Torque is a very common term that a lot of people might read when they go to car websites or check out car magazines. You may also hear the term very often when you pay a visit to your mechanic.
However, most people do not actually know what torque is and how the torque contributes to the overall performance of the car. I’ll be explaining what exactly torque is and how crucial the torque is to the car.
Understanding What Torque Is
Before we go on to discussing how torque contributes to a car’s performance, we first have to understand what exactly torque is. In a nutshell, the term “torque” is actually a term in physics that relates to rotational power.
Torque is the rate of turning power produced by an object that has the tendency to rotate around an axis or, as physicists would say, a fulcrum. In mathematical terms, the torque is equal to the change in angular momentum.
The amount of torque that a lever would produce is directly related to the distance of the fulcrum from the fulcrum to the end of the lever. This means that the longer the lever, the more torque is produced because of the ease of ability to rotate.
Applying Torque Concepts in Machines
In machines like cars, the torque is usually found inside the engine. If you want to measure how much power a machine makes, then you have to measure the amount of torque that an engine creates.
This is the rotational power that the axis makes the parts produce so as to power up the engine to make the machine work. Basically, you can tell if a car is powerful by knowing how much torque its engine produces.
If the figures are leaning toward a high side, then the car is very powerful. However, if the figures are leaning to a rather low side, then the car’s engine isn’t that powerful.
The Torque’s Significance to A Car
Now that we know what torque is, the main question now is what is the significance of the torque to the car? Well, we do know that torque is the power generated from rotational movement inside the engine. We also know that the engine is used to speed up the car.
So with these facts on hand, we know that torque is very important for a car to accelerate. If you are a driver, then you know how important it is for a car to accelerate easily. If the car is able to accelerate with ease, then the engine is producing a high rate of torque.
The torque produced by the internal combustion engine is the one that will make all the other parts of the car spin in accordance. The torque from the engine then gets transmitted to the tires which will make the tires spin. With this, we can really see how the torque can make a car accelerate.
Torque in the Wheels
In my previous point, I discussed torque in the engine. Now, I’m going to concentrate on torque in the wheels. As I have said above, the torque from the engine gets transferred to the wheels.
However, the wheels have their own torque generated as the wheels run on an axis that is found in the center of the tire. This is where the gears come in. The gears will control the torque that is provided to the tires depending on how fast or how slow you are driving. If you are slowing down, then less torque will be forced upon the wheels.
If you are going faster, then more torque will be given. This is why there are 4 different gears (5 for sports cars). The 4 gears will help you control torque so that not too much is applied when you are going slow and not too little is applied when you are going too fast.
Notice that if you are using the wrong gear, your car makes funny noises. This is because the wrong amount of torque is being forced upon by the car. Of course, if you use an automatic transmission car, then the gears will automatically shift by themselves.
Torque in relation to Horsepower
Most people often use horsepower to measure how powerful a car is. What most people are not aware of is that the torque should be the main measurement of a car’s power because the torque is what can actually produce horsepower. So let’s discuss how horsepower and torque are related to each other.
In order to know the relation between the two, it is essential that you know about both. Since I’ve already explained how torque works in my points above, now I’ll talk about horsepower. Horsepower is, in a nutshell, the amount of work produced over a certain time period.
Horsepower is very different from torque because torque produces acceleration while horsepower is more related to the overall speed at a given time.
Now that we know about horsepower, let’s put the two together. As I stated earlier, it is actually the torque that produces horsepower. We can see how this works if we examine the formula for horsepower.
Horsepower is equal to torque multiplied by RPMs or revolutions per minute divided by 5252. 5252 is constant so this will always be part of the formula. If you turn it into its mathematical form, it will look like this:
Horsepower = (Torque) (RPM) / 5252
Now, one thing to remember is that without torque, there is no horsepower. You need to accelerate the car before you reach a constant speed while you are driving on the road. The torque will be the factor that produces units of acceleration while the horsepower is the one that produces the speed.
In essence, the torque will measure the car’s power. Using this logic, we can actually say that the torque contributes to the overall speed and power of the car and not just the acceleration. Although the torque produces the acceleration, the acceleration is needed to produce speed so the torque indirectly also contributes to producing overall speed.
Torque in general is very crucial to the performance of a car. First of all, torque generates acceleration. If you want your car to go fast, then your engine must be able to generate a high torque.
This, in turn, would make your tires move due to the overall rotational movements of the parts inside the car. Not only does torque produce acceleration but it also produces horsepower.
As the formula states, you need torque in order to produce horsepower. Although torque does not directly produce horsepower, it is a component (along with revolutions per minute) in the production of horsepower.
Since the torque produces acceleration, speed, and movement for the tires, then we can say that the torque heavily contributes to the performance of a car.
If you are a race car driver, for example, you need an engine that can produce a high torque so that you can accelerate quickly and maintain your speed. You also need that torque to get your tires moving right away.
In conclusion that, if you want to really measure the power of your car, I’d say that you should take a look at how much torque the engine produces.