Q: What is a v6?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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The two most common types of car engines are V6 engines and 4-cylinder engines. V6 engines are often more powerful for a number of reasons. This article will explain the basics of V6 engines.

A car engine uses pistons to help convert fuel into usable energy and make the car go. The pistons are enclosed in cylinders and move up and down on the crankshaft and help control the air/fuel mixture. This mixture is ignited -- either by a spark or compression -- causing it to combust in the cylinder. This combustion powers the engine. While 4-cylinder engines have the pistons arranged in a line, 6-cylinder engines usually have them arranged in a V shape. For this reason, 6-cylinder engines are often called V6 engines.

V6 engines have been around almost since the beginning of the auto industry. The first V6 engines were developed in 1905, but the engine style did not become popularity until the late 1950s, when racecars began to use V6 engines.

V6 engines can provide more power to a vehicle than 4-cylinder engines because, by and large, more pistons can more easily convert more fuel into useable energy. In the past, these engines have been criticized for poor gas mileage and greater emissions into the air. However, modern technology allows V6 engines to run cleaner and achieve better fuel economy than ever. It's not unusual to find a V6 engine powering the typical American family car.

There are several advantages to a V6 engine.

-- The V6 is a compact engine design. It requires less space in your vehicle than a 4-cylinder engine or an inline 6-cylinder engine.

-- A V6 engine tends to be more powerful than the 4-cylinder engine -- allowing your car to accelerate more quickly -- and it tends to get better fuel economy than a V8 engine.

-- V6 engines are quieter than 4-cylinder engines. You can get a lot of power out of this engine without making a lot of noise.

A V6 engine is a powerful but compact engine. If you're trying to find a good balance between good power and good fuel economy, a V6 may ideally fit your needs.

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