For many readers, knowing horsepower is easy; the bigger the number, the faster you go. Torque, nevertheless, is a figure that underlies horsepower. As soon as you understand what it is, and its relationship to horsepower, you'll find it an equally important number to know.

If you remember your high school math course, you might remember that power is the speed at which work is finished. In a car engine, the energy generated is known as horsepower.

He did not. However, he did invent numerous different things, including the concept of horsepower.

In 1782, a sawmill ordered an engine from Watt's company to replace 12 horses. Watt used data from the sawmill to see that a London draft horse could work at a speed of 22,000 foot-pounds per second in an eight-hour moment. Just to be safe, Watt increased the figure by 50 percent. He explained one horse's capability as the capability to move 33,000 pounds one foot per minute or 550 pounds one foot in one second.

To ascertain how much horsepower a motor has, automakers use a dynamometer, which measures the twisting force created by the engine's crankshaft at different speeds, or revolutions per minute (RPM). In fact, but the dynamometer is not measuring horsepower. It is measuring torque.

Torque is the twisting force brought to an object. You do it all the time. Eliminate a twist-off cap out of a soda bottle; you have applied torque to do it.

Once the engine torque is determined, a mathematical formula -- torque multiplied by RPM and divided from 5,252 -- is used to ascertain horsepower. Torque can be scientifically measured; horsepower cannot.

Remember, torque is the sum of force attracted to an object; horsepower is the pace at which it is implemented. How they work in your car is dependent on the gearing of an automobile's transmission, differentials, and axles.

Think about both a pickup truck and a sports car with a 5.0-liter V-8 and the same horsepower rating. A pickup truck is going to be geared lower in order that more torque is available at low speeds for hauling and towing. Rather, the torque is used to get the sports car through its gears as fast as possible.

Knowing this, you can tell if or not a vehicle's powerplant has a great deal of grunt down low for hauling or is just one that's highly strung for speed. The Ford F-150's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine features a torque rating of 420 pound-feet at 2,500 rpm, making it perfect for towing because of the torque peaks at a mere 2,500 rpm. By contrast, torque at a sports car typically peaks at higher rpm; rev the engine and you get more speed, not towing ability.

In the long run, torque makes a big difference not only in how the car feels, however it functions. Know the numbers, and you know what you are in for the next time you test-drive a car or truck.