Enter the wheelbase length and the turning angle of the front wheels into the calculator to determine the turning radius.

Turning Radius Formula

The following formula is used to calculate the turning radius of a car.

TR = WB/tan(a)

  • Where TR is the turning radius
  • a is the angle of the turn
  • WB is the wheelbase (distance between centers of the front and back wheels)

This formula assumes a perfect theoretical turning scenario. In real-world situations, this turning radius would vary depending on wheel tilt, friction, and many other factors.

Turning Radius Definition

What is a turning radius? A turning radius is a radius at which a car will rotate, or turn, given a certain wheelbase length and an angle of turn of the wheels.

Example Problem

How to calculate a turning radius?

  1. First, determine the wheel base.

    This is the distance from the centers of the front and back wheels. For this example, the wheelbase is found to be 5 ft.

  2. Next, determine the turn angle.

    This is the angle at which the front wheels are turned from their neutral position. in this problem, the angle of turn is 10 degrees.

  3. Finally, calculate the turn radius.

    Using the formula, the turn radius is found to be: 5/tan(10)= 28.356 ft.

FAQ

What is a good turning radius? Most common cars have a turning radius of 35′ so anything smaller than that would be considered good. This is the turning radius of the car assuming the wheels are turned as much as possible.

Do bigger tires affect the turning radius? Typically larger wheels will increase the turning radius of a vehicle to more wheel tilt during turning.

Is a smaller or larger turning radius better? A smaller turning radius is better for handling and cars that want to perform well on a track will want to try to decrease the turning radius as much as possible.

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turning radius formula