The true nature of vehicle specifications

Car specifications represent maybe the most important vehicle technical data such as engine type and displacement, fuel system and type, car model and make, type of transmission, vehicle dimensions (length, width, height, wheelbase), top speed, acceleration, fuel tank volume, consumption of fuel, tire size etc. All this information is always (with an exception of some luxury one-off sports cars) provided by the manufacturer and could be found on the official website of the company and in the papers that come with the every purchased vehicle. In some cases, like an exhibition, some specs are displayed on the vehicle's front windscreen or put on a stand next to it.

It is important for every car owner to know the technical limits and capabilities of his/her vehicle in order to keep it up the best possible way. Basically, when displaying this data, manufacturers usually divide it into 3 categories which are construction, performance and operation.

The first one concentrates around vehicle's dimensions - height, width, trunk volume, wheelbase, length.

In “Performance” is put detailed information about the engine, transmission, speed, fuel system and economy and the rest of the parameters that give a glimpse of the what we must expect from a certain vehicle.

Last, but not the least important category, “Operation”, contains data of the trim level: infotainment system, upholstery options to choose from and similar.

Being familiar with each of the before-mentioned categories will help you understand you vehicle and its weaknesses, feel its movements better, and detect nascent troubles ahead.

Let's take a look at some of the most significant tech details from the specifications' long list - beginning with the engine, the heart and soul of every vehicle. There are several types of engines, based on the fuel the car uses.Petrol and diesel are the most often used. In the past decade, we've witness the birth of electric and hybrid vehicles. The first runs on batteries, while the second one combines a standard fueled engine with electricity. The engine displacement is another important metric that deserves our attention and is usually measured in cubic centimeters, liters or cubic inches (depending on the country where the car is on sale). Some manufacturers use size instead of displacement.

Another crucial element, taken straight from the specs sheet, is the transmission. Just like the engine, transmission type can vary, but the most common and widely known are the manual and automatic. Equipped with a manual, the car would the driver to switch gears by hand. On the other hand, with an automatic, it's the car's computer that changes the gears. The number of gears can vary, depending on the manufacturer and what the car is used for. Today, there are cars which come with a staggering 10-speed transmissions.

Torque is the next important criterion, found inside the specs' sheets. Measured in Nm (Newton meters), torque is described as the force, produced by the rotation of the engine's crank.

Drivetrain can simply be described as all the assembling components, that distribute power to the wheels. There are three separate types of drivetrain - front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

Sometimes, people choose their car based on the suspension. When looking at the sheets of vehicle data, we could not but notice that manufacturers divide it into front and rear. Also, suspensions are divided into three categories: independent, dependent and semi-dependent. Each car manufacturer has developed its own type, in accordance to the vehicle's needs.

The volume of the fuel tank defines the largest amount of fuel the car can store. This parameter can help us when planning a trip and calculating the needed quantity, as well as the total cost.

Author: Diyana Ilieva

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