Learn All About: Cylinder Deactivation and Fuel Economy

By Product Expert | Posted in Chevrolet, Technology, Tips and Tricks on Friday, January 26th, 2018 at 5:48 pm
the words Explore the Advantages of Cylinder Deactivation with a V-6 EcoTec3 engine from Chevrolet in 2014

If you are looking for a new or used truck, or are exploring some of the latest new engine options in vehicles ranging from heavy-duty pickups to midsize sedans, you may be seeing the term “cylinder deactivation” bandied about. But what is cylinder deactivation? And how does it help drivers get better gas mileage? Explore the advantages and disadvantages of cylinder deactivation in this blog!

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What is cylinder deactivation?

While you can save some money on gas by driving for the best mileage every day, sometimes it comes down to the technology in your vehicle. Cylinder deactivation is one of these technologies. It is usually found in V-6 and V-8 engines, especially in pickups (though it is starting to appear more often in smaller vehicles as well).

While a driver may need all eight cylinders when they are accelerating or towing a boat, you don’t really need that much power when you are already at cruising speed. Cylinder deactivation allows the engine to stop using some of its cylinders when that extra power isn’t needed.

side view of a blue 2016 Chevy Camaro RS

Even models like the 2016 Chevy Camaro RS will use cylinder deactivation to deliver premium performance while also saving gas.

How does cylinder deactivation save gas?

The more cylinders you have in your engine, generally speaking, the more gas you need to use to keep it running. By not using all the cylinders of your engine all the time, less gas can be used. Cylinder deactivation has been proven to improve gas mileage, but it may not always be by a significant amount. Just because you are shutting down half the cylinders in an engine doesn’t mean that you will get mileage that is twice as good! The actual benefits vary depending on the vehicle and powertrain.

Does cylinder deactivation make it so you can’t accelerate?

There have been issues in the past with cylinder deactivation not work as well as the manufacturers might have hoped. However, with new vehicles cylinder deactivation does not usually cause those problems. Instead, it allows you to take advantages of premium power when you need it and save on fuel when you don’t.