What is cylinder deactivation technology? Its is essentially a system to save on fuel consumption in Internal Combustion cars. Here is a quick overview of how combustion engines work, so that it’s easier for you to understand cylinder deactivation technology.

What is cylinder deactivation technology?


Cylinder deactivation is an intelligent technology system that prevents some cylinders of an internal combustion engine or ICE from taking in fuel and air while in use. Cylinder deactivation technology is also called cylinder-in-demand or CoD. You need to have some knowledge of how an internal combustion engine works in order to understand CoD. Here is a quick overview of internal combustion engines.

Internal Combustion Engines


Internal Combustion Engines are basically gasoline-powered engines. They burn gas and convert that energy into motion to turn the wheels. This happens by sucking a mixture of fuel and air into cylinders, where a moving piston then compresses the mixture in each cylinder. When this is compressed, the spark plug ignites the mixture, and this causes the piston to be pushed down again. The exhaust gases are pushed out through the valves. The up and down motion of the pistons is converted to rotary motion by the crankshaft.

How does cylinder deactivation work?

In reality, internal combustion engines are not very energy efficient. They burn more energy than they would use, making you spend more on fuel and causing too many greenhouse gases. So cylinder deactivation technology is an attempt to reduce fuel inefficiency and gasoline combustion.


Cylinder deactivation happens when the car detects all the unnecessary fuel combustion and a cylinder deactivation solenoid valve kicks in to prevent fuel and air from entering the cylinder. So combustion does not occur in some cylinders resulting in less fuel burnt overall. For example, a typical 4.0 liter V8 cylinder will function as a 2.0 liter V4.


But when you are cruising down a highway, is this reduced combustion enough? A small amount of combustion is not sufficient for large engines, so engines with cylinder deactivation technology will temporarily reduce their engine size by up to 25% under certain driving conditions. This capability is known as a variable displacement engine.


The cylinder deactivation system is controlled by the engine control unit of the vehicle and cannot be switched o and off by the driver manually. The unit determines the fuel distribution and mixture strength and is activated when various parameters are met. Most often, the driver is unaware of the transition unless when noticing the indicator on the dashboard.

Advantages of the cylinder deactivation technology


Advantages of the cylinder deactivation technology in a car include an increased efficacy of fuel and thereby reducing fuel cost. It also means a cleaner carbon footprint and reduced emissions. There is less wastage of fuel and an optimized airflow in the engine at low load.

Disadvantages of cylinder deactivation technology.


This technology is very advanced in modern cars today. Yet they do pose a few problems. The system is limited in terms of what combination of cylinders can be shut off without upsetting the balance of the engine and causing unnecessary noise or vibration. So a typical engine using cylinder deactivation will cause more noise pollution and vibration than other cars. However, this problem may be atoned with engine mountings, flywheels, and vibration dampers. The Volkswagon group uses noise cancellation technology to reduce this effect in its 4.0-liter V8 engine.


Some engines can suck in excessive oil from the crankshaft housing through the cylinder deactivation system’s pressure relive valve. Check the PVC system for oil deposits, as it is evidence that your engine might have this problem. Sometimes this leads to fouled spark plugs that cause poor running and make the engine difficult to start.

Which cars have this technology?


Many automobile companies use cylinder deactivation technology for increased efficiency of their cars. The Volkswagen group was the first to apply this technology on a four-cylinder engine. Other companies are General motors, Stellantis, Mazda, Honda, and Ford.

What is cylinder deactivation technology? Summary


What is cylinder deactivation technology? Cylinder deactivation technology is a good alternative to reduce fuel inefficiency and reduce emissions from internal combustion engines. Yet, this system needs some revision and is likely not to be very much in use, as the attention of car manufacturers is diverting to Electric Vehicles and Hybrids.


Are you looking for a more eco-friendly alternative to internal combustion cars? Read and learn all about hybrids and why they are taking over the market today.

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