How To Make Your Mousetrap Car Go Farther

what is a mousetrap vehicle

A mousetrap vehicle is model car that is powered by mousetraps. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad and SECME, host mousetrap vehicle competitions to help teach basic physic concepts to students. 

In this post, we will discuss some common issues and how to fix them.

how to go farther

If your mousetrap vehicle is not traveling far enough, there are a  few areas that you can adjust and improve to solve this issue.


One of the biggest hinderances on mousetrap cars, or any other type of model car for that matter is friction. The best solution to minimize friction between the axles and the vehicle frame is to use ball bearings. 

However, if you are unable to obtain ball bearings, graphite powder, oil, or other lubricants can be used to reduce the friction between the axle and vehicle frame.

 It is important to note, though, that if no ball bearings are used, you should try to minimize the contact between the axles and the vehicle frame by making the vehicle frame thin in areas where the axles are held.

short Lever Arm

If you want to maximize the distance your vehicle can travel, the lever arm length of your vehicle should be larger, which increases length of string pulling the drive axle, resulting in a longer time period required to fully use all of the mousetrap’s energy. However, the speed of your vehicle will be reduced. 


Vehicle weight is an important factor to consider reducing if your mousetrap vehicle is not traveling far enough. The greater your mousetrap vehicle weighs, the shorter the distance it will cover and the speed it will travel. 

This consequence is due to the limited energy within the mousetrap. When the vehicle weighs more, the energy needed to overcome the gravitational energy of the vehicle increases, resulting in less energy available to propel the car forward, in turn, reducing the vehicle’s speed and distance it can travel.

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