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How's This Work? Wheelbase

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How's This Work? Wheelbase

What is a Wheelbase?

The subject of this week’s How’s This Work will be a bit different from the things we normally look at. Normally we look at a certain feature or technology found in Honda vehicles or a broader range of automobiles from a number of manufacturers, like Hill Start Assist or Direct Injection. This week we’re not looking at a feature or technology, but rather a certain specification that many might not understand the meaning of. So rather than explain how something works, we’re essentially just giving you an in-depth definition of an automotive term you might see pop up a lot in your shopping process.

[ LAST WEEK: What is an Electric Parking Brake? ]

Definition of Wheelbase

Wheelbase is a term that applies not just to road vehicles, but rail vehicles as well, and even things like bicycles, motorcycles and skateboards. It is a dimension, like length or width, that measures the distance from the center of the rear axle to the center of the front axle. In a regular 4-wheel vehicle like those available here at Wheaton Honda, the dimension is easy to discern. But multi-axle vehicles like trucks get a bit hazy, so we’ll give you an example. In a truck with three axles, the wheelbase would be a measurement of the distance from the center of the steering axle to the center of a midway point between both rear axles.

Importance of Wheelbase

Now that you know what it is, why does it matter when shopping for a vehicle? While it’s certainly not the most important specification by any means, but it essentially has to do with a vehicle’s weight distribution. The wheelbase is a very important dimension when it comes to balance and steering. If a car has too much weight in the back, it will understeer, and vice versa. The shorter a wheelbase is, the easier it is to lose control of your vehicle and possibly spin out. Longer wheelbases are especially important in trucks that you plan to fill with a lot of weight in the bed, as too much weight in the bed with a short wheelbase will definitely create problems.

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Hopefully this helps you out with your research, and gives you a better idea of what the term wheelbase means. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.

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