Q:

What is "torque" in cars?

A:

Quick Answer

Torque in cars is a measure of how much turning force the engine can provide, which indicates how fast the car can accelerate. Cars with more torque have an easier time reaching higher speeds, towing heavier loads, moving from stand-still and climbing hills.

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Full Answer

A vehicle whose engine provides 400 pound-foot of torque has the equivalent turning force of someone applying 400 pounds to a foot-long wrench. In vehicles, the torque provided by the engine is either multiplied or reduced by the gear ratios in the transmission. Lower gears multiply the torque for better starting acceleration and towing power while higher gears reduce the torque to save fuel and boost economy. This is why it is easier to pass a car or move from stop in a lower gear regardless of how much torque the car officially has.

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