How Many Axles Does A Car Have: All The Information You Need

The shaft or rod that turns the wheels and bears the load of your car is called an axle. Every vehicle needs an axle, which can be classified as the front, rear, or stubby. Let’s examine how many axles does a car have and how to select the appropriate axle ratio for your vehicle.

How Do Axles Work

how many axles does a car have

The axles, central shafts that link to the wheels, are an important part of your car. Every vehicle must have axles to move. The front axle lives in FWD vehicles, whereas the rear axle lives in RWD. A handful of the terminology used in this article and discussing how many axles does a car have are listed below.

  • An axle linking the two front wheels is called the front axle.
  • The axle that connects the two back wheels is called the rear axle.
  • Applied for the front wheels is the stub axle (for steering).
  • Live (or “driven”) axle: A live axle transmits power to the wheels by rotating in tandem with them.
  • A dead (or “non-driven”) axle serves to connect the wheels to the vehicle; it does not provide any power to them.
  • The type of live axle that is by far the most common is the “Constant Velocity” axle/driveshaft. Per live axle, there are 2 CV shafts (confusingly). 
  • Differential—a “diff” is not a true component of the axle shaft. However, it links across the same two wheels, enabling them to spin at various speeds.

Therefore, the preceding should make sense:

  • A front-wheel-drive car has a live front axle and a dead rear axle.
  • Similarly, a vehicle with rear-wheel drive has a live rear axle and a dead front axle.

Even though the transfer case can render one of them—typically the front—dead, four-wheel-drive versions have two live axles (at both the front and back). Most of the time, all-wheel-drive uses a front-wheel-drive configuration. When required, the back axle can go live and supply momentary power. It then goes back to being dead.

What Are Live And Dead Axles

Either “live” or “dead,” every axle. The powertrain determines whether it’s the front, the back, or neither. Of course, the type of drive—front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel, or four-wheel—makes a difference.

how many axles does a car have
  • Live axles are drivetrain components that send power directly from the transmission to the front wheels.
  • Rear-wheel-drive vehicles often have dead axles in the front, and vice versa. They are not a component of the drivetrain as a result. Simply holding the wheels on the automobile, dispersing the car’s weight, steering (in an RWD arrangement), and maintaining vehicle control are their duties.

Why Do Floating Axles Exist

Typically, “floating” versions of car axles are available. Road cars typically have a semi-floating / three-quarter floating rear axle. However, there may be floating models for some larger race cars and trucks. A semi-floating axle is a single item. The rotor and wheel are attached to the flange via the shaft. Bearings housed inside the axle housing connect to the shaft.

Like a fully floating form, a wheel hub is attached to the exterior of the axle housing. It is, however, rigidly connected, keeping the system more secure. As a kind of happy medium, three-quarter floating axles are useful. The model is said to be fully floating when the axle shaft is connected to a distinct wheel hub.

After that, the wheel is mounted to the hub, which is fastened to the exterior of the axle housing. Its end will have 31 to 40 splines crossed with the hub. This particular system is used to carry heavy loads. A bearing holding the axle shaft will not be subject to as much wear and tear. Because there are no bearings outside the housing, this type of axle can be found in off-road vehicles.

How Many Axles Does A Car Have

The amount of axles varies depending on the kind of vehicle. Cars typically have two axles and rotating wheels. A larger vehicle with more wheels and passengers could have more axles. How many axles your automobile or other vehicle has? Take a side view of your car and count the number of pairs of tires. Most automobiles have 2 pairs of tires, 1 in front and another in the back, for four tires.

Two axles are equal to two pairs of tires. The front axle is also called the steering axle, while the rear axle is called the drive axle. The drive axle is where the power from the engine goes to turn the wheels. In some four-wheel drive vehicles, there is a third center axle. This type of vehicle has 4 pairs of tires and would have 3 axles.

how many axles does a car have

What Are The Kind Of Cars Known As 2-Axle Cars

A vehicle is described as a 2-axle vehicle that has 2 axles. Each of these axles supports one or two wheels. Below are a few examples of 2-axle vehicles:

  • A few medium-duty vehicles
  • 8-ton trucks
  • Light trucks and regular cars
  • Tricycles
  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles 

The more axles a vehicle has, the better it will be capable of handling its own weight and the weight of any cargo it carries. The number of axles also affects how a vehicle is classified for licensing and registration purposes.

Do Cars Have Two Or Four Axles

There is typically one axle for every two tires. As a result, how many axles does a vehicle with four wheels have? Given that it has two wheels, the correct answer is two axles. However, some vehicles have three axles or more because of their dimensions and the number of tires. These axles can be spread throughout the vehicle either evenly or unevenly.

For instance, a car may have one axle in the front and three in the rear, depending on its location. On the other hand, a truck or a bus may have several axles evenly throughout its length. The term “dual axle” refers to two axles connected to each other. This configuration is most often seen in trailers and heavy-duty vehicles.

The main advantage of dual axles is that it helps distribute the weight evenly, which can benefit stability and braking. In some cases, dual axles may also be required by law. For example, in the United States, trailers that are longer than 15 feet (4.6 meters) or that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) must have at least two axles.

how many axles does a car have

So, while a car usually has two axles, it is not uncommon for other vehicles to have more. It all depends on the design and purpose of the vehicle.

What Determines A Car’s Type Of Axle

What kind of axle your vehicle needs depends on several criteria. For instance, choosing the right axle depends greatly on the technical specifications and the force generated. Axles in certain vehicles are pre-made and come in conventional sizes. Other axles are specially made to meet the demands and requirements of the vehicle.

They give the user greater control over the wheels, and these axles have a finer range of adjustment for the torque and speed of the wheels. There are three basic types of axles:

  • Rear Axle: The rear axle is in charge of sending power to the turning wheels. Most of the time, the rear axles spin along with the vehicle’s wheels. The differential joins half shafts that are its two parts.
  • Front Axle: This axle is important for steering and absorbing shocks from the road surface. It is positioned in front of the car. The four primary components are the beam, swivel pin, track rod, and stub axle.
  • Stub Axle: Kingpins join stub axles to the front axle, connected to the car’s front wheels by stub axles.

Various Rear Axle Types

Rear axle types vary depending on the support or mounting techniques used. There are three different kinds of rear axles:

  • Semi-Floating Rear Axle: This axle fastens the wheel to the flange outside the axle shaft. The shaft is supported by one bearing, while the other is located inside the axle casing. A semi-floating axle must be larger than the alternatives because it includes two bearings to deliver the same torque. Semi-floating axles are common in automobiles, sport utility vehicles, and mid-size trucks.
how many axles does a car have
  • Full-Floating Axle: This axle type floats in place and retains its position, living up to its name, due to two bearings. It is only intended to transfer driving torque. Full-floating axles are often better for larger vehicles like heavy-duty trucks. Full-floating axles can also be advantageous for mid-size trucks with higher towing capabilities or those that frequently employ four-wheel drive.
  • Floating Three-Quarter Axle: In addition to being more reliable, it is more sophisticated than a semi-floating axle. In addition to managing side thrust or driving torque, it aids in maintaining wheel alignment.

Various Front Axle Types

Vehicles have two different types of front axles. Which are:

  • Front Axle Dead: These axles don’t move with the wheels; they remain stationary. Most dead front axles or differentials have housings that keep them out of the mud or water.
  • Live Front Axle: Unlike dead front axles, which transfer power from the gearbox to the front wheels, live front axles do the opposite.

Stub Axle Types

There are four different kinds of stub axles:

  • Elliott: To connect to the front axle, this kind requires a yoke, a kingpin, and a cotter.
  • Reverse Elliot: This kind of stub axle has the opposite configuration of a typical Elliot stub axle.
  • Lamoine: Rather than a yoke-style hinge, this form of stub axle has an L-shaped spindle.
  • Reverse Lamoine: Its design is the opposite of a Lamoine stub axle.

How To Recognize When Your Axle Needs Repair

Maintaining your axles’ proper functionality is crucial because they are necessary for your automobile to function. You can know that your axle is damaged if you notice any of the following symptoms:

how many axles does a car have
  • When you shift into drive, your car makes a loud clang.
  • While driving a car, you experience vibrations.
  • Despite being in motion, your car won’t go forward or backward while running.

What leads to an axle breaking? An axle has a durability limit even though it is made to support enormous loads. Your axle could break for several causes, such as:

  • Your car frequently carries more weight than what is necessary.
  • The axle of an old car may be brittle and rusted.
  • Your vehicle’s axle is under unnecessary stress as you drive over rocky terrain.

Many vehicles have unique axle ratios and specific motor, torque, and transmission specifications. A drive shaft revolves 3.55 times every time a wheel turns once when the axle ratio is 3.55:1. A regular axle ratio typically works well for drivers who don’t anticipate hauling heavy loads.

However, you might desire the largest axle ratio feasible if you want to tow hefty trailers or move enormous weights.

Axle Considerations

Remember these few points as you select your vehicle’s axle ratio. Remember:

  • The fuel efficiency information for the standard axle ratio can be found on a car’s window sticker. The fuel efficiency is automatically reduced if the truck has a specific axle ratio option.
  • The optional axle ratios offered by various automakers cannot be compared. The different tire sizes impact the system gear, which affects the result.
  • Lower axle ratios are sometimes referred to as tall gears, while higher axle ratios are called short gears by dealers. While the latter can transport bigger loads, the former typically gets superior gas mileage.


So how many axles does a car have? From the discussion above, it is clear that a vehicle’s axle count depends on various variables. You can conduct a self-inspection of your vehicle to determine its many axles. Additionally, you can consult the owner’s manual or speak with your mechanic.

Asking a professional is preferable, so they can advise on the number of axles that will best meet your demands and help you choose the right vehicle!

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