Horsepower Vs Torque And Why They Both Matter

car engine

When you set out to buy a new car, you might take a look at a lot of numbers about speed and power that are hard to decipher – it can be difficult to understand. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why today we’re going to address horsepower vs torque and why they both matter in your vehicle. The short answer is one makes your car quick out of the gate while the other helps you reach top speeds on the open road. But it’s a bit more complex than that. Let us explain.


Torque is a twisting power. When you twist a doorknob or use a wrench, you’re using torque. Likewise, when the pistons in your engine reciprocate up and down, they generate torque which in turn powers your engine. This initial burst of power helps you if you want to go from zero to 60 very quickly, or if you want a strong towing capacity.


Horsepower, on the other hand, has to do with how often the torque is applied. Think of it like this. If you were cutting down a tree, torque is the force of your swing rotating into the trunk. Horsepower is how many chops you take per minute. So, a person with longer arms might have a greater torque, but a person with shorter arms could have less torque but strike the tree more often to chop it down faster. And that’s how it works with your car. The initial torque will determine how quickly you get started. How often that force is applied will determine your horsepower after you get going.

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Do You Need Horsepower Or Torque?

This is really something that you have to ask yourself for your unique needs, because every vehicle is going to have a balance of both torque and horsepower. Do you need more quickness? More towing capacity? Or more speed? We hope you have a better understanding of torque and horsepower, and can use this knowledge before your next car purchase.



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