If you've ever wondered what, exactly, horsepower means, you're in luck. VIP Automotive group explains what it means so you can determine just how powerful your car's engine really is.
As many suspect, the higher the horsepower, the more powerful the engine, which could also translate into towing power. The term "horsepower" started back in the day when steam engines started to become commonplace as an alternative to using horses and other animals to pull vehicles, gear and machinery. Inventor James Watt came up with an improved version of a steam engine in the late 1700s and knew he had to explain the engines in a way that other people could understand.
He noticed the ponies at work in coal mines and realized that one pony could pull approximately 33 pounds a minute. Instead of pony power, he came up with "horsepower" to describe the full power of an engine. During this era, people could understand the power of one horse or pony compared to, say, the power of four horses pulling a full cart at the same time.
Horsepower has been used to explain engine power for more than 200 years.