how to measure wheel base on a truck

By Nicholas Bourgeois

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It is often said that size does not matter, but when it comes to cars, the wheelbase size can make a huge difference. The wheelbase of a truck determines its interior space and driving characteristics, making it an essential factor for understanding how a car will look and feel.

Measuring the wheelbase of a truck requires special equipment and knowledge. This article aims to provide readers with all the necessary information on how to measure wheel base on a truck accurately.

From tools and equipment needed to common mistakes to avoid when measuring, this guide covers everything you need to know about correctly measuring the wheelbase on a truck.

Key Takeaways

  • The wheelbase of a truck can be measured using similar techniques to measuring a car’s wheelbase.
  • Calculating a truck’s wheelbase requires chalk, measuring tape, and a steel square.
  • When measuring the wheelbase, engaging the parking brake and parking the vehicle on a level surface is essential.
  • The measurement should be taken from the center of the tires on both sides of the truck to ensure accuracy.

Tools and equipment needed to measure wheelbase on a truck

The tools and equipment necessary to accurately measure the wheelbase of a truck include:

  • Chalk: Used to mark the center points of each tire.
  • Measuring tape: Used to determine the distance between the scored points.
  • Steel square: Ensures that both measurements are taken from the same points.

These items are essential for obtaining an accurate measurement on level ground that can compare to factory information.

Level ground is essential for accurate measurement, as any unevenness in the surface will result in inaccurate readings.

In addition to the tools mentioned above, checking the straight wheel alignment is essential before taking measurements.

The distance between the two lines drawn with chalk represents the truck’s wheelbase measurement.

Step-by-Step Process to Measure Wheel Base

Ensuring that the ground is level and wheel alignment is straight for best results
Ensuring that the ground is level and wheel alignment is straight for best results

Gauging the span between a truck’s front and back axles requires careful attention to detail; as the adage goes, ‘measure twice, cut once.’

The steps to measure wheelbase include:

  1. Positioning the vehicle on a flat surface and engaging the parking brake.
  2. Measuring from the center of tires using a steel square and chalk.
  3. Drawing two lines representing axle positions on the ground.
  4. Calculating the distance between lines for wheelbase measurement accuracy.

Ensuring that the ground is level and wheel alignment is straight before measuring for better results is essential.

Further measurement discrepancies may indicate an imbalance in wheelbase which can be rectified by servicing experts if required.

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Interpreting the Measurement

A short wheelbase improved turning ability and maneuverability on twisty roads
A short wheelbase improved turning ability and maneuverability on twisty roads

Interpreting the wheelbase measurement can provide insights into a vehicle’s interior space and driving characteristics.

A longer wheelbase means more legroom for passengers, better handling on bumpy roads, and less maneuverability on twisty roads.

Conversely, a shorter wheelbase offers less interior space, improved turning ability, and excellent maneuverability.

It is important to note that minor measurement discrepancies may be insignificant. Still, more considerable differences should investigate further as they could indicate an imbalance in the wheelbase or other issues with the vehicle.

Factory-provided information can also be used to compare with measurements taken from the vehicle to ensure accuracy.

Any discrepancies should address by a qualified mechanic who can adjust the car’s wheelbase within certain limits if necessary.

Read more: how to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck

Common Mistakes to Avoid in how to measure wheel base on a truck

When taking wheelbase measurements, one must be aware of common mistakes that can lead to inaccurate results.

  • Measuring from the wrong points on the vehicle, such as the edges of the tires or not accounting for variations in suspension, can result in incorrect readings.
  • Tools should also check for accuracy before use and must be appropriate for the job; worn-out tools may not be reliable.
  • It is also essential to ensure that the ground surface is level and there are no bumps or obstructions that may interfere with accurate measurement.
  • Human error should also consider when interpreting wheelbase measurements.

With awareness of these common mistakes, more precise wheelbase measurements can be achieved and used to compare against factory information or verify car servicing requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of truck should use for wheelbase measurements?

Any truck can use for wheelbase measurements if the necessary tools and techniques are employed. A level surface is essential for accurate measurements, and the vehicle should have straight wheel alignment. Then, it is required to repeat the measure on the other side of the truck to check accuracy.

Is it possible to adjust a truck’s wheelbase?

Inspired by the question, adjusting a truck’s wheelbase within certain limits is possible. Mechanics can alter the distance between a vehicle’s front and back axles for improved performance or interior space. However, great care should take when making adjustments to ensure accuracy and safety.

What is the most accurate way to measure the wheelbase of a truck?

The most accurate way to measure the wheelbase of a truck is by parking on a level surface, engaging the parking brake, and measuring from the center of the tires using a steel square and chalk. Repeat this measurement on the other side for accuracy.

How often should wheelbase measurements be taken?

Wheelbase measurements should take regularly to ensure accuracy and avoid costly repairs. Taking measurements too often can be wasteful, yet failing to measure at all risks compromises the safety of your vehicle.

Are there any legal considerations when changing a truck’s wheelbase?

When changing a truck’s wheelbase, legal considerations may include ensuring that the vehicle can pass safety and emissions requirements as mandated by local laws. Additionally, there may be restrictions on the maximum or minimum sizes for certain types of trucks.


Measuring the wheelbase of a truck is an essential step in understanding its interior space and driving characteristics. Accurate measurements allow for comparison with factory specifications, allowing identified any discrepancies.

While measuring wheelbase is relatively straightforward, it should take seriously, as inaccurate measurements can lead to unexpected results. Additionally, common mistakes can occur in how to measure wheel base on a truck, and avoiding them at all costs is necessary for accurate results.

With the right tools and a careful eye, one can accurately measure the wheelbase like clockwork, ensuring their vehicle runs smoothly and safely down the road – no matter what curves life throws.

Nicholas Bourgeois is a lifelong pickup truck enthusiast with a passion for sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. From a young age, Nicholas has been fascinated by the versatility and reliability of pickup trucks, and has made it his mission to learn everything there is to know about these amazing vehicles. Through his pickup truck blog, Nicholas shares his insights and tips with fellow enthusiasts, offering advice on everything from maintenance and modifications to buying and selling pickup trucks. With a focus on providing accurate and up-to-date information, Nicholas is committed to helping others discover the joys of pickup truck ownership. Whether you're a seasoned pickup truck fan or just starting out, Nicholas welcomes you to his community, and invites you to join him on his journey of discovery and exploration of these amazing vehicles.

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