What is Cylinder Deactivation in a Car Engine?

By Product Expert | Posted in Tips & Tricks on Thursday, September 26th, 2019 at 10:56 am
Close up of a car engine with the text "What is Cylinder Deactivation?"

As you research engines for a new vehicle, you may have come across something called cylinder deactivation. If you don’t know engines very well, chances are you don’t know what this means. What is cylinder deactivation anyway? To put it into simple terms, cylinder deactivation is the shutting down of a cylinder in a car engine. Learn what the benefits are of cylinder deactivation and how it works here!

[ READ MORE: Fuel Economy of the 2019 Mazda3 Sedan and Hatchback ]

How Does Cylinder Deactivation Work?

Every engine has pistons that move up and down as the vehicle runs due to the gas-air Close up of a mechanic inserting a piston into a cylinder of an enginemixture in its intake valve. These pistons cause the crankshaft to turn, thus forcing the wheels to spin. Once a cylinder deactivates, the intake and exhaust valves close. The piston will still move since it’s attached to the crankshaft, but it isn’t doing any work.

The process of deactivating cylinders is automatic. The engine control unit (ECU) or engine control module (ECM) regulates these cylinders as power is needed. If more power is needed during acceleration, deactivated cylinders will reactivate to give you the strength to get up to speed. If less power is needed, such as during deceleration or low speeds, then cylinders will deactivate.

Benefits of Cylinder Deactivation

The purpose of cylinder deactivation is to reduce the amount of fuel being used. As more cylinders are activated, more fuel is being pumped in the engine. In addition to improving fuel economy, emissions being sent into the air also decrease.  Thus, you’d be helping both your wallet and the environment by minimizing the gas consumption with cylinder deactivation.

Are you looking for a vehicle with cylinder deactivation? Talk with our team here at Serra Mazda and we will be happy to show you some of our most fuel-efficient models! If you already have a model in mind, you can start viewing our inventory right on our website.

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