Hi, my name is Molly, and I love shiny new things. That applies to cars. I know you have to think about price and safety when buying cars, but I also like to think about style. A car that you love should reflect your style and your essence. It should say something about your character, and I find that when it does it is more fun to drive. I have honed the task of car buying into an art. If you want tips on buying a car, please explore these posts. I plan to cover a range of things. I have two kids, three cars, four dogs and now this blog! Thanks for reading it!
Delia De Roo
Horsepower, torque, and, to a lesser extent, RPM are all terms that are thrown around by manufacturers to help sell their vehicles, but it can be hard to understand what those terms mean and how they will affect the vehicle. If you're not sure yourself, just read through this quick and easy guide.
The term horsepower comes from the industrial age, when engine manufacturers needed to relate the power of their machines to the horses then used for power. Specifically, horsepower measures the amount of energy needed to move one pound one foot.
Cars obviously possess much more than one horsepower nowadays, with their amount of horsepower demonstrating how much distance they can cover in a set amount of time. Higher numbers are great for accelerating and maintaining high speeds. However, more important is the horsepower-to-weight ratio, which you'll find by dividing the amount of horsepower by the weight of the vehicle. A car with 150 horsepower might actually be less powerful than one with 130 horsepower if it turns out to weigh more.
Torque refers to an engine's rotational force, and is measured in pound-feet (lb-ft) ratings. Imagine holding a wrench; the amount of turning power you can call upon will determine how much rotational force can be applied, so torque can be understood to be more about strength than speed.
Torque is important because it is needed for getting your vehicle up to its maximum speed as quickly as possible by applying plenty of power to all four wheels. This is why torque is a more important figure to look at when you're searching for a truck, SUV, or any other vehicle likely to head off-road, used to tow heavy loads, or simply likely to be heavier than a sedan or hatchback.
People often neglect to combine these figures with RPM ratings. If you look at a vehicle's specs, you will notice that horsepower and torque figures are usually expressed at certain engine speeds, or revolutions per minute (RPM).
150 hp @ 3,500 RPM
120 ft-lb @ 3,000 RPM
Generally, a lower RPM rating is more advantageous since the engine doesn't need to race to provide maximum power. In fact, many cars will never be able to reach maximum power because their engines just won't run that fast. If performance is something you're taking seriously, make sure you compare the RPM ratings of each vehicle you're looking at.
Horsepower, torque, and RPM ratings will all play a factor in the performance of your vehicle, so making sure that you understand what these values mean can put you in the driving seat when you're looking for a car. If you have questions, contact a company like Glenn's Quality Cars.