What Is Displacement in Cars?

During the operation or when a car is running, the engine’s pistons suck a certain amount of air. With sucking of air, pistons move up and down in a cylinder, and the sucked air is known as what is displacement in cars. The pistons move and up and down in the cylinder of the engine as a response to the crankshaft.

To determine the displacement amount, it is essential to know the total number of pistons and the liters of the engine. When you divide the liters of engine with the total number of pistons, you have your value of displacement.

What is Displacement in Cars?

Recognize the displacement in an engine since it helps in determining various other factors. The displacement directly influences the engine’s power output and fuel efficiency. Even in some countries, they tax a vehicle as per its displacement amount.

The tax is applied as per the displacement factor because it determines the horsepower and torque that an engine produces. The higher the number of displacement the more power it produces, and that means the more fuel it consumes. The lower amount of displacement means less fuel consumed, and hence it saves on the overall vehicle’s cost and maintenance amount.

What is displacement in cars
Displacement determines fuel air mixture in engine. Source: Road & Track


Even some buyers refer to the displacement factor before finalizing a vehicle for themselves. Those who want to be budget-friendly and don’t expect any supercar performance stick with slightly average displacement value. It is easy to understand that sports cars specifically determine the displacement value to give a direct idea of their performance and the engine’s operational power.

What Else? 

A high-displacement volume means the engine draws in more of the air and fuel mixture as the vehicle needs more fuel to give higher power. However ignition systems, valve train layout, and forced induction also determine the overall power of a vehicle, but displacement is the simplest method to find out. The bigger the engine is the more power it serves, and a smaller engine means a more efficient and cost-saving engine.

There are all kinds of engines available in today’s market that buyers can make their selection after exploring the wide range. The displacement a buyer should buy depends majorly on his budget. So if someone needs a car just for the office commute, he should prefer to a low-displacement engine. Someone who is enthusiastic about the advancement of the cars should go for a high-displacement engine. Plus one should always keep following Maintenance Tips by experts to recognize any possible problem with your car.

What is displacement in cars
Tax applies as per engine displacement. Credit: Getty


No matter if you are buying a car with high or low displacement, always test drive the car. The performance alone doesn’t matter because it is about the looks as well. Also, various brands and models provide a different feel. That is known only when you take the car for a test drive. So we hope we have explained “what is displacement in cars” well enough and you would find it helpful during your car selection.