Is there a hypernym for wheels and tracks (possibly also, though rarer, mechanical legs and hovecraft skirts), that is the interface or system that supports a vehicle on land and that (except for hovercraft skirts, I guess) provides traction/grip?

I found running gear and driving gear, so that gear might serve as a hypernym, but it sounds overly generic and can be confused with gear (train), for gear shifting, which might be only a (optional) companion of the system I'm looking to name.

I also found motion system, which may be applicable only in specific domains other than locomotion and may extend to powering (engine).

Perhaps mechanical locomotion system, which might however exclude hovercraft skirts, as well as include propulsion?

  • 1
    “Where the rubber meets the road . . .”
    – Xanne
    Sep 1, 2021 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


One term used for aircraft is


1 A wheeled structure beneath an aircraft, typically retracted when not in use, which supports the aircraft on the ground.
the undercarriage collapsed on landing

and also more generally

1.1 The supporting frame under the body of a vehicle.
security guards checked the BMW's undercarriage with a large mirror

From Lexico

Wikipedia has the broader definition

Undercarriage is the part of a moving vehicle that is underneath the main body of the vehicle. The term originally applied to this part of a horse-drawn carriage, and usage has since broadened to include:

  • The landing gear of an aircraft.
  • The chassis of an automobile.
  • The tractor treads of a tractor or tank.
  • The underframe of a locomotive
  • The undercarriage assembly of a train car or locomotive, known as a bogie, incorporating the train wheel sets, suspension, brakes and, in powered units, the traction motors
  • I agree that 'undercarriage' is probably as close as the questioner is going to get to a hypernym but I get the impression that they are looking for a word that could be applied to a pile of wheels, tracks, articulated legs and so on in a scrap yard. "Undercarriage" refers to the entire assembly supporting the vehicle including the axles, spindles, springs, shock absorbers, drive sprockets and sprung rollers for tank and bulldozer tracks as well as, in some cases, frames and mounting points. The undercarriage of an aircraft includes the legs to which the wheels are fastened for instance..
    – BoldBen
    Sep 2, 2021 at 6:49

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