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Mouse Trap Car: Distance Challenge

January 26, 2012

Earth shattering secrets for building record setting and winning mousetrap cars and racers. Here you will find all the latest and greatest untold construction secrets so you can build your very own mousetrap vehicle.


The objective is to build a vehicle that is powered solely by a standard-sized mouse trap that will travel the greatest linear distance.

By definition a vehicle is a device with wheels and/or runners. Launching a ball or another object from the mouse trap will be ruled illegal. The entire vehicle must leave the start line and travel as one unit.


1. The vehicle must be powered by a single Victor brand mouse trap
measuring: 1 - 3/4 inches X 3 - 7/8 inches.

2. The mouse trap cannot be physically altered except for the following:

  • holes can be drilled only to mount the mouse trap to a frame
  • the mouse trap's snapper arm may be cut and lengthened

3. The vehicle may not start with additional potential and/or kinetic energy other than what can be stored in the mouse trap's spring.

4. The spring from the mouse trap cannot be altered or heat treated.

5. The mouse trap's spring cannot be wound more than its normal travel distance or 180 degrees.

6. Vehicles must be self-starting.

7. The vehicles must steer itself and may not receive a push in any direction in order avoid a collision.

8. The greatest linear distance is not the total distance a vehicle travels but is defined as the displacement distance of the vehicle from the start line.

9. The greatest linear distance will be measured perpendicular from the front of the starting line to the point of the vehicle that was closest to the start line when released and will not "angle" to where the vehicle comes to rest.

10. The instructor has the final decision as to the appropriateness of any additional items that might be used in the construction of the vehicle.


The course will be a smooth level floor such as a gymnasiums or a non-carpeted hallway. The winner will be that vehicle that has obtained the greatest linear distance on any one of the three attempts. Any ties will be decided by a single run off between the tied vehicles.

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