How to Calculate an Engine in Cubic Inches

by Leonardo R. Grabkowski
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Engine displacement in the United States used to be measured in cubic inches. For example, an engine might have been described as a "350" or "455" V8, meaning it displaced that particular number of cubic inches. Nowadays, engine displacement is usually expressed in liters. For example, a 4.6L V8, or a 2.3L inline-four cylinder mill. If you want to calculate the cubic inch engine displacement in a modern vehicle, you can do so by using a simple formula to convert liters to cubic inches.

Step 1

Determine the size of the engine in liters. Inspect the engine-compartment to locate the specification sheet. The size of the engine is also listed in your owner's manual and on your original window sticker. If you have trouble finding this information, you can look up the size of your vehicle's engine (see Resources) by using an online VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) decoder for free. Type your VIN into the decoder to pull up the specifications, including the engine size. Typical modern engine sizes range from 2.0L to 6.0L. Fraction sizes such as 2.4L or 3.3L are not uncommon.

Step 2

Once you know the exact number of liters, multiply that figure by 61.02. Use a calculator or a pencil and paper to perform this simple calculation.

Step 3

View the size of the engine in cubic inches. For example, if the engine size in liters is 3.0L, the size in cubic inches is 183. If the engine size in liters is 4.6L, the size in cubic inches is 280.7. And so on.

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