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Even if you’re not an automotive expert or mechanically inclined, you’re probably familiar with the concept of revving a car. Maybe you heard someone revving their engine at a stoplight, or perhaps you just got an exhaust system upgrade and want to show off the loud noise by revving the engine. But how exactly do you do it? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to.
To rev your car, do the following:
- Turn the car on.
- Wait 10 to 20 seconds for the engine oil to properly lubricate all of the engine components.
- With the car in park, press the accelerator. The RPM on the tachometer will increase as the accelerator is pressed. Make sure the RPM doesn’t reach the redline.
- Release the accelerator, and the engine will return to its idle RPM.
If you have some additional questions about revving a car, hang around. In this guide, we’ll teach you all you need to know about revving a car. Just keep reading for more information!
What Does It Mean To Rev A Car?
So what does revving a car mean, exactly? Simply put, revving means suddenly increasing the engine’s RPM by pressing the accelerator when the car is in park or neutral. People primarily rev engines to show off loud exhaust systems. Drag racers might also rev their engines right before starting a race to accelerate as quickly as possible.
Here we’ll discuss the steps we mentioned earlier in more detail.
1. Turn The Car On
In order to rev a car, the engine must be running. Like we established earlier, revving refers to the sudden increase in engine speed, so the engine must be turned on in order to rev it.
2. Wait For The Oil To Circulate Through The Engine
It’s always a good practice to wait 10-20 seconds after turning the engine on before increasing engine RPM, but this is especially true when it comes to revving the engine. Idling for this length of time allows the oil to circulate through the engine to properly lubricate the engine’s components.
Since the engine RPM will increase substantially when you rev it, the engine can be more easily damaged if it’s not adequately lubricated with oil first.
Watch this video to get a better idea of how engine oil circulates through an engine:
3. Press The Accelerator
Now that you’ve waited 10-20 seconds, the engine oil has made its way through the engine and is providing much-needed lubrication to the engine’s components.
With the vehicle in park, press the accelerator down slowly, and the RPM needle will climb. You can also rev the engine with the car in neutral, but if you opt for this, be sure your other foot is on the brake; in neutral, the car can roll forward and backward.
When revving the engine, be sure to not let the RPM get into the red area on the tachometer (we’ll talk more about the dangers of redlining later).
4. Release The Accelerator
Once you’ve revved the engine to your heart’s content, simply release the accelerator, and the RPM needle will return to its idle position.
This video goes over the process of revving the engine of a car:
Is It Bad To Rev Your Car?
At this point, you might be wondering about how revving a car affects the engine. While revving a car might sound really cool, doing so does cause unnecessary wear on the engine, so it’s best to not rev your engine often.
When you rev the engine, the engine speed increases drastically in a short period of time; the engine speed goes from idle (approximately 600-1,000 RPM) to extremely high (5,000+ RPM). In normal driving conditions, many engines virtually never reach such speeds. If they do, the engine speed increases more slowly. Simply put, the drastic increase in engine speed from revving puts more stress on the engine’s components.
Thus, it’s best to avoid revving your engine often. Doing so on occasion likely won’t cause engine damage as long as you only rev it briefly and avoid redlining it.
What Happens When You Redline A Car?
An engine’s redline is the maximum speed at which an engine can operate without causing damage to the engine and its components. In other words, if an engine’s RPM goes past the redline and stays there for a prolonged period, catastrophic failure will undoubtedly follow.
It’s important to point out that redlining the engine doesn’t just pertain to revving the engine while parked. Pushing your engine to the redline while driving is just as harmful to the engine and its components. Always keep an eye on your engine’s RPM to prevent it from reaching this speed.
Can You Rev A Car In Park?
Yes! If you do plan on revving your engine to show off a new exhaust system, the safest way to do so is while the car is in park. As mentioned, if you rev the engine while the car is in neutral, it can roll forward or backward.
How Do You Rev Your Engine While Driving?
If your car has a manual transmission, there are two ways to rev the engine while driving.
- Press the clutch in and press the accelerator. Since the clutch is pressed in, the engine is disconnected from the rest of the drivetrain, so you can freely rev the engine without affecting the speed of the vehicle.
- While driving, press the clutch and shift into neutral. Once in neutral, you can freely rev the engine. This method is simply a more roundabout way to rev the engine in a manual car.
Revving the engine can be a fun way to show off your car’s new exhaust. If you want to rev your engine, refrain from doing so frequently, and when you do, make sure the RPM needle doesn’t pass the redline.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand how to rev your engine. Before you go, be sure to check out these other automotive guides: