Car Engine Performance

In the Engine Performance section, learn about horsepower, carburetors, the difference between turbochargers and superchargers and even how nitrous oxide boosts engine performance.


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Why is quality motor oil important?

Without frequent oil changes, dirt and sludge can build up in your car's engine. But when it's time for an oil change, why is it important to select a high-quality motor oil?

Is it safe to switch to synthetic motor oil?

There's a popular belief that switching between mineral oil and synthetic oil in your car's engine is a no-no. Some say it'll cause leaky seals and internal engine damage. So is it a myth or a reality?

Why would I upgrade to a synthetic motor oil?

It took researchers years to create quality synthetics that outperformed conventional oils, but there's little doubt that synthetics are now superior in most scenarios. What makes synthetic oil better?

Is premium gasoline really better for luxury vehicles?

If you own a luxury or performance vehicle, then you know how expensive it can be to fill the fuel tank with premium gasoline. But is this high-octane fuel really necessary in most cases?

Is anyone developing lifetime engine oil?

Lifetime fluids are developed to require little or no maintenance for the life of your vehicle. But, is anyone developing lifetime engine oil?

Turbocharger Pictures

Turbochargers increase engine performance without adding much weight. Check out this image gallery to see pictures of how they do it.

What if I pumped pure oxygen into my car engine instead of using the air in the atmosphere?

Engines need a certain amount of oxygen to make the car run. Exactly how much is needed? And if an engine used more, what would happen to the car?

What if I put a one horsepower engine into my car?

Most cars have a 120-horsepower engine, and SUVs have a 200-horsepower engine. But mopeds have a 1-horsepower engine, and they get great gas mileage, too. So why can't I put the small engine in the big car?

How Superchargers Work

Since the invention of the internal combustion engine, automotive engineers, speed junkies and race car designers have been searching for ways to boost its power. And they did, of course -- creating superchargers that make an engine more efficient by forcing air into the combustion chamber.

Inside Engines

Our engine roundup page page takes you straight to the power. See what's under the hood from the HEMI to the Wankel.

How do you convert engine torque to horsepower?

When you convert from engine torque to horsepower why is the number 5252 involved?

What makes NASCAR engines different from street car engines?

The engines in today's NASCAR racecars produce upward of 750 horsepower, and they do it without turbochargers, superchargers or particularly exotic components. So how do they make all that power?

What does it mean when a car has dual overhead cams?

What does it mean when a car has dual overhead cams? Does it matter? Is a car with dual overhead cams better than one with single overhead cams?

How Fuel Injection Systems Work

As concerns about vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency have grown, fuel injection systems have risen to the forefront of auto technology. Trying to keep up with new environmental laws, carmakers began installing these systems in all new models.

How Camshafts Work

The camshaft has a huge effect on engine performance. It helps let the air/fuel mixture into the engine and get the exhaust out. Learn all about the camshaft and how a new one can radically change an engine's behavior.

How Turbochargers Work

When people talk about race cars or high-performance sports cars, the topic of turbochargers usually comes up. A turbo can significantly boost an engine's horsepower without increasing its weight.

How do tuned intake runners work on your car?

I've heard about tuned intake runners for car engines that provide a kind of turbo-charging effect. How do they work?

How can I measure the drag on a car?

I have to think of a way of measuring how much drag is pushing on my mother's car as we are driving on the highway. Do you know how I can make one?

What's the best way to increase horsepower?

There are many different ways to create more horsepower from a stock engine. Learn about the different ways to make your engine more powerful.

Why do big diesel engines and race car engines have such different horsepower ratings?

So why does a diesel engine with huge torque and low maximum RPM get a low horsepower rating compared to a low torque, high revving race car engine? Find out why in this article.

How does a carburetor work?

The goal of a carburetor is to mix just the right amount of gasoline with air so that the engine runs properly. Learn more about how a carburetor in a gasoline engine works.

How does nitrous oxide help an engine perform better?

I'm always hearing people talk about pumping nitrous oxide into an engine. How does nitrous oxide help an engine perform better?

What is the difference between a turbocharger and a supercharger on a car engine?

Forced induction systems are one of the best ways to make lots of power, so which system is better? Turbochargers or Superchargers? Learn the pros and cons of both.

How do exhaust headers work to improve engine performance?

If you're planning to make more power from your engine. Switching to hi-performance exhaust headers are a good idea. Find out how exhaust headers work to improve engine performance.

What does the VTEC system in a Honda engine do?

Japanese automaker Honda is best known for their VTEC system. Almost all of their newer vehicles are equipped with VTEC engines. But what does it actually do and how does it maximize engine performance?