Kingpin (automotive part)

Kingpin (automotive part)

The kingpin is the main pivot in the steering mechanism of a car or other vehicle. Originally this was literally a steel pin on which the moveable, steerable wheel was mounted to the suspension. Free to rotate on a single axis, it limited the degrees of freedom of motion of the rest of the front suspension. When its bearings were replaced starting in the 1950s by ball joints, more complicated suspension designs became available to designers. It is usually made of metal.

No longer restricted to moving like a pin, the part was not necessarily still called a king pin; but in newer designs, the term may be used not for an actual pin but the axis around which the steered wheels pivot.

The nipple at the front of a semi-trailer to connect to a fifth wheel coupling is also known as a king pin.

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