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The Real Difference Between 4, 6 And 8 Cylinders

Aug. 14, 2021

You probably understand the importance of your car's engine. Without a working engine, you won't get very far. But most of us don't know much about how vehicle engines work. When identifying your car's engine type, it usually comes down to the cylinders. So, what exactly is a cylinder? We'll go over this, as well as some other engine parts you should know about.

    

You probably already know that cylinders are an important part of your car engine. Whenever you look at a new car, the number of cylinders is usually located front and center. Most of us associate the number of cylinders with power, and there's nothing wrong with that. Car cylinders are a lot like the pot you use to cook your food. It's not the cylinder itself that is powerful, but what it holds. Car cylinders contain fuel. The more cylinders you have, the more fuel you can use at one time. It's the same with cooking pots and pans. You can cook 2 liters of soup in a 1-liter pot.


The cylinders are made of durable metal and are sealed at one end. The other end opens and closes. The cylinder has a tight-fitting piston that slides up and down, and two valves that open and close to let something in or shut everything out.

EURO II Vehicle Engine 6110 Series

EURO II Vehicle Engine 6110 Series


Intake valve - lets fuel and air into the cylinder (from the carburetor or injector)

Exhaust valve - allows exhaust gases to escape

Spark plug - it sits at the top of the cylinder and it creates a spark that ignites the fuel

Piston - it is located at the bottom of the cylinder and is attached to a shaft called the crankshaft

Crankshaft - it provides power to the car's transmission and drives the wheels

 

The real difference between 4, 6, and 8 cylinders


If you know only one thing about car engines, it's the difference between a 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, and an 8-cylinder. Since cylinders are like cooking utensils that hold fuel, the more you have, the more fuel you burn. When you have more cylinders, you create more motion to turn the crankshaft, which provides more power to the car. But as you may have discovered by now, more cylinders also means you'll burn fuel faster.

 

That's why faster or more powerful cars are almost always more fuel-efficient than most economy cars.


EURO I Vehicle Engine 4DX series

EURO I Vehicle Engine 4DX series   

  

But don't make the mistake of thinking that more cylinders equal a faster car. That's not always the case. In fact, most trucks use 6- or 8-cylinder engines - and the F150 won't win a race against a 6-cylinder sports car. More cylinders mean more power. Period. The design of the car dictates how that power is used.


In fact, it's the pistons in the cylinders that matter most. As you might imagine, the pistons are subjected to a lot of heat and pressure during all combustion processes. When the pistons are able to move with more force, the combustion will be more powerful and the car will move with more force. This is usually what we call turbocharging. Turbocharging works by adding air to the chambers. One of the most important benefits of a turbocharged engine is that the turbocharger does not fire continuously. It only fires when the driver is pushing for more power, which reduces fuel consumption.

 

When choosing a 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder engine, it's all about personal preference. If fuel economy is most important to you, you'll want an inline 4-cylinder engine. If you want to balance fuel economy and speed, consider a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Get pure power. 6 cylinder turbocharged engines may be right for you. In fact, the best way to determine which car is best for you is to take it for a test drive.


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