What's the difference between big block vs. small block engines?

Big block engines have more metal and more or larger cylinders. They tend to produce more power and torque because of their weight. Small blocks are just that — small or smaller than big blocks. While small block engines still have metal and cylinders, they are typically smaller and fewer in number. Because of this, they tend to produce less power and less torque, but they're also less expensive and easier to maintain.

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Big block vs. small block pros and cons

When you're considering whether to get a small block engine or a big block engine, you'll need to look at power, torque, weight, and maneuverability.

Pros of big block engines

Big blocks have long been considered synonymous with power. Even though they don't always have more power than small blocks, that's still the general perception. Before you buy a big block engine, it's good to know what you're getting into.

  • More power: Big block engines often have more and larger cylinders, translating into more and larger explosions. These crank the engine harder and faster, generating more power.
  • Heavier: There's more metal in big blocks. More material means more weight.
  • More torque: A big block engine's heavier weight and extra power produce more torque, driving the vehicle's wheels into the pavement and allowing it to get more traction from the power generated by the engine.

Cons of big block engines

  • More expensive to fix: Vehicles with big block engines are often pushed harder and can be cause severe engine damage and be more expensive to repair.
  • Use more fuel: Because big block engines have more and larger cylinders and can generate more revolutions per minute (RPMs), they also typically use more fuel than smaller engines.

Pros of small block engines

Though they may not be as closely associated with power, small block engines have benefits of their own.

  • Lighter: Small block engines have less metal than big block engines, and less material means less weight. This can make a vehicle lighter, quicker, and easier to handle.
  • Less expensive to fix: Because small block engines are lighter and have fewer cylinders, they often have fewer parts to maintain and can often be cheaper to repair or replace.
  • More fuel-efficient: Fewer and smaller cylinders mean fewer and smaller explosions, with less fuel required for each revolution, making them more fuel efficient.

Cons of small block engines

  • Less powerful: Small block engines have fewer and smaller cylinders, which usually means less horsepower and less torque.

Should you buy a big block vs small block engine car?

Before you buy a new car, it's important to know the difference between a big block and a small block engine. You don't always get to choose what type of engine you want for a particular vehicle but knowing how big block and small block engines compare can help you find the right vehicle for you. And once you find the right one, consider car insurance coverages before heading out on the road.

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