future.
Forza Horizon 5 Tuning Video Guide
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How to unlock tuning in Forza Horizon 5?
Some tuning options are locked for road cars. You can unlock these buy purchasing adjustable upgrades for each individual car.
How do I stop oversteer in Horizon 5?
There are a few things you can adjust if you have too much oversteer exiting corners in FH5. You can lower your rear acceleration differential, adjust center diff more frontward and soften rear ARBs as a start.
Can I increase my top speed in FH5?
If you have added all of the power upgrades to your car, you can still increase your top speed by adjusting your gearing tuning. Move your final gear towards speed so the last gear touches the end of the graph.
In Forza Horizon 5, how do I tune for better drifting?
If you want your car to be able to drift well you can tune a few things. You can start by fully locking your acceleration differential, increasing tyre pressures and decrease front ARBs to start with.