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How Much Does a Car Weigh? Facts & FAQ

Car raised on car lift in autoservice

Cars vary a lot in weight depending on the type of car it is. Some cars weigh far more than others, while some are quite light. Compact cars weigh the least, while some trucks weigh nearly three times as much. When in an accident, these heavier cars can do a lot of damage to these smaller cars.

However, this isn’t always the case. After all, different cars have different safety features. Some older cars are heavier simply due to what they are made out of.

car and road divider

How Much Does a Car Weigh?

The average car weight is 4,156 pounds. There are many cars on either side of this average, though.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what different types of cars typically weigh:

Smart Car: 1,500 lbs
Subcompact Car: 2,600 lbs
Compact Car: 2,600 lbs
Midsized Car: 3,300 lbs
Large Car: 4,400 lbs
Subcompact SUV: 2,000 lbs
Compact SUV: 3,000 lbs
Midsize SUV: 3,500–6,000 lbs
Large SUV: 5,400–6,000 lbs
Truck: 5,000–5,500 lbs

As you can see, car weight depends largely on what type of car you’re driving. Some cars weigh far more than others. Even if you leave out trucks and SUVs, cars can vary from 1,500 to 4,400 pounds depending on the exact type of car.

car and road divider

Is a Car’s Weight Important?

When you purchase a car, you probably don’t check the car’s weight. While the car’s weight may not be terribly important for many buyers, you may want to consider it. There are many instances when the size of your car really matters, especially when it comes to accidents and maintenance issues.

Firstly, lighter cars fare worse in accidents. If you are in a collision with a heavier car, your chance of fatality increases significantly. Therefore, if you’re driving a very light car, the odds of getting into an accident with a heavier car increase substantially. If you’re driving a heavier car, then there likely aren’t that many heavier cars for you to get into an accident with.

If you want a lighter car, you may want to focus more on safety features. For larger cars, this likely isn’t as much of a problem. After all, the larger car won’t fare as poorly in an accident.

Secondly, heavier vehicles require more fuel. Because they are heavier, they usually require more energy to move. Therefore, these heavier cars will go through more fuel than smaller cars. If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient car, you’ll want to take the vehicle’s size into account.

Thirdly, equipment is often based on a car’s size. If you’re purchasing a jack or other maintenance tools to work on your car, it helps to know the exact type of car you’re driving. After all, you’ll want to find a jack that can lift your car safely. A small, 2-ton jack isn’t going to be very useful with a truck.

ford pickup trucks
Image Credit: Dylan McLeod, Unsplash

Fourth, some government entities use vehicle weight for regulations. In some cases, laws regarding efficiency and similar issues also play a role in a vehicle’s weight. It may be harder to get certain cars to pass emissions just because of their weight. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, there are more and more areas setting these standards.

Finally, your vehicle’s weight will help determine how much you can haul. Of course, if you’re getting a very small car, you probably aren’t planning on hauling anything. However, if you do have a truck or an SUV with a towing package, then your car’s weight will suddenly become very important. Smaller cars are simply unable to tow larger things.

car and road divider

What is the Heaviest Car?

The heaviest car varies from year to year. Older cars were much heavier than newer cars. Therefore, if you’re taking into account all the cars that were ever built, the heavier car is going to be older than you’d think. Over the years, cars have gotten lighter—not heavier.

The heaviest car ever in production was the Zil-41047 limousine, which was built by the Soviets. This vehicle was extremely big and long. It weighed 7,352 pounds in total, thanks mostly to how long this car was.

Can a Human Lift a Car?

Theoretically, even the smallest car is much too heavy for the average human to lift. Even the strongest people in the world cannot lift much more than their body weight (usually). The average person probably cannot even lift their body weight. Cars weigh much more than the average person. Therefore, if the average person cannot even lift their body weight, they absolutely are not lifting a car.

On average, a man can lift about a fifth of a car in weight. However, human anatomy is a strange thing, and we’ve all heard tales of parents lifting cars to get to their children after accidents.

When in danger, humans may experience the “fear response.” When this occurs, our bodies undergo very rapid changes that make us stronger than usual. For instance, more cortisol is released, which increases blood pressure. Adrenaline increases, which increases the heart rate and breathing. Plus, this also decreases the sensitivity to pain, which allows humans to handle threats without the usual inhibitions.

Furthermore, when humans “lift a car,” they usually aren’t lifting the whole car. Instead, they are usually lifting a portion of the car a few inches off the ground. Much of the weight is displaced by the other wheels. Plus, the heaviest portion of the car is in the engine block, which isn’t always where the person is lifting.

Therefore, humans could theoretically lift a portion of a car in extreme circumstances. In many cases, this would have to involve a great deal of fear, such as a parent thinking they are going to lose their child.

You probably couldn’t go out and lift a car right this second. However, if you needed to in an emergency, there is a chance that you could lift a portion of a car a few inches.

Image Credit: blende12, Pixabay

car and road divider


Cars vary a lot in weight, largely because there are a lot of different cars out there. A small compact car is going to weigh much less than a truck. Cars made for towing are going to weigh more, as towing capacity is partially determined by weight.

For this reason, we highly recommend that you consider your car’s weight. It matters more than many take into account.

Featured Image Credit: 4 PM production, Shutterstock


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