How Wide Should A Gate Be For A Car?

Are you working on a fencing project, and you want to know how wide should your gate be for your car to fit through? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

A quick way to get the ideal size for your gate is to use the size of your driveway as a basis. The gate should always be six to nine inches wider than the driveway. Here is a quick table for the most common sizes of gates in the US:

  • 9.5 feet driveway: 10-foot gate
  • 9 feet, 7 inches to 11 feet, 6 inches driveway: 12-foot gate
  • 11 feet, 7 inches to 13 feet, 6 inches driveway: 14-foot gate
  • 13 feet, 7 inches to 15 feet, 6 inches driveway: 16-foot gate

The common idea of DIYers is to use the width of the car that they have as a basis for the width of the gate that they will install. Read the succeeding sections to learn why this is not a good idea. Read on!

Automatic gate, fence, driveway and modern single family house with garage - How Wide Should A Gate Be For A Car

How wide does my gate need to be for a car?

The reason why your gate should be based on the width of your driveway is because of the gate posts that should be installed to support your gate. The gate posts should be supported by a concrete base under the ground that is 12 to 18 inches in diameter.

The bigger your gate posts are, the bigger the concrete base should be to support them.

It is a good practice to dig the entire diameter of the concrete base on the side and away from the driveway. Never allow a part of the concrete base to be under the driveway.

This is especially important for asphalt and concrete driveways. If the concrete base sinks or the ground between the concrete base and the driveway erodes away, this will cause your driveway to sink in that area and crack.

Digging the concrete base away from the driveway ensures that this will not happen even if the concrete base sinks or the ground above it erodes over time.

What are the standard driveway sizes?

Now that we have established why it is important to use the width of your driveway as a basis for the size of the gate, let’s talk about the standard size of driveways. The size of your gate should always be at least one foot plus the width of your driveway.

Different states and cities can have their own minimum driveway widths. Check your local building code to find out the minimums for your location.

It is a good idea to go for the smallest allowable driveway size in your area that can accommodate your largest car. A small driveway size equates to a smaller maintenance cost for your driveway.

Since the size of your gate will depend on the width of your driveway, a small driveway means you can install a smaller gate. A smaller gate means that you don’t need to spend a lot to install the gate and maintain it.

The minimum width of the driveway usually depends on the number of cars that will use it. The more cars you need to park, the wider the driveway should be.

Keep in mind that there are no standard driveway sizes. You can make your driveway as wide as you need as long as you get within the minimum required by your state or city.

Additional Things To Consider When Determining The Size Of Your Gate

By now, you should have a clear idea of how to determine the size of the gate that you need.

Find out what is the local required minimum driveway width that you should have depending on the number of cars that you own. Add a foot to a foot and a half to that width, and you have your gate width.

However, there are other things that you need to consider when determining the width of your gate.

Swing Distance

Iron Gate and opening mechanism

The swing distance is the area that should be clear so that your gate will be able to swing freely. For example, a 10-foot single swing gate will need an area equal to a quarter circle with a radius of 10 feet.

Ideally, your gate should swing over your land and not over a neighbor’s land or public land.

The swing distance takes away areas on your land where you can safely place anything. This is important when planning where you will place your gate.

If the swing distance is too big for your land to accommodate, consider installing a double gate instead. A double gate will divide the swing distance into two, making it easier to position.

A sliding gate, on the other hand, can eliminate the swing distance completely. There are even compound sliding gates that need less area to slide since the total length of the gate is divided into two parts that will slide in the same direction.

Trailers, RVs, And More

Aluminum black door dark gray metal gate of house steel portal of suburb access home

Following the local minimum width for your driveway is perfectly fine if the only vehicles that will pass through your gate are sedans, hatchbacks, or SUVs. However, you will need a wider gate if you need to park larger vehicles like RVs, dually pickup trucks, boat trailers, and camping trailers.

Add a few more feet to the width of the driveway to accommodate larger vehicles. This is especially important for backing trailers into that gate coming from a small road or coming in at an angle.

Angle Of Gate Entry

The measurements that we’ve discussed so far assume that you will enter the gate at a right angle from the road.

If you need to enter the gate from a smaller angle, then you need to add a couple of feet to the width of your gate. This is because the effective width of your vehicle goes up as the angle of entry goes down.

The additional width is added after determining the different sizes of vehicles that will pass through your gate.

Service Providers' Gate Accissibility

Your SUV or half-ton truck may pass through your gate without a problem after determining the right gate width. However, service providers may need a wider gate to get their vehicles through.

Service providers might need to bring their vehicle through your gate to maintain your pool, do your landscaping, deliver your furniture, empty your septic tank, or provide tree services. They will likely use larger vehicles than the ones that you are using.

What size are most gates?

Automatic gate, fence, driveway and modern single family house with garage.

Three-foot gates are commonly the smallest that you’d find and are big enough for people to pass through. Although you might find 32-inch gates, these are mostly used as gates for gardens.

Gates that are four feet wide are large enough for most push mowers to pass through without difficulty.

Riding mowers will need at least a five-foot gate, but a six-foot gate would be the ideal size.

Gates for vehicles are typically 10 feet wide. Twelve-foot gates are ideal for larger vehicles and trailers.

How do you fix the gap under a metal gate?

Black metal driveway entrance gates set in brick fence

Follow the steps below to fix the gap under your metal gate:

  1. Measure the size of the gap that you want to cover. Add to the measurement the thickness of the gate frame at the bottom.
  2. Cut a piece of metal sheet that matches the measurements that you took. The metal sheet should be thick enough to support the weight of a roller and not bend.
  3. Screw, or bolt a hinge on top of the bottom frame of the gate. Add another hinge every 12 inches. Make sure that the hinges all bend in the same direction and are aligned on the same plane.
  4. Weld, screw, or bolt a roller under the sheet of metal. Install one roller every 12 inches of the metal sheet.
  5. Screw, or bolt the sheet of metal with a roller on the other side of the hinge. This will allow the sheet of metal to move upward if the gate passes through an area on the driveway that is high. The wheels or rollers allow the metal plate to slide smoothly on the driveway.


Automatic front gate with stone either side

Use the width of your driveway as a basis for the width of your gate. Adjust the width of the gate to accommodate an angled entry and other vehicles that might need to pass through your gate.

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