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What is Variable Valve Timing: An Overview

Although variable valve timing (VVT) has been widely used for several years, it’s often overlooked. This technology hidden beneath the surface of our vehicles drives the optimization of engine performance and fuel efficiency. 

In this blog, we’ll review the ins and outs of variable valve timing and its importance in the functionality of vehicles. 

What is Variable Valve Timing?

Variable valve timing is an automotive technology designed to optimize engine performance and fuel economy by properly adjusting when the intake and exhaust valves open and close based on the engine’s operating environment.

Why is valve timing important?

Imagine accelerating in your vehicle. You want to get up to speed quickly so you’re operating at high RPMs (revolutions per minute). At that moment, you probably care more about power than fuel consumption. Likewise, once you reach your cruising speed, you’ll want to use as little fuel as possible to keep the vehicle moving. Fortunately, variable valve timing adjusts how the valves operate based on the engine’s speed and loading conditions, so you get more power and better fuel economy.

How Does Variable Valve Timing Work? 

The goal of variable valve timing is to optimize engine performance. It uses a variety of mechanisms to adjust the camshaft’s timing and control the valve's opening and closing. The most common mechanism is the cam-phaser system. 

What is the Cam-Phaser System?

The cam-phaser adjusts the engine’s camshaft position relative to its crankshaft. This adjusted position advances or slows the timing in the engine based on whether you need acceleration and power or fuel economy

If you advance the timing at low engine speeds, the engine’s valves will open and close sooner, resulting in increased fuel economy and torque. On the other hand, if you slow or delay the timing at higher engine speeds, the power will be increased.


The Advantages of Variable Valve Timing – Why You Need It

Aside from always optimizing engine performance, there are several other advantages of VVT including: 

  • Maximum power output -- which is essential in performance-focused applications
  • Smoother idling -- that enhances the driver's experience, comfort, and noise in the vehicle
  • Reduced emissions -- to keep up with today's focus on eco-friendly alternatives
  • Improved torque -- when operating at low RPMs, VVT allows the engine to be more responsive
  • Fuel efficiency is enhanced -- VVT offers better fuel efficiency without sacrificing power, which is optimal in many applications

The Future of Variable Valve Timing

In a world filled with innovation and adaptability, manufacturing has to keep up. The automotive industry is continuously evolving to keep up with the demands. 

However, the tried and true method of variable valve timing still stands strong when optimizing engine performance and efficiency and is expected to continue in the future.

Unleashing the Power of VVT

If you're interested in learning the capabilities of variable valve timing, reach out to our highly experienced team at APG. 

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