VTEC vs Non- VTEC: Difference and Comparison

Vehicles are a common possession among today’s population. Based on their production, all cars can give varying levels of performance.

With the introduction of VTEC and non-VTEC engines to the market, Honda changed the vehicle industry. For both regular driving and racing, these engines can give optimal speed and fuel consumption. 

Key Takeaways

  1. VTEC is a variable valve timing technology developed by Honda that optimizes engine performance and efficiency.
  2. Non-VTEC engines do not utilize this technology, resulting in less precise valve timing control.
  3. VTEC engines offer better fuel economy and increased power output than non-VTEC engines.

VTEC vs Non- VTEC  

The difference between VTEC and non-VTEC is that VTEC engines have two camshaft profiles that vary oil pressures based on speed and non VTEC engines use only one camshaft profile; thus, there is no changing oil pressure. VTEC engines are found only in Honda cars, and non VTEC engines can be found in all other brands of cars.  


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VTEC is a Honda engine efficiency improvement system that results in improved high-RPM performance and lower low-RPM fuel usage.

VTEC technology employs two distinct camshaft profiles and alternates between them. VTEC engines are capable of performing brilliantly at both high and low speeds. 

A single camshaft profile is used in non-VTEC engines. This can be set up for greater performance at high or low RPMs. They have a lower output than VTEC engines.

Non-VTEC engines can be found in a wide variety of car models and brands. A person should prefer non-VTEC motors for a streetcar, autocross, or rally car. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison VTEC Non-VTEC 
Functional Difference  VTEC varies oil pressure to shift between different cam profiles.  There is no varying oil pressure. 
Camshaft VTEC engines use two camshaft profiles. Non-VTEC engines use one camshaft profile. 
Speed VTEC engines can work well at both high and low speeds.  non-VTEC engines can only be optimized for one speed. 
Fuel Consumption Requires less fuel (at normal speed). Requires more fuel (at normal speeds). 
Car Brand VTEC is only available in Hondas.  non-VTEC are found in any car brand. 

What is VTEC? 

VTEC is an abbreviation for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control. Honda engineers came up with the idea.

It differs from normal variable valve timing systems in that it just changes the valve timings and has no effect on the camshaft profile or valve lift. 

It helps optimize the volumetric efficiency of the four-stroke internal combustion. This results in a high RPM performance along with a lower RPM fuel consumption. 

In 1983, VTEC was introduced. The intake and exhaust valves are controlled by lobes on a camshaft in a standard four-stroke vehicle engine. These lobes determine various aspects like the lift and timing of the valves, along with the duration.  

The angle at which a valve opens or closes in relation to the piston position is referred to as timing. The amount of lift relates to how far the valve is opened. The length of time the valve is kept open is referred to as duration.  

When particular conditions are met, the ECU is programmed to use these inputs to shift from low lift to high lift cam lobes. The switch-over point is determined by the engine load, which can be set between a minimum and maximum value. 


What is Non-VTEC? 

Non-VTEC engines were limited to a single camshaft profile. This can be modified to improve performance at either high or low RPMs. Non-VTEC engines are available from a variety of automobile manufacturers and car builders. 

Non-VTEC motors should be preferred for a streetcar, autocross, or rally car. Yes, they are less potent than their VTEC-headed counterparts.

However, below 5500 rpm, the VTEC combination produces substantially less torque and has a much narrower useful powerband. 

Abundant low- to mid-range power is the non-VTEC’s forte. On the race track with a close-ratio gearbox, a good driver can make use of the top-end power where the VTEC head is in its element. 

Non-VTEC has been found in the DX and LX trim packages. There are several pros when it comes to non-VTEC engines, like better gas mileage, easier to tune without VTEC, etc.  

The Acura Integra also uses the non-VTEC 1.8L B18A/B engine. This is one of the fastest non-VTEC Hondas ever made. They took a B16A and stripped it of its VTEC power before installing it in a CRX. 

Non-VTEC engines can only be optimized to provide great performance at either low speeds or high speeds. The optimization choice depends on your needs and preferences. 

non vtec engine

Main Differences Between VTEC and Non-VTEC 

  1. VTEC engines use variable oil pressure to switch between cam profiles, but non-VTEC engines do not. 
  2. There is also a difference in the number of camshaft profiles. VTEC has two, and non-VTEC has one. 
  3. Non-VTEC engines can be optimised to only work well for either low or high speed, whereas VTEC can operate at both.  
  4. VTEC requires less fuel (at normal speed), and non-VTEC requires more fuel (at normal speeds). 
  5. VTEC is only available in Hondas, and non-VTEC are found in any car brand. 


  1. http://www.rick2therescue.com/portfolio2015/docs/VTEC_full.pdf 
  2. https://pilotscholars.up.edu/egr_studpubs/8/ 

Last Updated : 03 July, 2023

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