Ever wondered about the number of axles in a car? It’s a simple yet crucial aspect that impacts your vehicle’s functionality and performance. In this article, we dive into the basics of car axles, revealing how many there are and why they matter.
The majority of cars have two axles. Typically, both cars and trucks are designed with one axle per pair of wheels. This design makes them ‘2-axle’ vehicles, a category that includes most of the vehicles you see on the road.
Whether you’re a car enthusiast or just curious, understanding axles is key to appreciating your vehicle’s design and capabilities. Read on to discover more about this fundamental component of your car.
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What Is an Axle & What Does It Do?
An axle is a steel central shaft that aids in the rotation of a vehicle’s wheels.
When the wheels are revolving smoothly, that means that the axle is operating optimally.
Although they may vary in number depending on the vehicle, no vehicle can work without axles.
There are bearings whose work is to support the axle and reside in the middle of the wheels.
The axle’s design and development are what keep the wheels aligned.
A properly aligned vehicle will be able to support the huge weight of the vehicle during braking or accelerating.
The work of the axle exceeds just connecting wheels. It controls the power that moves the vehicle, making the axle one of the most vital components of a car.
The power generated from the car engine moves through the axles and into the vehicles.
Since it’s glued to the wheels, it can turn as the car wheel turns.
At one point or the other, you may have wondered how many axles a car has. Read on to know more about axles and how many they are in a car.
What Is Considered a 2-Axle Vehicle?
In simple terms, when a car is referred to as a 2-axle vehicle, it has 2 axles.
Each of these axles either supports one wheel or two wheels.
Examples of 2-axle vehicles are:
- Light trucks/ordinary vehicles
- Class 8 trucks
- Some medium-duty trucks
Therefore, a 3-axle vehicle will have 3 axles and a 4-axle vehicle is a car with 4 axles, and so on.
The more axles, the better the vehicle will be able to support the vehicle’s weight and that of any cargo in it.
Does a Car Have 2 or 4 Axles?
As a rule of thumb, there is one axle for a pair of tires.
Therefore, if you ask how many axles does a 4-wheel drive vehicle have? The answer would be 2 axles because it has 2 pairs of wheels.
However, some vehicles have 3 or more axles because of their size and the number of tires they have.
These axles can either be evenly or unevenly distributed throughout the vehicle.
For example, a car can have one axle at the front and three at the rear of the vehicle if that’s where they are needed.
Types of Axles
The type of axle used will depend on the type of car.
Other factors that determine the axles in a vehicle are:
- The force produced
- Technical requirements of a vehicle
- The vehicle’s gear mechanisms
Depending on the specifications, a vehicle can come with pre-designed axles or have customized axles.
It’s better for a vehicle to have customized axles fitted to allow them to have better control over the wheels.
They do this by fine-tuning the degree of speed and torque of the wheels.
Car experts state that as long as custom axles are properly maintained, they will control the car’s torque and speed excellently.
Let’s look at the different types of axles in a car:
It’s found at the front of the vehicle and controls the front wheels.
Its work is to assist in steering the vehicle and process any shock from rough roads.
It also carries the weight at the front of the vehicle.
It consists of 4 main parts, the beam, the track rod, the swivel pin, and the stub axle.
Because of its functionality, the front axle is made of nickel and carbon steel to make it sturdy.
There are 2 types of front axles:
- The live front axle
- The dead front axle
It’s found in between the differential and controls the vehicle’s rear wheels.
Its work is to move power from the differential to the back wheels which are used during acceleration.
From a design perspective, the rear axle is made up of 2 halves.
The differential connects the two parts and each part is called a half shaft.
This axle may be live which means that it rotates simultaneously with the vehicle’s wheels
There are 3 types of rear axles:
- The semi-floating axle
- The three-quarter floating axle
- The full-floating axle
It connects the front wheels and the front axles with kingpins.
It is made of alloy steels (molybdenum and chromium) and 3% nickel steel.
There are 4 types of stub axles:
- The Elliot
- The Lamoine
- The Reversed Lamoine
- The Reverse Elliot
How to Know if You Have a Bad Axle
Because the axle’s job is very stressful it is susceptible to wear and tear.
This is despite their manufacturing accounting for the job they do.
There are also a number of situations that could damage your axle.
To know that it’s time to get your axle repaired or replaced, look out for the following signs:
- When you are putting your vehicle into gear, you hear a clunking sound.
- You feel loud vibrations throughout the vehicle when you try to brake or make a turn.
- There is something off when your vehicle is moving i.e., bending of the vehicle.
- The wheels aren’t visually aligned properly. There may also be a crack at the vehicle’s universal joints
If you experience any of these signs with your vehicle, it’s time to visit your trusted mechanic!
They will inspect the vehicle and tell you whether a repair or a part replacement is best.
Rear axles are relatively cheap because they are made of metal, costing as little as $150 for replacement.
Regular checkups will help you avoid major repair costs in the future.
How Much Does Axle Replacement Cost?
The cost of axle replacement can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of vehicle you have, the type of axle that needs to be replaced, and the labor costs charged by the mechanic or repair shop you choose.
In general, the cost of replacing a single axle can range from around $500 to $2,000 or more. This price range includes both the cost of the replacement part and the labor required to install it.
For example, replacing a front axle on a standard passenger car can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500, depending on the make and model of the car, the type of axle needed, and the location and labor costs of the repair shop.
Replacing a rear axle on a truck or SUV can be more expensive, with costs ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 or more. This is because these vehicles typically have larger and more complex axles that require more labor and specialized parts to replace.
It’s important to note that the actual cost of axle replacement can also be affected by other factors, such as additional repairs that may be needed due to the damage caused by the broken axle, or the need to replace other components that are connected to the axle.
To get a more accurate estimate of the cost of axle replacement for your specific vehicle and situation, it’s best to consult with a qualified mechanic or repair shop.
They can assess the damage to your axle and provide you with a detailed quote that includes the cost of the replacement part, labor, and any additional repairs that may be necessary.
What Causes an Axle to Break?
Even though an axle is designed to withstand heavyweights, there is a limit to its durability.
Some reasons why your axle may break include:
- Your vehicle consistently carries excess weight over the required standard
- If your vehicle is old, the axle might be rusty and brittle.
- Driving your vehicle over rough terrain causes the axle undue stress.
Will Insurance Cover a Broken Axle?
Whether or not your insurance will cover a broken axle depends on several factors, including the type of insurance you have and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
If you have liability-only insurance, which is the minimum insurance required by most states, then your insurance won’t cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle. Liability-only insurance covers damages to other people’s property or injuries they sustain if you are at fault in an accident.
If you have collision insurance, which is an optional type of insurance, it may cover the cost of repairing or replacing a broken axle.
Collision insurance covers damages to your own vehicle that occur as a result of a collision, regardless of who is at fault.
However, you will still be responsible for paying the deductible on your policy before your insurance kicks in.
It’s important to note that if the damage to your axle was caused by wear and tear or a manufacturer defect, your insurance may not cover the repair or replacement.
In this case, it may be best to consult with a mechanic or your insurance provider directly to determine the cause of the damage and your options for coverage.
Overall, the best course of action is to review your insurance policy carefully and contact your insurance provider for more information.
They can provide you with specific details about what is covered under your policy and help you determine whether or not your broken axle is covered.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many axles does an SUV have?
An SUV has 2 axles.
How many axles does a minivan have?
A minivan has 2 axles.
How many axles does a truck have?
Trucks are a more complicated vehicle because they differ in size and the number of tires they need.
Because of the weight they carry, their front axles are made of old solid axles.
Their back is supported by ordinary rear axles. The truck can have more than 2 axles.
Is It Safe to Drive With a Broken Axle?
If your car has a broken axle, the power might not be reaching the wheels from the engine.
In case it’s partially broken, you can drive although it’s unsafe.
If the axle is broken completely, you might not have control of the vehicle and might crash into other vehicles.
Conclusion: How Many Axles Does A Car Have
From what has been discussed above, the number of axles in a vehicle will differ based on many factors.
If you want to find out how many axles your vehicle has, you can inspect the vehicle on your own.
You can also look through the owner’s manual or ask your mechanic.
If you are asking the question so that you can buy the vehicle that best suits you, it’s better to ask an expert so that they can advise on the number of axles that will best suit your needs!