Why Do Cars Have Four Wheels Instead of Three?
Have you ever tried to teach someone a new way of doing something only to have them tell you, “but I’ve always done it this way instead.” Sometimes in life, we get so used to things being a certain way that we never take the time to wonder why they are that way in the first place.
Take your car for example. There are many aspects of your vehicle that have been that way for decades, without anyone questioning it, such as a wheel being used to steer, and pedals being used to control acceleration and braking. Why don’t we use switches or knobs to set our speed or activate braking? And then there are the tires on the car. Why do cars have four wheels instead of, say, three?
Are There Any Cars That Have Three Wheels?
Well, believe it or not, there are cars out there that have three wheels. A more recent example of this is the Polaris Slingshot, with two wheels in front and one in back. It’s meant for recreational driving primarily.
But, older examples include the Reliant Robin, produced on and off from 1973 – 2002 in the UK, and the Mazda K360, first built in 1959 as a sort of small work truck. In fact, the very first car ever made had three wheels (along with no steering wheel).
So, why don’t we have three wheels on a car instead of four? It’s a reasonable question to ask, considering there are some benefits to having three wheels. One less wheel would make the vehicle weigh less, at it would also open up the door to less boxy designs. But stability is more of a concern when you have only three wheels. Of course, this issue can be mitigated with smart engineering, but not entirely. At the end of the day, having that extra fourth wheel still is the smart option when it comes to safety. Consider AWD systems for example, where having one more wheel to dig into the road can make the different between moving along safely or slipping and sliding.
So, don’t worry. You aren’t missing much by your car having four wheels instead of three. At the end of the day, there is a reason for it, even if three wheels isn’t necessarily wrong. Be sure to check back to the Charlie Clark Nissan blog for more.