Women Drivers Blog

Let’s Talk Torque

January 9, 2015 / 

There is more to buying a car then just its jaw-dropping exterior and comfy interior. A good understanding of the car’s technical specs can help you make a much wiser purchase decision. Technical specs like horsepower, torque and MPG, to name a few, all contribute to the performance of the car.

Understanding Torque and Horsepower

In this post we are focusing on torque, how it is different from horsepower and how it impacts your car’s performance.

For starters, horsepower is a unit to measure power. It tells you how much power the engine can produce and determines how fast the car can travel. On the other hand, torque determines how quickly that speed can be achieved. Simply put, the greater the torque, the faster the acceleration.

Torque is the turning force in automobiles. It is measured in lb-ft (pound foot) and measures the engine’s ability to create force.

Oftentimes, drivers tend to focus on horsepower and overlook torque. This is because they assume that it will help them reach higher speeds because horsepower is a power unit. But that’s a wrong assumption, because torque is what actually gets you the speed you want. Horsepower helps you maintain that speed. You can never determine how fast your car will move by focusing on it.

The Advantages of More Torque

Torque potential can be determined through vehicle’s transmission and axles. How these units are geared determines how quickly torque helps you achieve a certain speed. Like towing a boat, for example. It may sound technical for some, so let’s take a look at an example to understand this in a better way.

Think of a race car and a tractor. The race car doesn’t necessarily require a lot of torque to push the car forward and get it to a high speed. However, a lot of torque goes into getting a heavy tractor moving. The tractor can’t reach high speeds but it can pull a huge amount of weight.

Simply put, though these two technical specs help drivers measure different aspects of a car’s performance, they can’t exist without each other.