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Forza » Forza Motorsport Tuning Guide: How To Tune Your Car
Learn how to tune your car in Forza Motorsport with our complete guide to tuning and car setups. I run through all tuning options, how to tune and create the perfect car setup.
The various driving assists in Forza Motorsport make the game more accessible for players of all ability levels. If it’s your first-ever racing game, enabling assists makes keeping your car on track much easier. If you’re a returning player, you can disable driving assists to feel the full power of your car.
Forza Motorsport has introduced a pretty controversial game mechanic to upgrading and progression. You now have to spend a lot of time with a particular car if you wish to buy certain upgrades and improve your car’s performance.
Tuning, however, remains at the core of progression and optimisation within Forza Motorsport. In this guide, I’m going to run through all of the tuning options. Along with how to unlock each tuning option as many of them are locked away at the start.
I’ll then show you what each tuning option does and how it affects your car. And finally I’ll touch on specific ways to tune your car to achieve certain results and make your car handle better.
Check out our guide on the best racing wheels for Forza Motorsport if you’re planning on racing with a wheel.
Below is a complete video run through of how to tune your car in Forza Motorsport. Continue scrolling to read our guide.
Before jumping into the more nitty gritty about each tuning option and what they do. It’s first worth looking over some key areas of tuning in Forza Motorsport.
In the upgrade and tune menu, you have access to a range of settings where you can adjust how your car is tuned and upgraded. The performance sub-menu will allow you to upgrade your car using your car points. This is where you buy new parts such as exhausts, engine parts, suspension etc.
Then, to actually create a custom tune or setup, you’ll need to head over to the tune setup sub-menu. Here, you’ll be able to scroll through all of the individual tuning options available.
Once you have created a custom tune for your car, you can use the setup manager to save your setup. This lets you create custom tunes and be able to load them or share them with the community.
Upgrading your car parts does sit aside from the overall tuning but is very much linked. New car upgrades will unlock new areas of the tuning menu.
Many of the individual tuning options require specific upgrades to be installed. For example, you’ll require a race suspension to be able to adjust much of your suspension tuning setup.
This is fairly realistic, as most stock car parts in real life do not allow for adjustments to be made. It’s only when you start installing track-ready upgrades, that you start to get parts with adjustments.
Within every area of the tuning menu, you’ll see on the right-hand side a bit of information about that specific setting. This includes a sentence at the very top which highlights any restrictions. You’ll see with the gearing for example, that it says I need a gearbox with a sport or race suspension to be able to make adjustments.
I’ll then need to jump into the car upgrade menu, and buy the correct transmission. Then head back to the tuning menu to be able to make adjustments.
Community setups are a great tool for quickly maxing your car’s performance, but they are incredibly hit or miss. The majority of community setups in Forza tend to be maxed-out cars, and they are very rarely what I’m after.
Creating a tune is all about creating a car that handles well and is adapted to your own personal driving style. With a community tune, it’s hard to find the perfect tune that is right in that sweet spot that you’re looking for.
I’d always recommend learning some tips on how to tune cars yourself. This allows you to take any tune either from online or via the community tune menu, and adapt it to your own requirements.
So now we’ve looked at a few key points and areas of the overall tuning in Forza Motorsport and how it works. I want to now run through each part of tuning and show you what every car setup item does and how to tune it.
I’m going to start with the tyres as this is the first option in the car setup menu. Other than the various tyre upgrades such as width and compound, we get the options to change our tyre pressures.
This can be done independently on the front and rear tyres. Increasing tyre pressures inflates them which reduces the amount of tyre that is in contact with the track. This is useful for making your car more responsive, especially if you increase the front tyre pressures.
If you lower the tyre pressures, the larger the contact patch is with the road. This will dampen the steering a little making your car a little slower to turn in, but it can increase your traction. Essentially, lowering your rear tyre pressures can help reduce oversteer.
It’s important to say that if you increase your tyre pressures, you will gain tyre temperature faster, and this can in some cases cause your tyres to wear at a faster rate.
As you drive on track, your tyres heat up, so you won’t want to set your starting tyre pressures to the optimal values. Instead, you should set them lower and after a few laps check your tyre temperatures to see if they are within the ideal pressure window.
Your tyres should be one of the first and last things you tune. By that, I mean give your tyres a base tune at the start. Then after you have set up the rest of your car, circle back around to your tyres and fine-tune them again if required.
Gear tuning requires a sport or race transmission.
Your gearing setup adjusts how your transmission behaves. It’ll affect how fast your car revs and needs to change gears, and is vital in determining your car’s straight-line speed and acceleration.
You can approach gear tuning in a couple of ways. If you aren’t confident in tuning each and every gear, you can simply adjust your final drive. This will affect every gear and can be seen as an overall setting. Or, you can jump into every gear and fine-tune the behaviour of each gear individually.
Essentially, if you are racing on a shorter track, or want to tune more acceleration into your car, you should look to tune your gears towards the right. This will shorten the gears and increase your car’s acceleration potential at the cost of lower top speed.
Moving the gears towards the left will do the opposite. It’ll hurt your acceleration, but give you better top speed. Your goal when tuning your gear setting should be for your car to hit its maximum speed at the end of the longest straight around a track.
If you’re on a short track, and your car feels like it would be able to hit a higher top speed than the track layout allows, you could adjust your gears to be shorter. Alternatively, if your car is reaching its top speed way before the end of the fast part of a track, you may need to tune your gears to be more speed focused.
Alignment tuning requires a race suspension.
The alignment part of your car setup in Forza Motorsport is one of the more confusing parts. Here you can adjust your camber, toe and caster angles. Each of these are a part of your suspension and affects behaviour from understeer and oversteer, through to tyre wear and braking performance.
Starting with the camber, this is the angle of your tyres when viewed from the front. Negative camber, which is most common, involves the front of the tyres leaning in towards the car.
As you travel around a corner, your car’s weight shifts to one side or the other. With your car’s weight over one side of your car, it leans heavily on the tyres on that side.
Having negative camber will bring more of the tyre into contact with the road as you lean on it. This will provide more grip mid-corner.
However, too much camber can cause you to not have enough grip when needed and can result in longer braking distances and less than optimal acceleration.
You can set the camber anywhere between about -1.4° and -2.0°. Typically, you’ll want more negative camber at the front of your car than you do at the rear.
Your toe affects the angle of your tyres when viewed from the top. Having positive toe will mean the front of the tyres point away from your car. Having negative toe will cause the front of your tyres to point toward the car, and look a little cross-eyed.
Increasing your toe-out at the front of the car can increase your car’s responsiveness. This will however affect tyre temperatures by increasing them.
With the rear of the car, you’ll ideally want a tiny bit of toe-in. This will increase the overall stability of your car. You should be very conservative with your toe settings leaving them close to 0° making only minor tweaks if needed.
I normally use toe to help eliminate unwanted characteristics such as oversteer. You can do this by adding a little toe-in at the rear to stabilise your car a bit.
The final setup option in the alignment is the front caster angle. This is the name of the angle of your suspension compared to a vertical alignment.
Higher caster angles increase the mounting angle of your front suspension arm. This will do a few things including making your car a little more stable but also greatly affects your camber setup.
Ideally, we want a pretty neutral caster setup, and by neutral I mean around 5° of angle. You can increase this a touch to add some stability but try not to increase it past around 6°.
Anti-roll bar tuning requires a race anti-roll bar upgrade.
Your anti-roll bars are an important part of your car setup. These will reduce the amount of lean and sway encountered when cornering.
As I mentioned earlier, your car’s weight balance shifts to the outside of your car when cornering. This will cause the body to start to lean or roll. Too much body roll can make your car unstable and unpredictable.
Anti-roll bars step in to reduce this roll and stiffen your car mid-corner. This keeps the balance much more neutral and your car much more stable mid-corner and during weight balance changes.
The anti-roll bar setup has a big impact on understeer and oversteer characteristics of your car. You can stiffen the front ARB to reduce understeer, and soften the rear ARB to reduce oversteer.
Spring stiffness tuning requires a race suspension upgrade.
Your spring and damper setup will directly affect how your car handles bumps and changes in elevation. Softer springs can make a car easier to drive, but overly soft springs can cause the car to bottom out which can cause harsh reactions.
You should look to tune your front and rear springs in relation to both your car’s weight and the characteristics you want out of your car. If your car is heavier at the front such as a front-engined car, you’ll require slightly stiffer front springs.
Softer front springs can increase responsiveness but too much can promote oversteer. A softer rear spring setup can make your car a little hesitant to turn in causing some understeer, but overall it will be more stable.
The ideal area here is to run a softer spring setup all around without inducing any bottoming out. Then tailor your spring setup from front to back to introduce understeer or oversteer depending on what is needed.
Your ride height dictates how close your car is to the track surface. Lowering your ride height can improve your straight-line speed but going too low can have negative consequences.
As you lower your car, you’ll need to increase your spring stiffness to ensure the bottom of the car doesn’t touch the track. This will introduce negative effects which come with an overly stiff car. Primarily being harsh and unpredictable over bumps.
You should aim to lower your car as much as possible before one of two things happen. First, your suspension becomes too stiff to the point that your car is hard to drive. Secondly, if you feel your car hitting the track surface or kerbs during compression.
Once either of these two things happen, increase your ride height a little, and your setup should be relatively optimal.
Damping tuning requires a race suspension upgrade.
Your dampers are another vital part of your suspension setup, and should be tuned in line with your springs and ARBs.
The bump stiffness is how stiff your dampers are during the compression phase. This is as your suspension is compressed due to riding over a bump or a kerb for example.
You should adjust your damper stiffness in line with your springs. If you’ve gone for a stiffer spring setup, do the same with your dampers. Dampers that are too soft can cause your car to feel a bit bouncy and unstable.
As a general rule of thumb, your bump stiffness should be around 65-75% of your rebound stiffness.
The rebound stiffness is the term given to how quickly your dampers return to their normal position. This is after your car has ridden over a bump, compressed, and is the speed at which your suspension resets.
Going too stiff with both this and the bump setting can cause your car to bounce off of bumps, making it unpredictable. Too soft, and as I just mentioned, your car will feel bouncy.
Generally, as you reduce your car’s overall weight, you can reduce the stiffness of your dampers front and rear. If you want to have more weight over the front of your car, reduce the front damping, and stiffen the rear. Do the opposite if you need to move the weight balance towards the rear of the car.
Suspension geometry tuning requires a race suspension upgrade.
The suspension geometry settings are new to Forza Motorsport. These affect the finer characteristics of your suspension which are tied in with the overall suspension behaviour.
The roll center height offset setting can affect the stiffness of your car while cornering, very similar to your anti-roll bars. A higher offset at the front reduces body roll and makes your car more responsive.
The rear setup affects your car’s behaviour more during the corner entry and exit. Higher rear roll center offset will introduce extra responsiveness as well, much like the front, but it will reduce your on-throttle grip a little. Lowering the rear can help with traction, especially during wet conditions.
The anti-geometry setup can almost be seen as an anti-roll bar setup that links the front and rear of the car. While anti-roll bars affect side-to-side movement during cornering. The anti-dive and anti-squat setup will affect your car’s likelihood of leaning under braking and acceleration.
A higher anti-dive setting will prevent the car from leaning so heavily under heavy braking situations. The same applies to anti-squat but is flipped. A higher anti-squat setup will prevent the car from pitching backwards under acceleration.
This is a useful setup tool to adjust the car’s behaviour under braking and acceleration moments. You can adjust the anti-dive to affect your car’s weight balance during braking.
Increasing the anti-squat can aid in a smoother transition between braking and acceleration. A higher setting here can result in more even grip distribution around your car during the transition to accelerating resulting in reduced understeer.
The front aero requires a race front bumper upgrade. The rear aero requires a race rear spoiler upgrade.
Adjusting your aerodynamic setup has a big effect on your car’s level of grip while cornering as well as its top speed. Higher front and rear aero will increase the downforce making your car handle better during turns. But this will reduce your top speed.
Adjusting the front and rear aero setup independently will alter your car’s behaviour during cornering. Increasing the front aero will reduce understeer by pushing the front tyres into the ground thanks to increased downforce at the front of the car.
Adding more rear downforce can help reduce oversteer making your car behave more predictable during corner exit.
I would recommend making initial adjustments to both the front and rear aero together. Lower them both or increase them both to find an overall level of downforce that works for you.
Then, you can go into finer details by adjusting the front and rear independently to reduce unwanted characteristics such as oversteer and understeer.
Brake tuning requires a race brake upgrade.
Adjusting your brake setup alters how your car behaves whilst braking. You can adjust both your brake balance and pressure. Your brake balance dictates how much braking force is sent to both the front and rear brakes.
Generally, you’ll want slightly more pressure going to the front of the car. Your front brakes are more effective than the rear brakes due partly to the shift of weight to the front of the car as you start to brake.
Too much front brake balance can increase your chance of locking a wheel though. So don’t be too aggressive. Try a figure between 52-55% depending on your car. If you notice the rear brakes locking and the rear of the car starting to oversteer during the braking phase, move the brake bias forward.
The brake pressure affects how much pressure is applied to your brakes. Increasing this will make your brakes more powerful but at the cost of increasing the likelihood of locking a wheel if you’re not using ABS. I generally, leave the pressure set to 100%.
You will need to install a sport or race differential upgrade to be able to change the differential tune.
Your differential affects how your driven wheels behave in relation to each other. You can adjust your differential to lock your wheels together forcing them to rotate at the same speed, or to open up your differential completely.
The important thing to note when adjusting your differential setup is how the outside wheel travels further than your inside wheel during a corner. Because it travels a longer distance it has to rotate at a slightly higher speed than your inside wheel.
Unlocking the differential (0%) will allow your wheels to rotate at different speeds which will increase your overall traction. It does however, reduce your ultimate drive out of a corner which can make your car more predictable but slower.
A value between 40-60% for the acceleration is a good starting point for rear-wheel drive cars, whilst a lower setting of around 30% is better for front-wheel drive. If you have an all-wheel drive car, somewhere between these two values is a good starting point.
Increasing the acceleration will increase the likelihood of understeer or oversteer depending on whether your car is FWD or RWD.
The deceleration setup should always be a lot lower, generally about 10-20% lower than the acceleration figure. Decreasing the deceleration differential setup will increase the amount of understeer or oversteer on the entry to a corner.
The steering wheel settings change the overall force feedback and steering lock of your individual car. This setting can be adjusted from car to car to allow you to tweak individual racing wheel settings.
This is very useful as a road car can feel very different to a track-bred race car. Rather than having to adjust your global wheel settings every time you swap cars, you can simply adjust the setting for each individual car.
This was a long guide, but I tried to keep things relatively lightweight and concise. Let me know whether you have jumped into the car tuning in Forza Motorsport at all. And share any top tips you have for producing better tunes in the comments!
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