Engineering ToolBox - Resources, Tools and Basic Information for Engineering and Design of Technical Applications!

This is an AMP page - Open full page! for all features.

Car - Traction Force

Sponsored Links

The tractive force between a car wheel and the surface can be expressed as

F = μ t W

= μ t m a g (1)


F = traction effort or force acting on the wheel from the surface (N, lbf )

μ t = traction - or friction - coefficient between the wheel and the surface

W = weight or vertical force between wheel and surface (N, lbf ) )

m = mass on the wheel (kg, slugs )

a g = acceleration of gravity (9.81 m/s2, 32.17405 ft/s2)


Traction Coefficients for normal Car Tires

Car Tires - Traction Coefficients
SurfaceTraction Coefficient
- μ t -
Wet Ice 0.1
Dry Ice/Snow 0.2
Loose Sand 0.3 - 0.4
Dry Clay 0.5 - 0.6
Wet rolled Gravel 0.3 - 0.5
Dry rolled Gravel 0.6 - 0.7
Wet Asphalt 0.6
Wet Concrete 0.6
Dry Asphalt 0.9
Dry Concrete 0.9

Example - Traction Force on an Accelerating Car

The maximum traction force available from one of the two rear wheels on a rear wheel driven car - with mass 2000 kg equally distributed on all four wheels - on wet asphalt with adhesion coefficient 0.5 - can be calculated as

F one_wheel = 0.5 ((2000 kg)  (9.81 m/s2) / 4)

= 2453 N

The traction force from both rear wheels

F both_wheels = 2 (2452 N)

= 4905 N

Note! - that during acceleration the force from the engine creates a moment that tries to rotate the vehicle around the driven wheels. For a rear drive car this is beneficial by increased vertical force and increased traction on the driven wheels. For a front wheel driven car the traction force will be reduced during acceleration.

The maximum acceleration of the car under these conditions can be calculated with Newton's Second Law as

a car = F / m

= (4904 N) / (2000 kg)

= 2.45 m/s2

= (2.45 m/s2) / (9.81 m/s2)

= 0.25 g


a car = acceleration of car (m/s2)

The minimum time to accelerate from 0 km/h to 100 km/h can be calculated as

dt = dv / a car

= ((100 km/h) - (0 km/h)) (1000 m/km) (1/3600 h/s) / (2.4 m/s2)

= 11.3 s


dt = time used (s)

dv = change in velocity (m/s)

Accelerating Car Calculator

This calculator can be used to calculate the maximum acceleration and minimum accelation time for a car on different surfaces.

Sponsored Links

Related Topics


Motion of bodies and the action of forces in producing or changing their motion - velocity and acceleration, forces and torque.

Related Documents


Change in velocity vs. time used.

Car - Required Power and Torque

Power, torque, efficiency and wheel force acting on a car.

Car Acceleration

Car acceleration calculator.

Car Fuel Consumption - liter/100 km

Calculate fuel consumption in liter per km - consumption chart and calculator.

Cars - New vs. Old Car Cost Calculator

Calculate and compare the costs between owning a new vs. an old car.

Driving Distances between European Cities

Driving distance between some major European cities.

Electrical Vehicle Charging - Power vs. Voltage and Amps

EV Charging - AC vs. DC, single phase vs. three phase and power vs. voltage and amps.

Friction - Friction Coefficients and Calculator

Friction theory with calculator and friction coefficients for combinations of materials like ice, aluminum, steel, graphite and many more.

Fuel Consumption - mpg

Calculate fuel consumption in miles per gallon - mpg - calculator and consumption charts.

Piston Engines - Compression Ratios

Cylinder volume and compression ratios in piston engines.

Piston Engines - Displacement

Calculate piston engine displacement.

Rolling Resistance

Rolling friction and rolling resistance.

Toggle Joint

A toggle joint mechanism can be used to multiply force.

Vehicle - Distance Traveled vs. Velcocity and Time Used (mph)

Speed (mph) and time (hours) and distance traveled (miles) chart.

Vehicle - Distance Traveled vs. Velocity and Time (km/h)

Speed (km/h) vs. time (hours) and distance traveled (km).

Vehicles Traffic Flow and Density

Traffic flow and density as used in highway design.

Sponsored Links

Search Engineering ToolBox

  • the most efficient way to navigate the Engineering ToolBox!

SketchUp Extension - Online 3D modeling!

Add standard and customized parametric components - like flange beams, lumbers, piping, stairs and more - to your Sketchup model with the Engineering ToolBox - SketchUp Extension - enabled for use with the amazing, fun and free SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro . Add the Engineering ToolBox extension to your SketchUp from the Sketchup Extension Warehouse!


We don't collect information from our users. Only emails and answers are saved in our archive. Cookies are only used in the browser to improve user experience.

Some of our calculators and applications let you save application data to your local computer. These applications will - due to browser restrictions - send data between your browser and our server. We don't save this data.

Google use cookies for serving our ads and handling visitor statistics. Please read Google Privacy & Terms for more information about how you can control adserving and the information collected.

AddThis use cookies for handling links to social media. Please read AddThis Privacy for more information.