The Physics
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Mass of a Car

An educational, fair use website

search icon
Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Cutnell & Johnson. Physics. New York: Wiley, 1998: 88. "Car (2000 kg) The mass of various objects." 2000 kg
"Automobile." The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: World Book, 1996: 959. "For example, the typical car requires more than 1700 pounds (770 kilograms) of steel; 400 pounds (180 kilograms) of iron; 250 pounds (110 kilograms) of plastics; 180 pounds (80 kilograms) of aluminum; and 130 pounds (60 kilograms) of rubber." > 1200 kg
Evans, Leonard & Michael C. Frick. "Car Size or Car Mass: Which Has Greater Influence on Fatality Risk?" American Journal of Public Health. 82 (August 1992): 1105–12. "In fact, the relationships cross at W = 2.95m, M = 1650 kg." 1650 kg
The Car Book. Washington, DC, 1979: 18. "It weighs 2500 pounds and gets an EPA rated 28.9 mpg for urban driving." 1237.5 kg
"Of the automobiles currently on the road, a 400 pound car is twice as safe as a 200 pound car." 990–1980 kg

A car is made out of many different kinds of materials, such as metals, plastics, and rubber. Cars greatly vary in size, and therefore in mass. A car's mass may vary in the range of 990 to 2000 kg. However, a typical car may require more than 770 kilograms of steel, 180 kilograms of iron, 110 kilograms of plastics, 80 kilograms of aluminum, and 60 kilograms of rubber, as well as, less significant amounts of different materials. The total mass of an average car may be about 1500 kilograms.

One of the most important things about the mass of a car, is the fact that the heavier it is, the safer it for the occupants, and vice versa. In fact, the mass and safety of a car are said to be directly proportional, so a 2000 kg car is twice as safe as a 1000 kg car. In special studies, it was found out that in most cases, the numbers of crashes between cars are directly proportional to the difference in masses of the two cars. In case of two-car crashes, the effect flows directly from Newton's laws of motion, which require that when two objects collide, the speed change each undergoes is in inverse proportion to its mass. It is this speed change that generates the forces that lead to death and injury.

Yana Zorina -- 2000