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Weight distribution: an important aspect of vehicle dynamics

When looking at totally different vehicles, the lay driver does not know that many are equipped with the same engine as other models, as in the case of the three Ford of the image above. However, the most interested are aware of the fact, as well as questioning why such a performance discrepancy between them. Also consider average car weight

In a more superficial analysis, the justification for Fiesta's superior performance in relation to Ecosport is given by its weight, center of gravity and aerodynamics. However, there are cases in which heavier models perform better than lighter and lower models, contrary to common sense.

The explanation for this lies in a discipline from the faculties of automotive mechanical engineering, explored to exhaustion by the designers of Formula 1 and the research and development departments of the manufacturers. However, it remains unknown to the general public, including many so-called car experts, including specialized journalists. She is the:


To understand the importance of this science, we list three quite common situations in the daily lives of drivers, without simple explanations:

We all know that only the engine's power and torque numbers make up only part of the final result. And the rest, how does it appear?

The answer lies in vehicular dynamics.

Vehicle dynamics is the study of dimensions, measures, masses, shapes, steering angles, aerodynamics and package of the vehicle, as well as its influence on general behavior.

Making an analogy with the discipline of Physical Education, vehicle dynamics studies the influence of the biotype of automobiles on their behavior.

The question below represents the great dilemma of vehicular dynamics:



Drivers with little automotive knowledge have no idea, because the question is complex, indeed. Others with intermediate knowledge, like most gearheads, will respond with parts of a whole mix of variables.

When asking the question of the title of this article, the most frequent answer that we receive by prompt is “because one is lighter than the other”. It is correct, of course, but we need to develop the weight distribution concept a little further. It can be measured crosswise and longitudinally.

The notation of longitudinal weight distribution is measured in (% of total weight on the front axle:% of total weight on the rear axle). For example, for a car with equal weight distribution on all wheels, it is written 50:50.

The total weight of the vehicle has a big impact on performance, and we can know more if we know where it is distributed in the vehicle package. In older models, such as the VW Fusca and Chevrolet Opala, it was common to have a large part of the mass concentrated in the front or rear axle, in proportions around 35:65 for the “beetle” and 65:35 for the “six mouthpiece ”.

The result of this concentration of masses in a single axle consists of a “back nailed to the ground” of the Beetle, leaving the front light and reducing the stability and sensitivity of the driver in speed.

The opposite happened with the Chevrolet Opala, whose mass adjustment resulting from the installation of a heavy engine in the front, made the rear light and added a super-stiff tendency to the model, something highly valued by fans of the model along with the rear traction. On the other hand, poor weight distribution impairs the vehicle's directional control, making it more difficult to steer around curves, wet floors and at high speeds.

The same goes for the transverse weight distribution - between the left and right sides of the vehicle. In the same way as the longitudinal variant, the notation for the transversal is (% of weight on the left side:% of weight on the right side).


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Optimized tapered tread grooves ensure self-cleaning of snow and mud. Speed index S - 180 km / h. Load index 97 (up to 730 kg per tire) preventing aquaplaning and improving handling and braking on wet roads. The optimized tapered tread grooves ensure self-cleaning of snow and mud. Speed index S - 180 km / h. Load index 97 (up to 730 kg per tire)

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