VTEC or Valve Timing Electronic Control is a system that's been used by Honda in passenger cars since 1991. I believe the 1991 NSX was the first production vehicle to get this system. It has since been used in several other Honda vehicles. Late model VTEC equipped vehicles use the iVTEC system which also changes cam timing as well as lift and duration. The system is designed to give you the 'best of both worlds'. You get to switch between 2 cam profiles. One for fuel economy, one for performance. A lot of people think that when VTEC kicks in you get an extra boost of power. Not true in my experience. It does however extend the torque curve to give you more performance after it does switch over. There is no set RPM where VTEC switches. The computer looks at several variables and calculates when to activate the VTEC solenoid. It's a cool system and for the most part rarely has issues. The most common issues I've seen with VTEC are the result of low, or incorrect oil viscosity. So if you have a VTEC engine, keep the oil topped off and make sure you use the viscosity listed on the oil cap. The animations are courtesy Honda Motor Company, thanks guys.
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What Is Vtec And How Does It Work? - Ericthecarguy