Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Cars

Peter Hollens
By Peter Hollens 4 Min Read

Cars have been around for a long time, but many people still have no idea what to look for when shopping for vehicles. Most beginners simply select the sleekest cars within their budgets and later regret their decisions. We don’t want you to fake your way through your conversation on vehicles, especially at the dealership. That is why we came up with this guide to understanding cars.

Engine Displacement

Engine displacement is the total capacity of the cylinders in the engine. It can be specified in terms of litres, cubic centimetres, or cubic inches. This feature is quite important as it determines the engine’s power output and the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. In some countries, the engine displacement would determine the taxes you pay on the vehicle.


In layman terms, the horsepower would be described as the speed at which the vehicle can move. It is the amount of power created by the engine as it turns fuel into energy. Higher horsepowers will be required for cars that need to run faster like lightweight sports cars. On the other hand, lower horsepowers are commonly preferred in larger vehicles that don’t need to run very fast. But you should note that there is no magic number for horsepower. The ideal horsepower will be determined by other factors.


Torque refers to the ability of the vehicle to perform work. It is the ability of the engine to pull the vehicle forward. This factor is closely related to horsepower, and they should always be considered side by side. The torque and horsepower can both be high, or one can be low while the other is high. In trucks, buses, and other large vehicles, the torque is usually high while the horsepower is low. On the other hand, in lightweight sportscars, the torque will be low while the horsepower will be high. The torque rating is usually presented as Nm.


When you rent or buy a vehicle, you will have to purchase insurance. With car rentals, the insurance would not be compulsory, but it will be beneficial in case you get an accident or damage the car in any way. Many rental companies offer insurance covers to their clients, but you can always choose to get more comprehensive secondary covers from companies like Car Hire Excess.


The transmission of your vehicle is another important factor to consider when choosing a car. It refers to the component of the car that distributes the torque and engine power to the drive wheels. Nowadays, the transmission can be manual, automatic, and continuous variable transmission. Manual transmission gives the driver full control of changing the gears, and automatic transmission provides a relaxed and convenient driving experience. The continuous variable transmission is just like the automatic transmission, except that you will no longer have to change the gears in order to increase or decrease the speed.


Buying or renting a car is not an easy process. You should make sure you get informed before you select a vehicle. Otherwise, the dealership will have an edge over you. Follow the guide above to find out what you should look for when selecting a car.

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Peter is full time blogger, writer and consultant provides tips, guides and articles related to lifestyle, automotive, tech, social media and business!
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