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How Many Axles Does A Minivan, SUV, or Car Have?

Many people who live in places that have toll roads are always wondering how many axles different vehicles have. The reason being that many toll roads charge based on the number of axles on the vehicles which means they charge larger vehicles more to travel on the road than they do smaller vehicles. 

So, if you own a car, SUV, or minivan how many axles does it have? 

Although a minivan, car, or SUV will traditionally be known as two axle vehicles in reality this is not always the case. Most modern vehicles don’t have shafts that actually connect between the two sides so your car, SUV, or minivan might actually have 4 axles. 

However, in regards to toll roads, titles, etc. an axle would be considered a pair of tires across from each other. So in that case your car, SUV, or minivan would be considered to have two axles (two pairs of tires across from each other).

Newer vehicles often have an axle for each individual wheel to make the tires turn independently from one another. This helps make sure your vehicle has traction at all times, better handling, and also help to ensure a smoother ride. 

And those are all reasons why your car, SUV, or minivan likely have 4 actual axles. 

However, sometimes when people refer to an axle they are simply talking about pairs of wheels. That is the case with a toll road, street signs, etc. that have different pricing or rules based on the number of axles a vehicle has. In those cases the sign will be referring to pairs of tires. 

So based on that definition of an axle all cars, SUVs, and minivans will have 2 axles. 

It used to be that you could count axles by looking at the side of the vehicle and just counting the tires that you see on a single side and that would be the number of axles, however that is no longer the case. 

With 4WD and AWD vehicles becoming more common that actually messes up the actual axle number and even on normal front rear drive or rear wheel drive cars the answer becomes more complicated with newer cars as well. 

Often each tire will be on an independent suspension in modern vehicles which in turn means minivans that are designed like that actually have 4 AXLES however, as mentioned earlier in regards to tolls they still consider axles to be sets of tires. 

You might have heard about an axle in an automobile being nothing but a shaft or rod that spins the wheels and supports the weight of your entire automobile, but although this used to be what axles were, in modern vehicles virtually all cars, SUVs, and minivans will not have a rod that runs between both the two front tires and two rear tires but instead each wheel will be independent of each other. 

Axles are still a key component of any automobile and they come in three main types being stub, rear and front axles. In the rest of this article I will cover some additional information about axles on minivans and in general as well as try to clear up some of the common misconceptions about axles as they have changed over the years. 

So whether you drive a Honda Odyssey, a Honda CR-V, or a Honda Accord according to the traditional definition of axles your vehicle will have two axles. However, according to the actual definition of the word axle… your vehicle will have four. 

How Many Axles Does A Minivan, SUV, or Car Have?

What Is An Axle Anyway?

Before you clearly understand how many axles a minivan, car, or SUV have, you should first know what an axle is and all about it.

 An axle is the central shaft in a vehicle that has been designed for rotating the wheels or gear in the vehicle. So, if you already own a minivan or are planning to buy one, understanding about the axle is essential.

Axles in any vehicle are attached to the wheels. They even turn around with the wheels. Otherwise, it might have been attached to the vehicle, permitting the wheels to turn around the axle. To support the axle, vehicles generally have a bearing that stays at the mounting points. 

Just in case, the axles are connected to the automobile, bearings rest inside the mid hole of the wheel.

Axles play a major role in transferring the power of the car engine to the wheels. Axles should be strong enough to sustain the weight of the entire vehicle including cargo, passengers and even the force of acceleration and braking.

Understand the types of axles

When it comes to axles in vehicles, there are three standard types. If you wish to know how many axles there are on a minivan, you should also know about the types of axles as well. 

Rear Axle

The rear axle is a type of axle that brings agility to the driving wheels. It generally comes in a couple of halves called half shafts that are attached by the differential. In most instances, rear axles continuously work. It means that they move with the vehicle’s wheels. 

All rear axles are not the same and the reason for this is that the support and mounting method identify the kind. Here is the list of types of rear axle:

  • Three-quarter floating axle
  • Full-floating axle
  • Semi-Floating Axle

Front Axle

As the name implies, the front axle is located on the front part of a minivan. This type will help with steering and taking care of shocks from the uneven surfaces of the road. They generally have 4 key portions, they are stub axle, track road, the swivel pin and the beam. 

This axle should be as sturdy as possible so this is why automakers generally make the front axle using nickel or carbon steel. The types of front axle include:

  • Live front axle
  • Dead front axle

Stub Axle

Stub axles are generally attached to the front wheel of vehicles with kingpins. These kingpins connect these axles to the front axle. The types of stub axle include:

  • Reverse Lamoine
  • Lamoine
  • Reverse Elliot
  • Elliot

Factors That Determine The Type Of Axle In Your Minivan, Car, or SUV

When it comes to deciding on the type of axle to use in a minivan, automakers consider a variety of different factors. Examples include gear mechanism, forces generated, and technical specifications. 

In general, cars come with pre-designed axles, while some owners might opt for customized axles. 

Experts in car manufacturing feel that customization would be a better option as compared to the former. The reason is that customized axles provide better control over the torque of the wheels and the speed. For it to properly function, proper maintenance is important.

Know about the axle design

The wheels of minivans are attached to a detached shaft on each side and this is why the true number of axles on a minivan typically isn’t only two. 

The present-day cars are installed with the split drive axles. With split drive axles, owners can expect a smoother drive as this design allows independent suspension of both wheels. Split axles can even properly function to offer different speed to both the wheels for smoother turning if the suspension is not sovereign. This will also help to add longevity to your minivan’s tires. 

Also, the steel that automakers use for creating axles is chrome-molybdenum steel and carbon.

How to know which axle needs to be repaired

Axles are generally made to withstand the weight of the vehicle during normal use but, though they are produced with this purpose in mind, they can at times fall into poor conditions after some years. 

Driving in hazardous conditions can also weaken the parts of the vehicle and axles are also among them. 

Some signs that would indicate that a repair or replacement should be done on the axle are:

  • Your vehicle runs normally. However, you are experiencing something unusual in regards to the ride or acceleration.
  • When braking or turning, vibrations happen all through the vehicle
  • When you hear a clunking sound when you put your vehicle into gear.

So, if you feel that these signs show up in your minivan, you can take the vehicle to a mechanic to get it evaluated completely.


Knowing how many axles a minivan or any other vehicle has is easy when you are trying to get the number for a toll road. For that you simply have to count the number of tires on your minivan and divide by 2. However, the actual number of axles that are in a minivan can vary depending on the model and how old or new it is. 

Most newer minivans will have 3-4 axles as the front tires will typically have independent suspensions so they technically won’t be connected and therefore aren’t a single axle.  

A minivan that is all wheel drive will typically have 4 axles although again for tolls they are considered only 2 axle vehicles.