There are two figures that dominate the majority of conversations between enthusiasts – horsepower and torque. These two figures provide a lot of information about a vehicle and are used to settle debates on which one is more powerful and faster.
In a new video, Engineering Explained provides a crash course on what horsepower and torque actually mean.
Unlike those physics courses you took in college, Jason Fenske explains what the words mean by using easily-digestible charts and stuff that enthusiasts probably have in their garage. To start off, torque is force applied at a distance. Fenske uses the example of tightening a bolt with a wrench to explain how torque is twisting force.
The majority of people, though, know that. When it comes to your engine, the combined process of the combustion cycle that applies force onto the piston, pushing it down and then allowing it to turn the crankshaft describes how your engine makes torque.
In the same scenario, power is how fast the entire process is going. Horsepower, then, is how quickly your engine can accomplish work – like getting from one point to another. When it comes to talking about cars, horsepower is the important figure, as it gives your car its speed and acceleration.
These explanations are just the tip of the iceberg. To get the full lowdown on the terms and how they’re connected, check out the video below.