What Students in Automotive School Need to Know About Rear-Engine Vehicles

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Rear-engine cars like the DeLorean DMC-12 work a little differently than front-engine options

With the vast majority of cars, you know that you just need to pop open the hood to get at the engine. Some cars, though, are designed a little differently: their engines are located in the rear of the car. It might seem like this isn’t a huge deal—cars are cars, engines are engines, and as long as the one has the other, it will drive. This, however, isn’t quite true.
A number of interesting differences exist between regular cars and rear-engine cars, making the choice to design cars for a rear engine something that comes with surprising consequences.
Here are a few of the things that you need to know.

Students at Automotive School May Know Rear-Engine Cars Are Less Stable

One of the most important differences created by using a rear-engine design is that it shifts the car’s center of gravity in a way that promotes “oversteer.” This is a phenomenon where the car turns more than it should in response to the steering wheel being turned. An unfortunate consequence of this is that oversteer promotes instability, making it a bit more dangerous than regular layouts for the average driver.
This is a big part of why you’re unlikely to see many cars with this layout after becoming a mechanic, though higher-end, flashier, and faster models do sometimes rely on this sort of design.

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Rear engine cars tend to oversteer, and are therefore less stable than normal

Rear-Engine Cars Tend to Stop and Go a Bit Faster

One big advantage of rear-engine cars is that they boast more braking power than the average car on the street. Positioning the engine right in front of the rear drive wheels adds some weight that is useful for killing the car’s momentum when the brakes are applied.
Students at automotive school might also realize that the location of a rear engine helps the rear tires generate force, allowing for faster acceleration as well. For drivers who are confident in their ability to keep control of their vehicles, these are both pretty significant benefits—just not enough for manufacturers to ditch the added security of a front-engine design.

Students at Automotive School Will See Rear-Engine Vehicles Aren’t Very Roomy

Many drivers want to have spacious cabins in their cars—particularly when they’re trying to transport groups of people around. Having the engine placed in the front of the car makes it easy to leave lots of space behind for seats and leg room—not so with a rear-engine vehicle. These often don’t have seats in the rear at all, or only include tiny seats that would be uncomfortable for the average adult to use.
Between hauling stuff, driving family and friends around, and just enjoying a bit of comfortable space in which to stretch out their legs, most drivers are sure to find a lot of benefit to having a regular, front-engine car. Odds are, whenever you do see a rear-engine car in your future career, it might not be an everyday vehicle used for buying groceries, carpooling family members, or running other errands that need plenty of car space.

becoming a mechanic
A rear-engine design often means no back seat in a car

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