8 Big Pros and Cons of the Rotary Engine

A rotary engine is a type of engine that uses rotating parts to run rather than pistons like most other engines do. It contains multiple parts including the output shaft, exhaust, intake, and the rotor. Many of these parts move, or rotate, which is how the engine got it’s name. When it was first created, in 1902, it was considered a ground breaking innovation. It’s applications are not nearly as broad in today’s world, but certainly still has it’s place in specific uses.

The Pros of Rotary Engines

1. It’s Very Simple

The mechanics of a rotary engine are very simple. It contains a significantly lower number of parts as compared to piston motors. This makes them cost effective and lighter.

2. They Have The Ability To Create More Power

Because of it’s unique way of moving, the rotary motor produces a much lower amount of vibration than a piston engine does. It’s due to this that they can be made to put out a higher RPM which produces more power.

3. Reliability Is Superb

Since there are such few parts, there is less room for problems in the engine. Also, because of the engines overall design no one part is responsible for the integrity of the power it produces. If one part goes out, the engine will still work effectively for a time.

4. You Can Make It Last

One of the greatest advantages that a rotary engine offers is it’s extreme durability. Since it is so simple, the room for issues is low and maintenance is fairly easy. If you take proper care of a rotary engine it can last decades longer than any other type of engine around.

The Cons of Rotary Engines

1. A Less Than Desirable Efficiency

One of the things that tend to steer people away from rotary engines is the fact that they eat up fuel. The rotary uses small portions of the oil in the engine and mixes it with the fuel to keep everything lubricated, which negatively impacts the gas mileage. The average MPG for a rotary engine is around 20.

2. Oil Leaks Are A Highly Common Issue

The most common issue that rotary engines encounter is oil leaks. The design of the engine is so simple that small problems like this can become big ones pretty fast.

3. Costly Repairs In Today’s World

In today’s world, rotary engines are not very common, which makes them expensive to repair. You have to find a specialized mechanic who has the experience, know how, and tools to take care of even simple maintenance in a rotary engine.

4. Frequent Maintenance Is A Must

Since rotary engines release small amounts of oil constantly, they consume it like crazy. In order to avoid running the engine dry and causing damage to the engine, you have to check the oil levels very often.

Facts About The Rotary Engine

  • The rotary engine was invented by Felix Wankel in 1902.
  • Wankel was only 17 years old at the time he created the engine.
  • Basic rotary engines can be modified with build kits to produce even more power.
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