What Is Torque In A Car And How Does It Works In Different Transmissions

Have you ever wondered what helps your car go fast on the motorway or when climbing a steep slope smoothly? The answer to this question lies in torque, which is a crucial concept in the world of mechanics. Torque measures the twisting force that rotates the wheels and propels the car forward. In this blog, we will dive deep into what is torque in a car, its working principle, benefits, and other crucial elements of this fundamental concept. Whether you are a seasoned motorhead or enjoy the freedom of the open road, this guide will help you gain a deeper understanding of torque in a car, how it works in different transmissions and the differences between torque and horsepower helping you get the most out of your driving experience.


What Is Torque in a Car?

Torque in a vehicle is a measure of the engine's rotational force, which is transmitted to the wheels to propel the car forward. It is the twisting force that is produced when the engine applies a force to the crankshaft, which in turn rotates the wheels of the car. This force is created by the engine and delivered to the wheels via the transmission system, which includes components such as the clutch, gearbox, drive shafts, and differential.

You can feel the torque as a sudden push in your seat as you accelerate down the road. It is what allows the car to climb hills and tow heavy loads. It is a crucial component of a car's performance and is what gives drivers the feeling of power and control when behind the wheel.

How Does Torque Work in a Car?

Torque works like a push. The engine produces the power to twist the crankshaft when you accelerate, which then turns your wheels and propels you ahead.

For example: Imagine you are pushing a hefty box across the floor. The stronger you push, the more torque you generate. Torque is like such a push. Except instead of your muscles, the engine does the hard work. So, the more torque your vehicle has, the easier it is to accelerate and navigate those steep routes. Torque makes driving enjoyable and effortless.

So, how much torque does an engine produce? The engine in normal cars produces between 100 - 140 lb. Ft of torque. It typically functions like the engine's heartbeat, sending power to the wheels through the gearbox and the drivetrain.

How is the Torque Measured in the Car?

Torque is measured in pound-feet (lb-ft) or Newton-meters (Nm), which provides a standardised metric for analysing an engine's rotational force. The formula is Torque = Force (F) x Distance (r) perpendicular to the force's line of action: T = F x r. Torque is often measured using a dynamometer, which is a specialised equipment that imparts resistance to the rotating wheels, allowing for exact evaluation of the engine's torque distribution. This measurement is a vital indicator of performance that influences car engine design and development.

Torque in Different Engine Types

Understanding torque in different engine types will help you better understand the performance of different vehicles. The following table explains how torque changes across diesel and petrol engines, electric vehicles and hybrid car engines.

S.no Engine Types Explanation
1 Diesel Engine Diesel engines provide a lot of torque because of their high compression ratios, which makes them excellent for heavy-duty activities like hauling and climbing steep grades.
2 Petrol Engine Petrol engines need spark plugs to start fuel, and thus create less torque than diesel engines. They are better suited to applications that do not require considerable torque.
3 Electric Engine Electric cars use electric motors that generate full torque quickly, resulting in rapid acceleration from a standstill. The use of reducers optimizes power distribution to the wheels, adding to the excellent performance of electric vehicles.
4 Hybrid Engine Hybrid engines combine a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor. In petrol hybrids, the electric motor may produce torque comparable to an EV, improving fuel efficiency and performance at lower speeds.

Importance of Car Torque

The importance of torque in cars extends to many elements of vehicle performance and functionality. High torque allows cars to perform well in towing big loads, climbing steep hills, and providing quick acceleration. It defines the driving experience by adding to the vehicle's overall speed, capability, and adaptability. Furthermore, torque plays an essential role off road, where the capacity to create significant rotating force is required for overcoming challenging conditions and hurdles.

Benefits of High Torque in The Engine

High torque is a feature within vehicles that many drivers prefer since it provides several benefits. It relates to the engine's rotational force, and a larger torque indicates that the engine can exert more force on the wheels, particularly at lower speeds. Here are some of the major advantages of high torque in vehicles:

1. Improved Acceleration: High torque enables cars to accelerate fast from a stop or at low speeds.

2. Enhanced Towing Capability: Vehicles with high torque can haul huge loads more easily.

3. Better Off-Road Performance: High torque assists cars in overcoming off-road problems by delivering the power required to climb hills, travel through mud or sand, and overcome barriers.

4. Increased Driving Confidence: With strong torque, drivers might feel more secure in the vehicle's ability to respond swiftly and smoothly to throttle commands.

5. Fuel Efficiency: High torque can help to increase fuel economy. Because the engine does not have to work as hard to generate the necessary power, it can run more efficiently, resulting in improved fuel economy.

6. Better Performance at Altitude: In places with high elevations, where air density is lower, engines with high torque may sustain performance more effectively compared to those with lesser torque.

How Torque Works in Different Transmission?

Torque is the twisting force that an engine produces, and it's what makes your car accelerate. How this force is transmitted to the wheels depends on the type of transmission you have. The following table will tell you how torque is affected by different types of transmission in your car:

Transmission Type Aspect Torque Function Pros Cons
Manual Transmission Gear Shift Lever The driver manually chooses gears using the clutch and gear lever.
  • Direct control.
  • Simple design.
  • Better for towing
  • Requires driving skills
  • Can be exhausting in busy traffic
CVT (Continuously Variable) Variable Pulley Adjusts the pulley width to continually modify the gear ratio.
  • Smooth acceleration.
  • Improved fuel economy.
  • Limited torque capacity.
  • Can feel separated from the engine.
DCT (Dual-Clutch) Clutch Packs Pre-selects the next gear for smooth changes.
  • Quick change
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Sporty driving experience
  • Can be choppy at low speeds.
  • Requires sophisticated maintenance.
AMT (Automated Manual) Actuator and Clutch Automates manual gearbox with computer-controlled clutch.
  • Cheaper than standard automatics
  • More fuel-efficient.
  • Poor response times
  • Sudden Shifts
Tiptronic Transmission Manual Override Allows for manual shifting in automatic gearbox.
  • Improves driver control
  • Suitable for performance driving
  • Less efficient than DCT or CVT.
  • Limited manual control.
DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) Dual Clutch System Similar to DCT, but quicker shifts.
  • Quick and smooth shifting
  • Fuel-efficient.
  • High repair costs.
  • Potential dependability difficulties.
Traditional Automatic Torque Converter Converts motor torque into hydraulic pressure.
  • Smooth shifting Easy to drive
  • Lower fuel efficiency
  • Power loss owing to fluid coupling.

Turbochargers and Torque

Turbochargers are like the ultimate boost button, increasing performance and torque just through a puff of exhaust gas. Continue reading to understand how these turbochargers increase torque output, their benefits, and limitations.

How Does Turbochargers Boosts Torque Output?
Benefits of Turbochargers
Limitations of Turbochargers

Differences Between Torque and Horsepower

When it comes to Torque and Horsepower, people often get confused, but not anymore. The following table explains what exactly Torque and Horsepower are. And if you may ask, why it is necessary to know about the differences, understanding the difference between torque and horsepower is critical when analysing a vehicle's performance. Torque determines the force required to move a vehicle and is vital for towing and hill climbing. Horsepower is related to overall performance and maximum speed potential.

Aspect Torque Horsepower
Definition Torque is the rotating force imparted to a vehicle's wheels. Horsepower is a rate at which work is done or energy is transferred.
Symbol Represented by lb-ft or N.m. Hp (horsepower)
Measured by Measured with a Dynamometer, which shows the engine's twisting force. Uses a Dynamometer to reflect the overall power output of an engine.
Importance It determines a vehicle's towing and acceleration capacity. It is a crucial metric that indicates a vehicle's top speed and overall performance
Formula Torque = Horsepower/Engine Speed Horsepower = (Torque x RPM) / 5252
Relationship Higher torque often leads to faster acceleration and greater towing capability. Higher horsepower leads to a higher top speed and faster acceleration.
Role in Driving Plays a vital role in tasks like towing, climbing, and off-road driving. Plays a vital role in high-speed performance and racing

FAQs of Torque in Cars

1. What cars have engines with less torque?

Cars with smaller engines or eco-friendly hybrids, usually have lesser torque. These vehicles prioritize fuel economy and pollution over sheer power.

2. Which cars have high-torque engines?

Torque-rich engines are commonly seen in trucks, SUVs, and high-performance sports vehicles. These vehicles are built to haul huge loads, climb steep hills, and accelerate quickly.

3. Should I consider torque outputs while purchasing my next car?

Yes, torque outputs are crucial to consider when purchasing a car, especially if you have specific driving requirements. If you need towing capacity or want to accelerate quickly, a car with plenty of torque is an excellent choice.

4. Does torque impact fuel economy?

Torque can have an impact on fuel efficiency. Cars with more torque tend to burn more petrol, especially when driven aggressively. However, contemporary engine technology and efficient designs can reduce this impact.

5. What happens if the torque is too high?

If a car's torque is too high for its design, it can cause problems such as wheel spin, excessive tire wear, and stress on the drivetrain components. It is critical to balance torque with other variables such as vehicle weight and traction control systems.

6. Which is better: torque or power?

Neither torque nor horsepower is inherently good; they serve distinct objectives. Torque dictates a vehicle's hauling and towing capacity, whereas horsepower represents its speed and overall performance. The best balance relies on your driving style and needs.

7. What is the torque formula or how is torque calculated?

The Formula of Torque in a car is Torque = Force x Lever Arm (Perpendicular Distance)

8. What is Torque Unit?

The torque unit in a car is commonly measured in pound-feet (lb-ft) or Newton-meters (Nm), and it represents the amount of twisting force generated by the engine.


Understanding what torque is in a car is critical to unlocking the secrets of its performance. Torque improves a vehicle's ability to do challenging tasks such as pulling, climbing, and accelerating. Whether you are navigating city streets or heading on off-road trips, remember that torque is your trusty companion, delivering the rotational power required to overcome every obstacle. Just like Torque, Warranty Direct's car warranty is a reliable partner for your car. We stand out as a reliable partner by providing comprehensive extended car warranty coverage that promises peace of mind on the road, allowing you to enjoy your driving adventures to the fullest. So, the next time you take the road, remember the importance of torque and the assistance of reputable warranty providers like Warranty Direct.

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