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RocketSquid's avatar

Does hard acceleration actually help some cars?

Asked by RocketSquid (3465 points ) August 21st, 2012

I consider myself a fairly casual driver; I accelerate slowly, don’t go terribly fast and rarely push my car over 3k rpm.
I’ve noticed, on the rare occasion I have to floor my ZX2, that for a while afterwards she seems to run a little bit better. I’ve noticed lower RPMs, the minor idling rough issue disappears for a bit, and I just __feel__ like I’m getting better performance out of the car. What would cause this? Should I do it more often? Or is there some bigger underlying problem I should look into?

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6 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t know if it works like that for cars. But if you remember 2 cycle engines in snowmobiles and dirt bikes if the plug started to foul the answer was open the throttle wide open and clean it out. It was rough and fast, but it worked.

wilma's avatar

I remember my husband telling me that I drove to conservatively and that sometimes he needed to take the car out and “burn the carbon out of it”. I thought that it might just be an excuse to drive fast but maybe not?

Coloma's avatar

I have always been under the impression that really opening up a car, is a good thing. I drive a luxury sedan and live in a rural area with lots of hills and I drive my car HARD.
“Silver” has never failed me yet, he is at 80k miles now and yes, I think that pushing high performance is a good thing.

Hi Ho Silver awaaaay!

I like my cars like my horses, fast and highly responsive. lol

jerv's avatar

It does help to burn off the deposits in the engine, including plug fouling.

My ‘85 Corolla, like the ‘87 Corolla I had before, is particularly prone to running a bit rough, partly from high mileage (249k) but mostly from a lack of electronics; no injection, no solid state ignition, just an old-school carb and a distributor. However, that doesn’t mean that newer cars don’t benefit from occasionally being pushed.

Fun fact; most cars produce peak power somewhere between 4500 and 6000 RPM (depending on the car), and twin-cam models often produce peak torque somewhere between 3000 and 5000 RPM (again, depending on the car) while single-cams produce peak torque a bit lower, often somewhere around 1800–3000 RPM. The peak torque is important as peak torque is where the peak volumetric efficiency is, which…

Well, long story short is that, since most people are afraid to operate their engine at anywhere near the RPM where if burn fuel most completely and efficiently. They seem to think that high RPMs are always wasteful and/or harmful to the engine and thus drive conservatively enough to cause more harm to their engine than they would if they drove it using the full performance envelope.

@wilma You probably are one of those types. Either put a little lead in that foot, stock up on engine cleaner, or plan on engine issues down the road. My ‘yota didn’t last so many miles and stay running so strong by allowing crud to accumulate in it!

wilma's avatar

@jerv I suspected as much. I won’t be admitting that to my husband, but I will take the ol’ grocery getter out and “burn out the carbon” the very next time I get the chance.

jerv's avatar

@wilma It doesn’t take much. Just darting up the on-ramp to I-5 or decisively passing somebody who thinks doing 55 in the left lane is wise is all out takes for my little rig.

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