Pistons slide up and down the cylinder walls in a vehicle's engine as a way to achieve air and fuel compression within the cylinder region. Properly functioning pistons are necessary for a vehicle's engine to be able to operate correctly. Any vehicle that has a high performance engine will especially need working pistons.
The type of pistons that are used in the engine can also factor into the performance of your engine. There are two ways that pistons are created. This includes the manufacturing of pistons with the method of forging them and the method of casting them. There are many clear advantages and disadvantages to each method. You may want to take a further look at the forged pistons though as they are extremely beneficial and will perform the way you want them to.
What Are Forged Pistons?
Forged pistons are not as common as cast pistons but they are definitely worth purchasing. They can be found at some auto parts stores but you may have to make a special order to attain them. The forging process requires a brick of billet alloy to be shaped via stamping to take the shape of a forged piston.
What Are Cast Pistons?
Most vehicles are manufactured with cast pistons. Most pistons that are available for separate purchase are cast pistons as well. The casting process requires melted aluminum and silicon alloy to become a compound and mold together. The cast piston will be removed from the molding when prepared.
Advantages of Forged Pistons
Forged pistons are compressed more than cast pistons and there is a much more dense area when the pistons are finally manufactured. The result of this will be a stronger piston in the forged piston design then the cast piston design. Cast pistons are often said to be weak and highly prone to damage.
Forged pistons are solid and can withstand quite a bit of damage. Due to this, forged pistons are incredibly common in high performance vehicles. For instance, Porsche and BMW both manufacture their engines with forged pistons. Generally, any vehicle with a high horsepower will benefit from forged pistons.
Disadvantages of Forged Pistons
Forged pistons are heavy in weight and can have some limitations to functionality. However, the real issue with forged pistons is that they are very expensive. Forged pistons are almost always purchased through a custom order and this can cost quite a bit of money. Cast pistons are produced in large quantities so they are easily made more affordable.
If you do not have a high performance engine then you may want to stick with cast pistons simply for the financial savings. If you do have a high performance engine then it may be worthwhile to invest the extra money and get forged pistons if you do not already have them or if they need replaced.
Forged Pistons vs. Cast Pistons
Cast pistons are acceptable for the average vehicle but they should not be anywhere near a high performance engine. Forged pistons are by far the better of the two types of pistons available for your vehicle's engine but it is only recommended for high performance engines.
If you had to choose between the two then forged pistons would be the preferred choice but make sure that your vehicle really needs them. If you are upgrading your sports car then you may want to swap your cast pistons for forged pistons. If you have a day-to-day vehicle that is just used to get around then you will not really need forged pistons.
Forged pistons are far superior to cast pistons but they are not easily attained and they can be fairly expensive. You will be required to get the forged pistons custom made in most cases. This will add up to quite a bill for the pistons but it will be worth it if your engine can benefit from them. Any vehicle with a high performance engine should have forged pistons. Ultimately, forged pistons are made to be heavy duty and highly efficient so they should be mandatory in any high performance vehicle.