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Difference Between VTEC and non-VTEC

Difference Between VTEC vs non-VTEC

VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) a new valvetrain system developed by Honda to provide a more flexible driving experience to the user. Prior to VTEC, non-VTEC engines were configured for one camshaft profile only. This can either be configured for better performance in either high RPMs or low RPMs. VTEC allows the engine to have two camshaft profiles to which it can switch to depending on how the vehicle is being used.

Low RPM optimized camshafts are more logical for day to day driving as it provides quick acceleration at low speeds as well as better fuel economy. Optimizing for high RPMs is more aggressive and is often used for racing only. Optimizing for high RPMs mean that your engine would burn a lot more fuel and is less responsive at low speeds. But this is more than made up by greater power at high RPMs which can easily translate into a much higher top speed. VTEC engines can have the best of both worlds while non-VTEC engines can only be optimized for either. VTEC achieves this by switching profiles electronically depending on other factors. The factors that the VTEC engine uses to decide when to switch profiles can range from the speed of the vehicle, the RPM of the engine, among other things.

It’s easy to say that non-VTEC engines are found all over the market, from different car makers and manufacturers. VTEC engines on the other hand are exclusive to Honda and the vehicles that they make. Other car makers do have other technologies that emulate the capabilities of VTEC in their vehicles but these are under a different name.

When buying a car that is meant for everyday driving, there is no argument between VTEC and non-VTEC engines. VTEC engines give you better flexibility and can suit your needs adequately. Although VTEC engines may cost you a little bit more initially, it can recover the extra cost that you paid for it in fuel savings, especially with the rapidly rising fuel costs of today.


1. VTEC engines use two camshaft profiles while non-VTEC engines only use one

2. VTEC engines can have excellent performance at high and low speeds while non-VTEC engines can only be optimized for either

3. VTEC is only available on Hondas while non-VTEC are found on any car brand

4. VTEC engines are much better than non-VTEC for street cars

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  1. My 2000 integra is duel cam so does that mean it is an vtec?

    • Not necessarily, a vtec engine can be single cam or dual cam, the way vtec changes profiles is by building pressure in the engine not by literally changing cams. Usually it will say on the engine “VTEC”

  2. Can i put a vtec on my b18 Honda ballade luxline

  3. I have a Honda Civic with a “base” engine that must be replaced.

    If I have it changed to a V-tec engine, can it be done utilizing the existing wiring harness, and the existing ECU ??


    Should I stick with the base engine – since this is NOT a high performance car ??

  4. thank you for your advice.

  5. wanting to know is the any difference between a vtec engine block and a non-vtec engine block i went and bought a non-vtec engine and come to find out i have vtec motor they look totaly diffrent so i was just wondering if anyone out there could help me with this problem

  6. The 1.7 blocks are all the same. The difference is in the head, cams, ecu operation and the vtec actuator assembly on the side of the head. The cams have a bigger lobe sandwiched between 2 smaller lobes and its easy to tell. The computer actuated the variable timing on the vtec assembly, which causes the bigger cam lobes to start working. You will need a vtec head complete with cams, and probably swap out the ecu, maybe some splicing in of the vtec plugs if your harness doesn’t have them. Blocks are the same for non and vtec.

  7. can i simply drop in a b20 vtech engine into my integra ?

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