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20 Different Types of Axles: Why You Need to Choose the Right Axles for Your Vehicles

Types of Axles

Axles are the rods that run along the length of a vehicle and allow for wheels or gears to rotate on them. It is very common to see axles in automobiles and bicycles. There are several different types of axles, but all have a few things in common.

What is an Axles

An axle is a rod that allows for wheels or gears to rotate on. It may be an open circle, but most are arcs of circles. There are different types of axles, but they all have a few things in common. They all have the ability to create torque by applying force to them and rotating them around their axis.

Axles are used most commonly on vehicles and machines. You can see axles in bicycles, cars, trains, boats, planes, and even elevators!

Types of Axles

Beam Axle

Beam Axle

A beam axle is the simplest form. It is literally a solid beam with no holes through its center or shoulders to accept wheels. They are often found on the front of buses, dump trucks, and other large vehicles with only one set of wheels per axle. It is not commonly used in cars because their weight ratings are often too low to support a load like a car would have.

Cardan Axles

Cardan Axles

 

A cardan axle looks very similar to a beam axle, but there are several key differences. A cardan axle has holes through the center of the beam to accept wheel bearings for wheels to rotate on. They also have shoulders to allow for side-play in the wheels when they are rotating around the axles and turn corners. These axles can withstand much higher loads than a beam axle can.

They are most commonly found in the rear-end of cars and trucks, but they can also be seen on front suspension systems and steering systems.

Bogie

Bogie

A bogie is a form of an axle that uses springs to allow for it’s wheels to move up and down with bumps in the road instead of rattling around. They can be seen in many different types of vehicles like trucks, buses, and trains.

Cardan Suspension

Cardan Suspension

A cardan suspension allows wheels to rotate up and down along with being able to turn left and right as well as forward and backward. This type of axle can be found on the rear of many vehicles due to its extreme versatility and load-bearing capabilities.

Wishbone

Wishbone

A wishbone has three wheel bearings on each side instead of two. This is useful for allowing more space between axles to give people room in the passenger compartment but still maintain a lower ground clearance than if both axles were separate.

Independent Suspension

Independent Suspension

An independent suspension allows each wheel to move up and down separately from the other. It uses what are called A-arm suspension systems for this, which have springs between levers at the top and arms at the bottom. These axles allow for wheels to be able to travel over uneven terrain without damaging anything. 

Dead Axle

Dead Axle

A dead axle is supported by other axles in the vehicle instead of having its own suspension or bearing to rotate around an axis. It is most commonly found on trailers where it’s wheels are not driving the trailer but just following along behind them and would otherwise be bouncing all over the place if not for this particular axle.

Portal Axle

Portal Axle

A portal axle has a large hole in the center to allow for it’s wheels to be driven by another axle leading from the engine or motor on the vehicle. This is commonly used in trucks where there are two sets of tires on each side meaning there must be an extra axle to allow for that second set of tires.

Offset Axle

Offset Axle

An offset axle has it’s wheel or wheels attached perpendicular to the line going through the center of the axle’s axis instead of parallel with it like on most other axles. This type can be found on many different types of vehicles and machines. It can be seen in front suspension systems, rear suspension systems, and steering mechanisms.

Trunnion

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A trunnion is a type of axle that has it’s wheels mounted on arms that pass through portals at each end of the axle so the wheel can attach to one side of the arm but rotate around the other side. This is commonly seen in vehicles with independent suspension where there are two wheels on each side of the vehicle. 

These axles allow for full rotation while supporting the weight that would otherwise be placed on a much smaller surface area if these were beam axles instead.

Swing Axle

Swing Axle

A swing axle supported by bearings and trunnions on both ends of the axle to allow for wheels to rotate around an axis. It is commonly found on front-wheel and rear-wheel drive vehicles.

Full Floating Axle

Full Floating Axle

A full floating has wheels mounted on trunnions at each end of the axle so it can rotate around two axles instead of one like most other types of axles. This type is commonly found in four-wheel drive vehicles where it’s front and rear axles are capable of being moved independently of each other.

Sliding Beam Axle

Sliding Beam Axle

A sliding beam axle is mounted on bearings at each end of a beam that moves up and down along with swiveling around an axis. It is commonly found in trucks to allow for four-wheel drive so the wheels can move independently of each other.

Universal Joint

Universal Joint

A universal joint is a type of axle that has it’s wheels mounted on bearings at each end of two arms that are connected by a rod so they move up and down together. Between this and the pendulum axle is that the arms of the universal joint allow for full rotation while not going up and down so much as to cause them to lose contact with each other. This helps create less friction in vehicles where extra traction is required.

Leaf Spring

Leaf Spring

A leaf spring is mounted on bearings at each end of a rod above the wheel or “leaf”. The difference between this and the pendulum axle is that the rod of a leaf spring isn’t connected by another rod, it’s just free floating. The friction created by it being against the ground helps with traction in vehicles where extra traction is required.

Bowden

Bowden

A bowden isn’t found in vehicles but instead is found in large construction machinery so the tool attached to the arm can turn from side to side while moving forwards or backwards.

Rear Axles

Rear Axles

A rear axle connects to the back of a vehicle with most being located inside the trunk like on sedans or in the engine bay like on trucks. The solid rear axle consists of two large rotating wheels along with part of the frame and connecting rod that rotates between them. The first four-wheel drive vehicles used this type of axle but it is mostly only found on trucks today.

Pendulum Axles

Pendulum Axles

A pendulum axle is connected by a rod so they move up and down together even though the wheels move side to side when going around a curve. This type of axle is commonly found in large trucks to help achieve four-wheel drive when going around curves.

Front Axles

Front Axles

Front axle is connected to a vehicle’s front. The two most common types of front axles are the beam axle and the independent suspension which consists of three parts, a control arm, an A-arm and a ball joint. The beam is a long beam with wheels on each end connected by bearings to allow for wheel movement. 

The independent suspension has the same structure as a beam axle but instead of one solid beam, it is made up of three moving parts to allow for more control over how much each wheel moves.

Stub Axles

Stub Axles

A stub axle is a special type that connects directly to the steering mechanism rather than having bearings at each end. This means the wheels don’t have as much freedom to move around in response to bumps on the road. Instead they just stay in place and only allow for limited movement when turning.

How to Choose the Right Axles for your Vehicle

Axles are more than just connecting points between wheels and drive shafts. They can make or break a vehicle depending on the type of axle used.

Choose the wrong type of axle for your vehicle and you could end up with garbage performance, choosing the right one for your vehicle will improve its overall quality and performance, giving you a safer and more comfortable ride. Whether you’re building or buying a vehicle, here are some things to consider when choosing an axle for your vehicle.

It’s important to choose the right type of axle if you want good performance in your vehicle. The job of an axle is to transport power from the engine all the way down to the wheels so you can get moving. 

Axles do this by transferring power coming out of the driveshaft or differential through a joint, to where it is connected to different wheels on cars and trucks with different numbers of axles depending on number of tires per axle.

Usually there is one axle in front and one in back but some vehicles have more than two axles like semi trucks. When choosing an axle for your vehicle, there are a few things to pay attention to when looking at different axles, what type of wheelbase it uses and how much weight it can support. The wheelbase of the axle is important because that is the distance between wheels in your vehicle.

Different vehicles require different types of axles to provide the best performance. Some require the most efficient use of space while others require the best control over their traction. 

By comparing all of your choices against each other, you can easily determine which type is best for the characteristics of your vehicle.

FAQs

What type of axle is best?

The best type of axle for your vehicle depends on the characteristics and performance you’re looking for. In choosing the right axle, it’s important to look at many different choices side by side so you can make the most informed decision about which axles will give you the results you want in a vehicle with the highest quality and performance.

How many types of axles are there?

There are more than a hundred different types of axles used in vehicles, however, the most common types of axles include beam axles, independent suspension axles and stub axles. While these are by far the most common, they’re not the only kinds out there. If you’re looking to build your own vehicle or replace an old axle, it’s important to know what type of axle is best for you depending on what kind of performance and qualities you want in a certain job or task.

What is the main difference between beam axles and independent suspensions?

The main difference between beam axles and independent suspensions is how they connect the car to the wheels. Beam axles are one large solid structure that connects directly to the wheel, whereas independent suspensions have two axles per wheel and each of them individually connected allowing for greater flexibility in how the wheels move with respect to each other.

Why do some vehicles use multiple types of axles?

Some vehicles require multiple types of axles because the job they have to do is different from what others need. Semi trucks are a good example, using a front two axle system for better control on narrow highways while using another three axle system in back for maximum weight capacity. Sometimes it’s important to design something that can do more than one thing well and it’s possible for some vehicles to have multiple types of axles that can do different things.

How many different types of axles are used on each wheel?

Depending on the vehicle, there can be anywhere from one to more than two axles per wheel. For example, most four-wheel drive vehicles with three or more wheels use multiple axles. In some cases, there may be an axle for each wheel and in other cases there may be two axles for the left side wheels and one on the right side wheels or vice versa.

Conclusion

Axles are an important part of your vehicle’s suspension system, so finding the right one can be a difficult task. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when faced with too many choices, so it’s important to look at different axles against each other instead of looking at them all separately. By comparing every choice side by side, we hope you can easily determine the best type of axle for your specific needs.

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