It’s true, internal combustion engines or motors as some of us call them, run stronger in cold weather or cold air to be more precise. Have you ever noticed your car or truck engine seems to be peppier in cold weather? It is not magic, it is a basic scientific law.
The way this power increase occurs is that cold air is more “dense” with oxygen than warm or hot air. In reality cold air is heavier than hot air. How do you think “hot air” balloons work? Hot air rises, we all know that, meaning hot air is lighter in weight than cold air. Why do you think the air conditioner vents in a house should ideally be located the ceiling and heating vents located in the floor or baseboards. Hot air rises and cold air falls.
Since the cold air is has more oxygen, in effect when the air enters a cylinder there is more air and/or oxygen, to be more precise. Since cold air causes the molecules to shrink or compress, more (dense) cold air and/or oxygen actually has more ‘weight’ than hot air. When the cold air enters the combustion chamber of the head it produces more compression.
Superchargers and turbochargers work similarly to produce a similar effect by forcing more air into the combustion chamber of an engine, therefore boosting compression as much as twice the stock amount of compression, thus producing more horsepower. Colder air is like free horsepower.
When I was in my teens and lived in Washington DC, I loved the winters, my cars clearly had more power and ran stronger and crisper in the cold, especially before the engines heated up. It was actually fairly dramatic in terms of how much better the engines ran. Now that I live in Florida I’m surprised I even remembered that. It just happens to be cold for us today, about 50 degrees this morning. That’s cold for a Florida Boy.
Well, that is my Sunday morning piece of trivia. Trivial information such as this can be the ‘missing link’ to many questions that never seem to have an answer. The next piece of info I’m going to tell you about is anything but trivial. If you ever need a replacement engine of any sort for any car or truck, GotEngines.com has made a living out of outperforming the competition by adding non trivial value in all of our engines for sale. Call us anytime to speak with a courteous engine specialist. 1-866-320-1065.