Choosing the Right Axle Ratio for a Pick-Up Truck

The pick-up trucks have different variations. When shopping for one, apart from the brand, you will notice differences in transmission, torque, trim, and axle ratios. Many people do not understand the difference in axle ratio and how it influences your truck. You will wonder, but the difference in the sizes of gears significantly affects pick-up trucks. You must understand the axle ratio’s effect on your pick-up truck’s performance. It is crucial choosing the right axle ratio for your truck.

Choosing the Right Axle Ratio for a Pick-Up Truck

Suppose you wish to buy a truck, primarily for highway driving. Consider choosing the standard axle ratio, which will give you fuel economy as it will reduce the number of revolutions per minute (rpm) the engine will make to turn each wheel. When the rpm is low, your engine will not work hard to keep your truck in motion, and less fuel is consumed.

Understanding the Axle Ratios

A pick-up truck has a differential. In the differential, there are gears. These gears in the differential are called the axle ratio. These gear are of various sizes, expressed in ratios such as 3.55:1. The drive shaft has to turn 3.55 times for each wheel to make a single revolution.

To understand the gear ratios, you have to know that as the numeric goes up, the towing capacity of your truck increases, and the fuel economy decreases. A higher axle ratio sends more engine power to the rear wheels for rear-wheel drive trucks and to all the wheels for 4WD trucks, this is interesting, but you have to pay the price when it comes to fuel consumption.

A pick-up with an axle ratio of 3.73 has a greater towing capacity than one with an axle ratio of 3.55 or 3.21. Your truck will consume more fuel in all the above proportions because the engine’s rpm will remain higher.

The Standard Axle Ratios

The standard axle ratio balances your pick-up truck’s performance, fuel economy, and general capability. Such kind of axle ratio focuses more on fuel economy. The standard axle ratio selects the final drive ratio that reduces your engine’s rpm. By lowering the rpm, most truck manufacturers can meet the government mileage standards. 

When you use your truck for towing, the highest axle ratio will serve you better. A higher axle ratio only reduces fuel economy by 1mile per gallon. 

When selecting the right axle ratio, think of your drive cycle, where, and how fast you drive. If you drive in rural at a lower speed, the higher gears will serve you better and perform excellently without interfering with your rpm. If you do more highway driving, consider a lower gear set which will reduce the rpm and improve your fuel economy.


The EPA regulations apply when choosing the proper axle ratio for your pick-up truck. The higher the ratio, the lesser the fuel economy. When fuel economy goes down and emissions increase, this guide has elaborated on what an axle ratio is, which is one of the things to consider when buying a new truck. What you will do with your truck will also tell the kind of axle ratio to choose.

Posts Tagged with…