- 1 What is BHP?
- 2 What is Horsepower (HP)?
- 3 How is HP measured in a car?
- 4 How is BHP measured?
- 5 Why do we measure cars based on BHP rather than HP?
- 6 What other things can shape a car’s performance?
- 7 Why should you know your car’s BHP?
- 8 So how do you do a BHP check of your car online?
- 9 What else can a BHP check show you?
- 10 Is BHP the only measure of a car’s potential speed?
Every driver will want to know a range of things before buying a car. One of the key selling points will often be how powerful the car is. A really useful indicator of any car’s power is the BHP or Break Horsepower.
The BHP will always be included in the handbook that comes with a car. However, this might not be easy to find. Also if you already own the car, you might not be able to find the handbook when you need it.
If you need to find out your vehicle’s BHP and can’t do so from your handbook, there are other options.
We have a BHP checker service that is available online which you can use quickly and effectively. It will give you an accurate figure for the power or ‘oomph’ a car can achieve.
Whether you own a car or are looking to purchase one, this short article will tell you everything you need to know about doing a break horsepower check.
What is BHP?
The BHP tells you how speedily any car can accelerate from zero miles per hour. Quite simply, the bigger BHP a vehicle can manage, the quicker it will go.
What is Horsepower (HP)?
This way of measuring power is older than motor vehicles – and that’s why the term mentions ‘horsepower.’ Horsepower is often expressed in short as ‘HP’.
The British engineer James Watt, who made a huge contribution to developing steam-powered rail engines, also studied power and speed. In his day, horses were the main ‘vehicles’ available and he based lots of his work on them. He worked out that an “average horse could do 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute.” This became the basis for working out horsepower with the rate of working of 33,000 ft.lb per minute being termed as 1 horsepower.
A century or so later when the first motor car engines were developed, it was decided to keep Watt’s definition of horsepower and apply it to the new vehicles too.
How is HP measured in a car?
To measure HP, you need to work out the torque of a vehicle. Torque is the twisting force that the engine produces. To get an HP figure for any vehicle, the speed and torque of the car need to be measured and multiplied together.
How is BHP measured?
There are differences between HP and BHP even though the idea behind both is similar.
It won’t surprise you to know also that HP and BHP are measured at different points in a vehicle’s engine. HP measures the power at the flywheel, while BHP is calculated at the engine crankshaft under specific conditions relating to acceleration.
The clue to understanding BHP is in the word ‘brake’. A brake is anything that will resist or slow down the motion of a moving shaft in a vehicle. This could be an electric motor or hydraulic pistons, and every car will have brakes of some kind.
In an engine, there can be many things which can act as a brake on an engine. An engine will lose its generated power due to friction and other factors in the gearbox, alternator, water pump, power steering pump, or a muffled exhaust system. All of these will impact the BHP a car can achieve. All of these things are brakes.
The amount of force required to stop the shaft from moving can be measured just like any other movement or power. This measurement is then converted to horsepower and that produces the BHP figure for a vehicle.
Brake horsepower is the figure that represents the power of a vehicle at the engine crankshaft, which is the best place to measure BHP accurately.
Why do we measure cars based on BHP rather than HP?
HP is not as good an indicator of the power of a car compared to BHP. This is because the output power delivered to the driving wheels is always less than the power output at the engine’s crankshaft.
In any motor vehicle, because of the different brakes in the engine, the amount of BHP is always bigger than the HP. An HP is just the amount of input power needed to run the car in total. The BHP is the pure and actual mechanical output power without losses. It only looks at the amount of energy left to power the car once other parts such as the gearbox, alternator and water pump have all been powered.
This means that a BHP figure is a much more accurate figure for the real power of the car. That’s why the BHP figure is more useful when checking the potential speed of a car and a BHP checker will use this figure.
What other things can shape a car’s performance?
The BHP is a really useful indicator of the power of a car’s engine, but it doesn’t give the whole story. Other things that will shape the power available to an engine include a car’s aerodynamics, weight, and body style.
These things will all be taken into account by a manufacturer when they decide the BHP of a model of vehicle.
Why should you know your car’s BHP?
Understanding the BHP of a car will help you decide if it is the right one for your needs. If you only need a car to travel within cities or towns where the speed limits are low, then a lower BHP will be ok for you. But if you have more extensive driving demands, like using motorways or going long distances, then a car with a higher BHP will be an advantage.
So how do you do a BHP check of your car online?
You can use this website to perform a BHP check of a car. This can be for a car you either own or that you are planning to buy.
All you will need to have to get the BHP of a car is the vehicle’s registration number. When you put this number into our BHP checker, then the data on the car will be produced. This will give you the accurate BHP figure for the vehicle you’re interested in.
What else can a BHP check show you?
When you run an online BHP check, our tool will also give you additional useful information about the car you’re interested in. This can include:
- When the car was built.
- How old it is.
- Whether its Road Tax is up to date.
- The type of Road Tax it is liable to be charged.
- If it has a current MOT to enable it to be driven safely.
If you’re planning on buying a new vehicle, all of these pieces of information will help you make the right choice. This information will help you avoid dishonest car sellers. It will also give you an indication of whether the price being asked is fair. These factors will also help you decide if the car you’re looking at is appropriate for your needs.
Is BHP the only measure of a car’s potential speed?
In continental Europe, two other measures are used which basically measure the same thing as BHP. These are Pferdestaerke, or PS for short, and Kilowatts (kW).
PS is a German measurement and one PS is about 98.6% of BHP so they are virtually the same.
Since 1992, the European Union has replaced PS as its official measure of vehicle horsepower with kW. A kilowatt (kW) of power equates to around 1.34 BHP.
It is easy to convert between BHP and either PS or kW, or vice versa. There are online tools available to let you do this quickly. All you need is a figure for either your BHP, PS or kW.