When shopping for a new car, people tend to think about the type of car, the make, and added touches like the color and special features. One thing that might not come to mind is the configuration of the engine. This is a significant factor that you should definitely emphasize when looking for a new car. Perhaps the biggest element to consider when deciding on which engine configuration is right for you is the number of cylinders. This typically comes down to a 4-cylinder vs 6-cylinder engine. To help you decide which is right for you, let’s take a look at the difference between 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines.

What’s a 4-Cylinder Engine?

To understand the difference between 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines, it helps to know more about what the cylinders do. Inside a car cylinder is a piston. The internal combustion process that has powered cars for over a century activates inside the cylinders. Here’s how the cylinders work:
  • The fuel pump sends gas into the fuel injectors.
  • Each fuel injector sprays fuel into a cylinder, the amount varying according to how much power is needed at that moment.
  • A small explosion powered by the gas in the cylinder moves the piston inside.
  • The pistons move the crankshaft to power the engine and make your car move.
So what does 4-cylinder mean? It’s as simple as it sounds: There are four cylinders in the engine. That means there are four pistons, four fuel injectors, and four cylinders powering the car. The benefits of a 4-cylinder engine include:
  • 4-cylinder engines tend to be fuel-efficient and are a great buy if you are looking for a small and reliable car.
  • 4-cylinder engines have less of an impact on your carbon footprint than a 6-cylinder engine.
  • 4-cylinder engines are commonly found in smaller, compact cars, which are easier to maneuver and park.

What’s a 6-Cylinder Engine?

The answer to this question should seem even simpler now that we have defined a 4-cylinder engine. A 6-cylinder engine has six cylinders powering it. That means six of everything, including pistons and fuel injectors. So 6-cylinders vs 4-cylinders are distinguished by the amount of available power. People commonly choose 6-cylinder engines for the following:
  • 6-cylinder engines are higher performing engines and are usually found in sports cars and automobiles that need to perform with more power.
  • 6-cylinder engines are best used in vehicles with large engines, which can help you two higher weight loads.
However, keep in mind that 6-cylinder engines in older cars are often outperformed by newer 4-cylinder models, so it’s best to check the horsepower before you purchase.

The Takeaway: So What’s the Difference Between a 4-Cylinder and 6-Cylinder Engine?

Knowing the difference between a 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engine is one thing. Knowing which one would be right for you is another. Whenever you are looking for a new car, you need to ask what you need from the vehicle. Are you looking for great fuel economy for your commute, or are you looking for more power and performance for either business or pleasure? Knowing these answers will help you make the best choice for your situation. The key things to keep in mind when thinking about 6-cylinder vs 4-cylinder engines are:
  • In general, you will get more fuel economy from a 4-cylinder engine.
  • You will typically get more power and performance from a 6-cylinder engine.
  • If you are in the market for a smaller car, you will likely have a 4-cylinder engine.
  • For towing, 6-cylinders would be the way to go.
We say these things in somewhat loose terms because, as previously mentioned, the newer the engine, the more refined the performance and efficiency are likely to be. Once you’ve made your choice, it’s important to schedule regular maintenance to keep your vehicle performing at its best, whether it’s a 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder. Automobiles might seem complicated, but by learning just a little bit about your car, you can learn better ways to take care of it. That’s why Cascade Collision is here to help! If you are ever in a car crash in Utah County, be sure to contact your nearest Cascade Collision location. We specialize in auto repair and can help your car look just like new, no matter how many cylinders it has.