What Does a Car’s Torque Mean?

shifterDrivers generally know that horsepower determines how fast a car can go, but it isn’t the only determining factor when it comes to performance. Those who take the time to check out the specifications may find themselves asking “What does a car’s torque mean?” That’s a good question, and it turns out that torque is just as important as horsepower when it comes to power. Here’s a quick explanation of what torque does in a car.

At its very essence, torque is the ability to do work while power determines how quickly a certain point can be reached. Those two values hold true when it comes to modern engines. The math can be pretty complicated once you get into it. Don’t worry! We’ll be skipping the math and jump straight to the answers.

The number listed on a vehicle’s specifications page is how much torque the car’s engine can produce. As you may have guessed, larger engines produce more torque just as they produce more horsepower. The increase in torque is largely determined by how much air flows through the engine to be compressed with fuel to produce power.

Torque is what causes the car to accelerate, which means that the more torque, the faster the car. When checking out a performance car, make sure to look at both the torque and horsepower before making a decision!

Pay Attention to Your Vehicle Warning Indicator System!

dashboard lightsYour vehicle is equipped with a Vehicle Warning Indicator system. This is a technical term for all those little icons that light up in your dash. A few common indicators you should know are:

Check Engine

This could mean a routine maintenance task is needed. It may also mean that a sudden engine issue has arisen. When you see this light, get your vehicle in for an inspection immediately!

Coolant Temp

See a thermometer icon light up? You will probably notice your temperature gauge is rising as well. Your vehicle is overheating, a condition that could permanently damage your engine. Possible issues could be a faulty thermostat or a busted hose. Either way, get it checked out!


If your battery indicator lights up, there is possibly an issue with the battery, your alternator, or both. Most car parts stores will check the battery for free. Do it soon before you’re left stranded somewhere!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

This one is simple. At least one tire is low. Hopefully you’ve got a tire gauge in your glove box (if you don’t, get one!). Pull over somewhere safe and check your tires.

Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore their Vehicle Warning Indicators. If you do, you are losing out on a fantastic diagnostic/warning system that is designed for the sole purpose of protecting your vehicle and keeping it in top-notch shape.