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Torque vs. Horsepower: Which is More Important in Towing?

Posted at Mon, May 27, 2019 10:15 AM

When you hear about a vehicle’s power, you hear about two things most frequently: Horsepower and torque. Both power the vehicle in different ways and deliver different results. So whether you want a vehicle that has higher horsepower or better torque depends on what you want the most out of your driving experience.

Towing heavy loads requires a specific kind of power. Consider the mechanics of horsepower and torque to determine which is better for towing:

What Are Torque and Horsepower?

Horsepower is the metric that gets the most attention when it comes to determining the power of a vehicle – primarily because it influences the everyday driving experience more and most drivers don’t understand the technical specifics of torque. Horsepower will help a vehicle drive faster and get started from a stopped position faster.

Torque refers to the distance of the pistons in the engine. The farther the pistons move, the greater the torque the vehicle has. A vehicle with higher torque can take on more weight and move easily without revving the engine. Whereas, if you are relying on a vehicle with high horsepower with lower torque, you may be able to take on the load, but the vehicle will strain more and you’ll rev the engine high.

Think of it like the difference between a guy who wins an arm wrestling match in a quick slam down and one who wins after straining and grunting for several minutes. The vehicle with the higher torque will be able to tow the heavier loads with the quick slam down.

What Else Helps with Towing?

While torque may be the clear winner over horsepower in terms of improving towing capacity, there are other characteristics of a vehicle that also improve its towing ability. Having a longer wheelbase – the distance between the front and rear axles – will make it less likely that your tow load will weigh down the rear of the vehicle. A rear-wheel drive system will give you more oomph when you are towing heavy loads. You should also look for a vehicle that has stronger suspension and a body-on-frame chassis design, which will provide more strength when towing heavy loads.

If you aren’t sure about how to evaluate and select these characteristics yourself, you can look for a diesel truck with great torque and add on a towing package.

One of the friendly specialists at Tim’s Truck Capital can help you find the perfect truck, SUV, or other vehicle to meet all your needs. We can help you find a vehicle that will easily haul the type of loads you expect to two, as well as meet the other requirements you have, including passenger capacity and convenience features. We’ll help you find it all at a price you can afford, and our finance specialists can help you find the terms to make it fit into your monthly budget. Visit us today to explore your options and find your ideal vehicle today.

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