The term Engine life factor going by the name suggests that higher the value more is the life of the engine. If so why doesn't companies specify this as a part of their standard specifications?

2 Answers 2


ELF or Engine Life Factor is a calculated number:

  • ELF = 100,000/Max RPM x CR
  • where: RPM = Revs per minute and CR = Compression ratio

It is supposed to indicate the longevity of an engine by reducing the "number" by how fast the engine is able to run and what its numerical compression ratio.

I see some major flaws in this thinking.

First, it doesn't take into account how the engine is built. For instance, the difference between a turbo charged engine and a normally aspirated engine. In order to get the performance out of a purpose built turbo charged engine, you lower the compression ratio to allow the turbo to produce more boost with less fear of pre-detonation. This allows for great HP output with out the damaging affects of the dread "knock". Yet, a turbo charged engine will absorb a greater amount of abuse. You can usually bet the turbo engine would not last as long as a normally aspirated one.

Second, this also does not take into account maintenance of an engine. An owner which takes care of a car's engine by utilizes premium filters and lubricants, performs all maintenance on-time, and doesn't abuse his vehicle can expect the engine to last an exceedingly longer time than someone who doesn't perform the same maintenance regime and abuses it. This major factor is nowhere factored into this equation (with no real way to do it either). (NOTE: I'm sure I could come up with more reasons, but think this is sufficient for showing my point.)

Realistically, this is just an arbitrary number which might be assigned to an engine based on some very unrealistic factors which have nothing really to do with longevity. While having no proof, this is probably a "real" reason why manufacturers don't utilize this number.

  • 1
    Based entirely off of @Paulster2's answer, I'm going to go with "this is a marketing gimmick". As he said in his answer, there's too many variables that the formula doesn't (and can't) take into account. Feels like hype. Nov 17, 2014 at 21:52

I wouldn't personally, I mean for example they try to make EFI a big deal. Here in NZ they were promoting Holdens/Potanics that they had EFI and that's how old now? So just guy with cars you know that have a good reliability behind them like Toyota or Nissan. If your looking at a performance car then read up on reviews etc... heaps of resources to look for online.

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