Breakover angle

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Equation / Last modified by KurtHeckman on 2018/01/03 21:58
KurtHeckman.Breakover angle

The Breakover Angle calculator computes the maximum angle that a vehicle can drive over BreakOver.jpg        Breakover Angle(B), Wheel Base (wb)
       and Ground Clearance (gc)
without the ground touching the vehicle's undercarriage. 

Breakover Angle Calculation Instructions

  1.  (gc) Enter the ground clearance.  This is measured between the flat ground and the lowest point in the vehicle's undercarriage, and
  2.  (wb) Enter the wheel base.  This is measured between the centers of the two wheels (axles).

Breakover Angle (B°): The calculator returns the Breakover Angle in degrees.  However this can be automatically converted to compatible units via the pull-down menu.

Note: The default units are in inches(in).  However other units (e.g. centimeters) can be selected via the pull-down menu on the right of the input fields.
α° = Approach angle:  ß°  = Departure angleApproach_and_departure_angle.pngApproach.png
Camber Angle (Φ) 

Related Calculators
  • To compute ground clearance approaching the tires, use the Approach (Departure) Angle calculator (CLICK HERE)


'''Breakover angle''' is the maximum possible supplementary angle (usually expressed in degrees) that a vehicle, with at least one forward wheel and one rear wheel, can drive over without the apex of that angle touching any point of the vehicle other than the wheels. Curbstone Clearance, Approach, Departure, and Ramp Breakover Angles.

Passenger Car and Light Truck:  This definition is contingent upon the wheels being in continuous contact with the supporting surface(s). Breakover angle may also be referred to as "break-over angle" or "break over angle." Breakover angle is different from ground clearance in that ground clearance is the shortest distance between the ground and lowest point on the vehicle.


Breakover angle is a relevant performance metric in many common vehicle scenarios, including:Breakover.png  Breakover diagram from Wikipedia

  • Off-roading.
  • Loading a vehicle onto a higher surface with a ramp.
  • Going over raised railroad crossings.

If a vehicle drives over a breakover angle larger that computed, the undercarriage of the vehicle will make contact with the ground.  This can damage the undercarriage, impede the vehicle from movement or take weight of the of the steering and/or traction wheels.

See also


  • Wikipedia -

*HowStuffWorks: [ The Physics of Off-Roading].