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June 2022

Horsepower and Torque: The Difference

Horsepower and torque: The difference

A vehicle’s two top performance metrics bandied about by car enthusiasts are horsepower and torque. You will find them peppered all over every vehicle’s spec sheet, animated and bolded in every comparison video online, and plastered several times in reviews. But only a handful of individuals truly know the meaning of each metric and the significant differences between them.

Knowing what horsepower and torque stand for is highly essential, whether you’re buying a brand-new or used car. Not understanding the differences between these two metrics can result in poor decision-making when you want to buy your next vehicle.

Horse and torque are part of the metrics that indicate how a car engine or transmission will perform. This alone shows that you shouldn’t take these metrics at face value. Therefore, analyzing them is highly crucial. This is where brushing up on the basics becomes essential.

What is Horsepower?

Horsepower is a unit measurement of power, defined as the rate via which a vehicle engine performs work – as generated by torque. In simple language, horsepower is an excellent indicator of a car’s speed. 

A vehicle’s horsepower depends on its rotations per minute (RPM) and torque. In many cases, your vehicle’s engine won’t be pushed until it accomplishes peak performance. This is why it is very rare for car engines to reach the listed number indicating their total horsepower.

What is Torque?

Torque is the force the rotational movement of your vehicle’s crankshaft generates. It is the primary reason the wheels of your car spin when you press down the gas pedal. It is the precise amount of force you apply to an object in a twisting motion.

As this force acts on an object, it translates automatically to work. Simply put, torque is your vehicle’s ability to perform work or a unit measure of strength.

Differences Between Horsepower and Torque

As you can see, the definitions of horsepower and torque are different, though intertwined. This is because one cannot do without the other regarding the overall performance of a vehicle’s engine. It must also be mentioned that the amount of horsepower and torque a vehicle has significantly affects the overall rate of the wear and tear the vehicle experiences.

They share two similarities: both metrics are essentially byproducts of your vehicle’s engine when you switch on the ignition and press the gas pedal. They are also involved in converting fuel and air within the vehicle’s engine into the energy required for your vehicle to move.

That being said, here are the significant difference between horsepower and torque:

1. Horsepower and Torque Measure Different Things

In simple words, torque is a method of measuring force, as mentioned earlier. But horsepower is all about the power the engine transfers to the vehicle’s wheels. This is mostly based on the weight of the vehicle, the distance the car covers, as well as the time it takes to cover that specific distance.

One of the simplest ways of calculating horsepower is to multiply torque, i.e., force, by rotations per minute.

2. Torque is Crucial for Towing; Horsepower Focuses on Performance

Torque should be your ultimate concern or target if you regularly haul campers, trailers, boats, etc. This is crucial as it helps to minimize strain on your vehicle while contributing positively to pulling the extra load.

Torque helps your vehicle start and even navigate hills. This makes it much more powerful and impactful than horsepower as it keeps your car engine running smoothly while hauling heavy loads. 

Vehicles with higher torques – such as heavy-duty trucks, etc. – may require a bit more time in order to accelerate. However, the low-end power nature of torque is responsible for making haulage possible in the first instance.

On the other hand, horsepower is all about the vehicle’s performance. Cars with high horsepower are primarily designed for car owners who want lots of power and speed under the hood. The higher the rating of a vehicle’s horsepower, the faster it will go relative to its overall size.

For instance, a sports car and a large sedan may share the same horsepower rating. However, the sports car will outpace the other vehicle simply because it is more compact or lighter. Vehicles with lots of horsepower also offer exceptional handling on the roads.

This does not imply that vehicles with higher horsepower ratings don’t need torque. They do; in fact, such vehicles rely heavily on torque. However, most vehicles nowadays are designed such that they have the perfect balance between horsepower and torque, which offers the best driving experience.

3. Horsepower and Torque Work Differently for the Acceleration of a Vehicle

As you press the gas pedal of your vehicle, there is a combination of horsepower and torque. But regarding how your vehicle accelerates, both metrics have unique functions. 

Summed up briefly, the primary job of torque is to ensure your car moves when you initially hit the gas pedal, i.e., accelerate. But when the vehicle is in motion, horsepower is left with the responsibility of getting you up to and efficiently maintaining speed for your drive.

4. Horsepower and Torque Have Different Impacts on the Fuel Efficiency

Everyone who desires to purchase a car will probably make fuel efficiency a vital factor to look out for.

Horsepower and torque have significant impacts on fuel efficiency but in different ways. For instance, the more horsepower a particular vehicle has, the faster it burns fuel, whether under standard driving conditions or on acceleration.

On the other hand, a vehicle with a low-end torque burns fuel slowly, depending considerably on your typical hauling and driving habits. This shows the different impacts both metrics have on any vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Amp Up Horsepower and Torque for Solid Performance

The importance of horsepower and torque when it comes to the overall performance of a vehicle’s engine cannot be overstated. However, knowing the considerable differences between these two performance metrics will go a long way in helping you make the right buying decision whenever you’re in the market for a new or used car.

This doesn’t imply that everything you know about a vehicle’s performance is all lies. Horsepower still matters a lot and continues to be an incredibly useful metric. The only thing is the disproportionate emphasis most people place on it. When you step on the gas pedal, what you generally feel is nothing but torque.

Shop Torques, Converters, and More at Gearstar

Looking to upgrade or replace your torque? Shop with us at Gearstar. We have a range of torques to choose from for Ford, GM, and Mopar transmissions.

For all other questions, send us a line through our online contact form or by phone. You may also check out our resources and support section for how-tos and more.

5 Causes of a Transmission Fluid Leak

5 causes of a transmission fluid leak

Have you ever wondered why a puddle of red fluid always seems to appear under your vehicle magically? There’s a big problem if you have noticed similar stains on your garage floor or driveway or keep refilling your transmission fluid. You have a transmission fluid leak that needs urgent attention. Ignore it, and you may be headed for a complete transmission failure!

The Importance of Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid, also referred to as ‘transmission oil,’ is the lifeblood of your vehicle transmission. Its reddish color makes it relatively easy to identify. The primary job of the transmission fluid is to lubricate and protect transmission components efficiently. 

If you have low transmission fluid levels or a leak, it may significantly affect the transmission’s overall performance. If ignored for a long time, it could cause crucial damage to those components. You will spend lots of money fixing the leak and then replacing the transmission oil.

What Causes a Transmission Fluid Leak?

A leaky transmission may be caused by a critical or minor issue you can tackle, either on your own or with the help of a professional auto mechanic. Whichever one it is, joking around with a problematic transmission is a mistake you should never make.

Here are the top common causes of leaky vehicle transmission:

1. Broken Seals

Automatic transmissions efficiently sustain hydraulic pressure via several different transmission seals. But over time, these seals get worn out and crack. This often occurs when the seals are constantly exposed to heat or high temperatures. It could also occur when too much transmission fluid floats within the system.

Therefore, if a transmission leak occurs due to broken seals, you may need to have several areas checked by an auto specialist. However, in most cases, mechanics find leaky seals in the output shaft or input shaft.

The mechanic may need to also examine the following transmission-reliant components:

  • The sensors
  • The transmission pan
  • The driveshaft
  • The shifter housing seal
  • The speedometer input seal
  • The plug seals
  • The tail housing seal
  • The valve body

2. Drain Plug/Transmission Pan

The drain plug or transmission pan is a durable component that will experience wear and tear over time. It is highly vulnerable to damage as it takes several daily hits from debris and loose rocks on the road while driving.

A transmission leak occurs when the transmission pan becomes punctured. It may also occur due to loose bolts or drain plugs. A leak will occur quickly if you drive on rough terrain and a big rock – or some other hard object – hits the transmission pan. You will usually notice this almost immediately, and your transmission starts losing fluid quickly.

It may take a while to notice smaller punctures or holes in your transmission pan. Leakage may occur if the bolt or drain plug is over-tightened until it strips or if they are not tightened enough. 

This problem usually occurs almost as soon as you change the transmission fluid. So, ensure the mechanic that will work on your vehicle is a professional. They will know the exact force to apply or use when tightening bolts, etc.

3. Transmission Pan Gasket Fails

The transmission pan gasket is a vital component of the transmission system. The gasket may get damaged due to a wrong alignment during a previous installation. It could also be damaged if exposed to high temperatures constantly or as a result of poor construction/manufacturing. Whatever the case, the outcome is a transmission that leaks its lifeblood.

The transmission pan gasket is affordable and easy to replace. Get a professional auto mechanic to replace the pan gasket as soon as possible. If you delay a little longer, more severe issues will crop up, requiring you to spend more resources to fix them.

4. Cracked Fluid Line

Most fluid lines of vehicle transmission are made from durable aluminum or steel. However, they’re prone to damage due to heat exposure or road debris. These could cause the fluid line to crack or even break completely, resulting in transmission fluid leakages.

5. Leakage of Torque Converter

The transmission fluid finds its way into the whole system via the torque converter. However, transmission fluid will leak if there is a crack anywhere on the body of the torque pump or the needle bearings are severely damaged.

This is a big problem and a complicated fix. Therefore, take your vehicle to the local mechanic. The only option, in this case, is to replace the torque converter.

How to Maintain Your Vehicle’s Transmission

Transmission issues are usually bothersome and expensive compared to other types of vehicle repairs. This is why knowing how best to take care of your vehicle’s transmission is vital.

Check Transmission Fluid Levels

Every now and then, check the levels of your transmission fluid as well as its overall condition. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s procedures in the owner’s manual before inspecting the dipstick. In some instances, you can only make these checks when a vehicle’s engine is running while some other vehicles’ engines must be off.

A Sweet Smell with Reddish Color is Good

Good transmission fluid should have a sweet smell and a reddish or vibrant shade of pink. However, it is not uncommon for the transmission fluids in some vehicles from specific manufacturers to be of a different color.

Get a Transmission Flush Every 30,000 Miles

If you need to top up the transmission fluid level, ensure you use the right and perfect kind, as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Create time for regular transmission flushes. Experts suggest performing transmission flushes every 30,000 miles.

Don’t Forget to Service the Coolant System

Make sure to service your coolant system from time to time. This ensures the proper functioning of your entire cooling system, which helps to cool the transmission fluid.

Opt for Certified Transmission Repair Annually

Another excellent maintenance habit you should learn is having a certified transmission repair expert look over your transmission. You can have this inspection performed at least once per annum. This is the easiest way to discover any hidden or unnoticeable transmission issues that can be nipped in the bud before it becomes serious and will cost you lots of money to fix.

Fixing a Transmission Fluid Leak to Prevent Failure

There you have it: the most common causes of transmission fluid leaks. Fooling around with a problematic transmission is a big mistake. It could result in complete transmission failure, which would cost you a lot of money to fix.

When you notice a transmission leak, find your way to the nearest auto mechanic shop to have your vehicle checked and fixed immediately.

Shop Gearstar

For more information on transmissions, parts, and how-to’s, visit Gearstar every week to see what’s new. Whether you’re flexin’ a GM, Ford, or Mopar, Gearstar has what you need! Contact us today or give us a call.

Fixing a Transmission: 6 Benefits of Hiring an Expert

Fixing a transmission: 6 benefits of hiring an expert

As a vehicle owner, the ability to do small maintenance tasks can save you a few dollars here and there. Installing a new car battery, adding oil, or screwing on an air filter are small tasks most car owners can do. However, it is another ball game when it comes to fixing a transmission and any parts associated with it. You’ll need the professional assistance of an expert.

Many car owners make the mistake of visiting standard auto mechanics or service centers. Although the average mechanic can easily handle simple transmission repairs, they don’t have the requisite tools for high-tech diagnosis of transmission problems.

If your transmission has a more serious issue, a standard auto repair mechanic may not be capable of handling it. You will still need to find a transmission specialist who knows the ins and outs of vehicle transmissions and can expertly and accurately diagnose its problems.

This will cost you 2x more money and precious time, which you should not trade for anything. In order to avoid these, you should always opt for a specialist anytime you have transmission problems.

The Advantages of Hiring an Expert for Fixing a Transmission

If you are still not too convinced about the importance of having a specialist work on your faulty transmission, these benefits would:

1. Repair Complexity

Transmission is one of the most integral and complex pieces of a vehicle’s system. Unlike the punctured car tire you can easily change or a small hose you can patch without breaking a sweat, transmission issues are usually complicated.

Transmissions are made up of multiple components and pieces, and each of these parts can easily experience problems. Moreover, transmission designs vary by model and make. 

Only a well-trained and experienced professional can swiftly give an accurate diagnosis of any transmission problem. Experts use industry-specific computer programs to tap into the computer system of a modern vehicle in search of accurate diagnoses of car issues.

Professional mechanics know how to run these computer programs efficiently. They also possess the necessary tools – which often reflect the complexity of transmission repairs – required to fix faulty transmissions.

2. Warranty Protection

At least two iron-clad warranties become functional here. First, having an expert perform transmission repairs helps protect your vehicle’s warranty. Secondly, most highly trained and experienced specialists offer their own warranties on transmission repairs.

This implies that in the rare or uncommon case the expert misses something during transmission repairs, you will be protected from paying out of your pocket for additional repairs.

Ensure you make inquiries, read, and fully understand whatever extended manufacturer warranty the mechanic offers before they start working on your vehicle.

3. Cost-Efficient

Fixing your transmission can be expensive, especially if you don’t have the ideal tools. You should not engage in such activity without the necessary repair components and tools.

Hiring an expert is the most affordable choice since they have all the right tools and repair components.

4. Eliminate the Stress of Repairs

It doesn’t even matter if you are an experienced Do-It-Yourself mechanic. The pressure of getting your vehicle running again in top-notch condition will subject you to a lot of stress.

For instance, you will spend lots of money – and time – tracking down the appropriate tools for fixing the defective transmission. Taking down, repairing, and re-installing a transmission is not a one-man job, i.e., you will require at least another pair of hands. You will need to call up a couple of your friends who also have time to kill and are willing to assist you in your repair quest.

As you can already see, the stress of doing it yourself is not worth it. The best way is to get an expert to check the transmission, give accurate diagnoses, and take steps to fix the issues for good.

5. Peace of Mind

Having an expert work on your vehicle’s transmission gives profound peace of mind. Maintaining a healthy transmission or repairing a faulty one will get you through adverse conditions such as off-road terrains, bad weather, etc.

A professional mechanic can easily detect the daily wear-and-tear issues transmissions undergo. They can fix these issues before they escalate into something significant and expensive.

6. Specialization

A car transmission expert is not the usual Jack-of-all-trades mechanic in many cases. An expert has undergone the proper training and is certified and knowledgeable at efficiently diagnosing high-tech transmission issues, especially in heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and vans.

They also have a better experience as understanding particular causes of transmission issues in specific vehicles is their forte. This is what you need if you value your time and money.

Quick Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Transmission Healthy

Keeping your vehicle transmission in tip-top shape on a daily basis is highly essential. Follow these quick tips that will help ensure your transmission remains healthy at all times:

Transmission Flushes

It is vital to change your fluids from to time. Having low fluids and not doing anything about it is a recipe for future transmission issues or difficulties.

Always address low transmission fluid as soon and as soon as possible. Avoid driving your vehicle when its transmission fluid is low or below the recommended level.

Replacing a seal is less expensive, can easily fix the problem, and save you lots of your hard-earned cash on repairs down the road.

Do Not Ride the Brake

You force your transmission to work even harder whenever you drive with your foot heavy on the brake pedal. Avoid doing this as much as possible in order to prevent transmission problems.

Use the emergency brake each time you park your vehicle on an incline. This helps to minimize stress on the parking lineage.

Always Stop Your Vehicle Completely Before Shifting from Reverse to Drive

Anytime you are in reverse, such as backing out of a particular parking spot, etc., ensure you stop your vehicle completely before shifting into Drive.

You must have experienced the dreaded ‘engine drop’ when you don’t stop before shifting gears. When you stop completely before shifting gears, it helps prevent the transmission from unwarranted strain.

Leave it to the Professionals

The benefits of hiring an expert for fixing a transmission cannot be overstated. You may be able to do minor fixes like changing your car tires, installing a vehicle battery, or even screwing on an air filter.

But when it comes to repairing a faulty transmission, leave it to the professionals. You will have profound peace of mind, protect your warranty, and have a specialist handle every complex issue on your behalf.

For more tidbits on transmissions, converters, controllers, and more, visit Gearstar each week. For any questions or inquiries, contact one of our professionals today. We would be glad to assist you, whether it be for a GM, Mopar, or Ford transmission. You may also visit our support page for resources and how-tos for installation tips, tricks, and more.

Replacing a Transmission: Is it Worth it?

Replacing a transmission: Is it worth it?

Experiencing transmission issues is inevitable as long as you are an active vehicle owner and user. However, the real challenge that you could face is making up your mind about repairing or replacing a transmission.

Each time your vehicle transmission shifts, gears, bands, and clutches within the mechanical system must apply and release so that the shift will occur. This strain occurs regularly and over time, resulting in extensive wear. This could, in turn, lead to some catastrophic or major transmission failure.

Repairing faulty transmissions is one of the costliest ventures you could make on your vehicle. This is why you need to ask yourself these important questions: “Is repairing the transmission worth it, or should you replace it? Is replacing the transmission even worth it?”

The truth is that there is no one straight or one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, repairing the transmission is a better and less expensive option unless your vehicle’s transmission breaks down prematurely.

When a vehicle attains a particular mileage count and age, it doesn’t really make much sense to get a new transmission. This is because the latter will be much more than the vehicle’s current worth.

A transmission breakdown in a relatively new vehicle will require immediate fixing. If you own a vintage automobile, repairing any transmission issues is the best bet.

Factors That Influence the Costs of Replacing a Transmission

The transmission of a modern vehicle is not one solid piece but a jumble of several moving parts. This is the primary reason fixing a vehicle’s transmission is more expensive.

Other factors that influence the overall costs of replacing a transmission include:

  • The age of the vehicle
  • The car manufacturer
  • Is the transmission manual or automatic?
  • Where are you getting the repairs to your vehicle?
  • Who have you quoted to perform the repairs on your vehicle?

These factors will influence your decision to replace or repair your transmission.

1. What is the current worth of your vehicle?

As mentioned briefly earlier, before you decide whether to replace your transmission, compare the cost of replacing it to the total (current) worth of the vehicle.

A brand-new transmission costs anything from $1,000 to $7,000+. Therefore, if the current worth of your vehicle ranges from $8,000 to $10,000, replacing the transmission will be worth it.

But if your vehicle is under or within the transmission range, it won’t make much sense to replace its transmission. The best way out is to scrap and sell off your vehicle in order to get a new car.

Moreover, the overall cost of replacing a vehicle’s transmission depends primarily on the type, model, or make you own. For instance, replacing the transmission of an exotic or luxury vehicle will cost you $10,000 or more. But that of a truck will cost up to $3,000, while a sedan’s new transmission does not usually cost more than $2,800.

2. How Much Will It Cost to Repair a Damaged Transmission?

You should get a well-detailed quote from an experienced mechanic. The quote should highlight how much it will cost you to repair the faulty transmission. If only the transmission troubles your vehicle – and no other component is involved – the quote should mention this.

Get the mechanic to perform an extensive examination of your vehicle in order to find any latent repair issues that need attention. This should be done before agreeing to fix or replace the transmission. The mechanic may come across something else that’s broken and requires fixing. If they do, get quotes for them, too.

It’s all about knowing precisely how much you’re expected to spend in order to get your vehicle up and running.

3. Does this vehicle still meet your needs?

You may have bought the car when you were still a bachelor. But now that you’re married with a couple of kids, the vehicle may not be the ideal one for you at the moment.

Find out if repairing the vehicle is worth it before selling it off and the price it commands. But set your mind on getting another vehicle that will capably meet you and your entire family’s needs. 

4. Is this vehicle well maintained?

The transmission is one of the components that easily go prematurely. In some cases, repairing the transmission will be worth it.

However, your maintenance procedure is key in this instance. If your car is not properly or well maintained, or you have poor driving habits, you may need to consider scrapping or selling off the vehicle.

But if you have always maintained the vehicle in pristine condition within and without, repairing the transmission may be worth it.

5. How Much Longer Do You Want or Intend to Keep This Vehicle?

Some vehicle owners drive their automobiles until they break down. This has significant financial benefits you should consider.

But if the vehicle has operated well all these years and only recently developed this transmission problem, ask how long you intend to keep this vehicle. Would you love to keep driving this vehicle for the next three years or more? If you answered in the affirmative, you should replace your transmission immediately.

You will get your money’s worth out of this brand-new vehicle transmission before selling off the vehicle.

If your automobile is still worth a lot of money, replace the transmission. You will still need to take this action whether or not you have decided to drive it or sell it off. No sane person will pay you a lot of money for a vehicle they can’t drive – since it has no transmission. Driving your vehicle is impossible without a transmission.

One primary advantage of replacing your transmission is the amount of money you will save. Another benefit is the automatic solving of every transmission problem you have encountered.

The Verdict?

As you already know, replacing a transmission is a costly repair job. When you have a major transmission issue, you should ask yourself this all-important question: “Is replacing the transmission worth it?”

Go through the reasons or questions highlighted above. This helps you make informed decisions after contemplating whether replacing the transmission is worth it.

For more updates on all things transmissions, visit Gearstar online every week. Browse our selection of high performance transmissions, converters and controllers parts, and much more! Regardless if you’re looking for the perfect custom transmission for GM or Mopar, we’ve got you covered. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us today and our experts will be glad to assist you with questions about our products. You may also check out our transmission support and resources section for additional help.