How Many Axles Does a Car Have?

If you like to travel, you may have seen on a toll road that you pay more for the number of axles you have on your vehicle, but not everyone knows how many axles they have. Some people don’t know how to count the axles. So how many axles does a car normally have?

Most standard cars have two axles that combine two tires, but it is not always the case. You may have three or four axles on some vehicles and then, even more, depending on how large the vehicle is and if a trailer is attached.

It is safe to say that your standard vehicle has just two axles, but this may not always be the case. To know for sure, keep reading on and see how you can count the axles and what to look out for.

Does a Car Have Two or Four Axles?

In today’s society, the standard vehicle has two axles (this doesn’t include vehicles that don’t fit the standard). A single shaft connects two wheels: the front has one axle, and the rear has the other.

But this isn’t always the case. Many different types of cars have more than two, and it usually depends on the size of the vehicle as well as when the vehicle was manufactured. Some foreign cars may even have a different design that differs from the standard design.

Before the 1940s, you could say that the standard car had more than two axles as each tire could have its axle. This has changed through the transformation of motor technology and now most standard cars of two axles.

It could be confusing when looking at your vehicle because many people equate that one tire means one axle. This is not the case. One tire is not equivalent to one axle, and you could even have as many as four tires on one axle (depending on the type of vehicle and the size of the vehicle).

Vehicles With More Than Two Axles

There are many different types of cars and vehicles with more than two axles. Older vehicles before the 1940s could have more axles just because of their design. Trucks, Semis, and some larger vehicles may also have more than two axles.

Adding a trailer, camper, or other additions that you pull behind your vehicle will add to the number of axles you have. Here are some other vehicles that may have more than two axles:


  • Greyhound busses
  • School busses
  • RVs
  • Tractors
  • Semi-trailers
  • Combination of the vehicle with a trailer
  • Freight trucks

Does 4WD Make a Difference in Axle Amount?

4WD doesn’t affect the number of axles your car has. You can have multiple axles and have the same type of system. Four-wheel drive is just the capability of turning all four wheels simultaneously when necessary. The axles don’t change that capability.

How to Tell the Number of Axles on a Car

Trying to figure out the number of axles is simply straightforward. You will look at the number of tires your vehicle has, and each pair of tires should have one axle. There are a few exceptions to this, especially if you deal with a Semi trailer or a dully. These could have four tires on one axle.

If you want to make sure you are correct, you can look underneath the vehicle. There will be a shaft that runs from one tire to the other. This shaft is considered the axle of your vehicle for most people. You can count how many of these are underneath your vehicle.

Why Is It Important to Know?

Although the axles aren’t the most crucial part of knowing about your vehicle, it is good to have the information. This is especially true if you either like to travel or pull a lot of heavy loads with your vehicle.

When you travel to different places, there is a high likelihood that you will pass through toll booths. You will need to know how many axles you have if you pay cash. But as technology advances, so do toll booths, and soon you may not need to know your axles for traveling.

Suppose you plan on carrying heavy loads with your vehicle. It is good to know how many axles you have or need for those loads. Axles help your vehicle move forward, and if you are carrying heavy loads, you may need more power or more axles.


Your car most likely only has two axles, especially if you only have four tires. There are only a few exceptions, but most buyers drive a standard two-axle car. Knowing this isn’t always necessary, but it is good to know the basics to save you money and time.

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