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What is torque, and how does it differ from horsepower?

© Maksim Toome

Torque has a big contribution in the way the car feels and performs. To understand torque, you need to understand horsepower. Once you learn this concept, you can then learn about the relationship between torque and a horsepower.

What is horsepower?

Power is denoted as the speed at which a task is performed. In terms of a car engine, this generated power is called as horsepower. 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Arizona is a heavy-duty power machine. It adjusts transmission shifts to lessen shift cycling at the time of hauling or towing heavy loads. This car comes with a capacity to tow a maximum of 14,400 lbs with average Vortec TM six liters V8.

What is torque?

Torque is defined as a twisting force that is applied to an object. On determining the torque of an engine, it is multiplied by RPM or rotations per minute and divided by “5,252”. This calculation determines horsepower.

How does torque differ from horsepower?

Both horsepower and torque play a very important role in the entire automotive market. The numbers are highlighted as a means to illustrate what a truck or a car can do. In real sense, the way these numbers functions while hauling and driving are defined by the way how the design of the vehicle enables horsepower and torque to work together.

Torque is defined as the base for work, and horsepower is the degree of performing more work. The greater horsepower generated the greater torque potential is made available by the engine. It should be noted that you can scientifically measure torque but you can’t measure horsepower.

Torque potential is interpreted to real-world uses through the axles and transmission of the vehicle. The means by which these units are geared helps in the effective determination of how the horsepower will get deciphered to torque.

How does torque in a race car differs from that of tractor?

The race car generates immense amount of horsepower, and the torque is primarily used for speed via gearing. There is not much work required to push a race car in the forward direction. This results in less accomplishment of work and leaves more horsepower for speed.

A tractor can have an engine bearing the same size and generating the same quantity of horsepower. This horsepower is used for performing work via gearing. The tractor is not able to attain high speeds, but can easily push and pull loads of weight easily.

How does automobile manufacturer calculate horsepower?

To determine the level of horsepower that is contained in the engine of a car, automobile manufacturers make use of a dynamometer. This device measures the twisting force that is generated by the crankshaft of engine at different revolutions per minute and speeds. In reality, the dynamometer does not calculate horsepower. Instead, it measures torque of a car engine.


There is a relation between torque and horsepower. Both of them can’t exist without one another, but they are important for varying aspects of making a truck or car work.