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How to Figure the Wheelbase

by Thomas West

Wheelbase is the measurement between the center of the front and rear wheel hubs on the same side of the vehicle. Some states and provinces require that a vehicle's wheelbase be under a certain limit. While a longer wheelbase vehicle may ride more smoothly over bumps than a short wheelbase vehicle, a vehicle with a longer wheelbase may require more room to negotiate turns. Some vehicles -- such as pickup trucks -- may come from the factory in several configurations using different wheelbase lengths. Know how to measure your wheelbase to determine which model you have.

Park the vehicle on flat level ground such as a driveway or garage floor.

Ensure the front wheels are pointing straight ahead and are parallel with the vehicle

Place the short end of a framing square flat on the ground beside the front tire. Slide the square along the ground until the outside edge of the longer end of the square lines up with the center of the front wheel hub.

Mark the ground with a piece of chalk where the outside edge of the long end of the square meets the surface.

Place the square at the rear tire and mark the ground in the same fashion.

Measure the length between the two chalk marks on the ground with a measuring tape to determine the vehicle's wheelbase.


  • On trucks with multiple rear axles, wheelbase is generally measured from the center of the front hub to the center of the hub of the most rearward drive axle.

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