How Much HP Does A Cam Add? The Ultimate Answer

It’s normal to want your car engine to produce more power. No matter how much force your car is running on now, we all tend to crave a little extra power.

That causes people to learn more about the role of a camshaft in vehicles and wonder: how much hp does a cam add?!

Let’s go through this article to see how a cam works and find out the answer to the question above!

Overview Of The Camshaft

How Much HP Does A Cam Add?

What Is A Camshaft?

How much horsepower does a camshaft add? You can’t get the hold of this question if you know nothing about the camshaft.

A camshaft is a part of the engine that opens and closes the valves, letting the mixture of air and fuel in and out of the combustion chamber.

Every vehicle on the roads has at least one cam; some modern cars even have two or three.

The cam has lobes on a shaft to open and close the valves. When the camshaft rotates, the lobes come in contact with other parts and carry the mixture of air and fuel through the combustion chambers.

This process can happen up to hundreds of times per minute.

How It Works

They’re called overhead camshafts if the cams are mounted in the cylinder head.

These overhead-camshaft engines activate the air intake valves to let the air-fuel mixture in and open the exhaust valves to let the mixture get out after being burned.

While in some engines, one cam can undertake this mission, there are dual cams in most OHC engines. One works with the air intake valves, and the other operates the exhaust valves.

In this engine, the camshafts work directly on the rocker arms that open the valves for a short while. Once the camshafts pass by, the valves will automatically close thanks to the springs on them.

If just one cam is located in the engine block, it’s the overhead-valve engine (pushrod engine). When the cams work, they push a set of rods that operate the rocker arms.

These arms will place force on the valves to open them. Similar to the OHC engines, the springs will close the valves.

Compared to the cams above, these OHV engines are not as popular. You can see them in some trucks or large SUVs.

The term 16-valve 4-cylinder engine indicates the camshaft comes with 4 sets of 4 cams.

Each set works with two exhaust valves and two air intake valves. A dual-cam construction will have 16 cams, distributed evenly on two camshafts.

Now, how much hp does a cam add? Let’s find out below!

How Much HP Does A Cam Add?

A camshaft does have the ability to be a power adder. Normally, it can only produce 10-20 horsepower, which won’t surpass a 10% power increase.

If you’re looking for an impressive gain or 50-100 of extra power, you’ll have to prepare various modifications.

Does A Cam Add Horsepower?

Does a camshaft increase horsepower? Yes, it does.

Basically, your car’s operation is based on the ignition of the air-fuel mixture after it has been pressurized and mixed.

A better cam will adjust the air intake, allowing more oxygen to enter the combustion chamber and deliver a hp difference.

The cams you currently have are designed to achieve the best longevity, optimal performance, and fuel economy.

Thus, the peak horsepower your camshaft can produce is insufficient to maintain the ideal amount of fuel on the cylinder.

Besides, trying to get additional power will probably exhaust you out. If you get new cams, they’ll be held up by the fuel injectors. Add better fuel injectors, and you’ll find out new valves are also necessary.

The cycle doesn’t just stop at that. You will have to upgrade your intake and exhaust manifold to facilitate the air moving in and out.

In the end, you’ll find yourself spending significant money just to gain back 50-100 hp.

How much hp does cam add? To answer this question, you need to know that there are many types of cams. Below is our information on some of the common ones.

How Much HP Does A Stage Cam 1 Add?

A stage cam 1 can boost your vehicle by 50 to 100 horsepower.

At the same time, it will also produce an increase in the torque output. Add a stage 1 engine to your car, and you’ll experience an improved RPM throttle response.

How Much HP Does A Stage Cam 2 Add?

You will need to develop the exhaust and intake system, as well as do the remapping of the ECU (Electronic control unit).

After this, the cam upgrades of stage 1 and stage 2 will be done. As a result, your car achieves 20-25% more power.

You can’t get these power gains if you install the camshaft alone, though. It must be accompanied by the other adjustments to produce the expected results.

How Much HP Does A Stage Cam 3 Add?

A stage cam 3 will give you a 40% increase in the power output. Before you enjoy this treat, the up-gradation of stages 2 and 1 needs to be completed.

How Much HP Does A Stage Cam 4 Add?

The peak power output will leap to 568 hp if you install the camshaft at this stage. However, this installation will cause a slight drop in the peak torque to 510 lb-ft.

Why Should You Cam Your Car?

Choosing between performance and efficiency is a minor battle every car enthusiast must face.

The first choice, which is camming the car, will provide a boost in the power output and better the RPM response.

Coming with this choice is the engine’s more aggressive sound.

This up-gradation will also slightly reduce the efficiency ratings at low RPMs. Thus, you might want to spend time thinking twice about this decision.

If you want to cam your vehicle, you’ll need to buy a new set of performance camshafts, which are readily available on the market.

Camshaft Upgrade


Improve Low-End Torque

Using a better cam will offer you an increase in the low-end torque. The low-end torque is good for starting the car, offering extreme acceleration and power.

A more aggressive cam will have more duration and overlap, allowing more oxygen to get inside the chambers to be ignited.

Heighten Power And Efficiency

The same can be said for power and efficiency. As mentioned above, depending on the cam stage, you can get a boost of power from 10% to 40%.

Heighten Sound

Once your cam gets old and bad, it’ll annoy you with constant noise when the engine operates. As its quality worsens, you can notice odd sounds like loud ticking and tapping coming from the valve train.

Change it with a better one, and you’ll be able to enjoy a smooth and peaceful ride with your vehicle.

Better RPM Range

The cams open the valves, and the springs close them. The speed at which the springs close the valves will restrict the maximum RPM.

Thus, a camshaft with a high lift will give the springs less time to close the valves as they have been opened further. As a result, the engine will have a higher RPM range.


The biggest minus point about replacing your car’s cam with a new one is the high price. We’ll go into detail about this disadvantage further below.

Additionally, you have to consider a lot of factors when getting a better cam.

Rocker arms, adjustable cam gear, valve train, fuel management, etc., are all the things you need to learn about and determine the most suitable ones for your cam.


Repairing these cams alone ranges from $120 and $300 on average. If you fix them on your own, you’ll still have to spend from $50 and $200 on the smaller parts.

Otherwise, you’ll have to pay another money, which is labor cost. This fee often varies depending on the hourly rate; however, if you hire a professional mechanic, the fee will be $70 to $100.

That is just the cost of repairing. If you want to replace a whole camshaft, the price will jump up to $3000, including labor costs.

Not to mention if your car is luxurious, the mechanic will charge you extra costs.


How To Maximize Your Car’s HP?

How much horsepower do camshafts add? If this addition isn’t enough, check out some tips below to get as much horsepower out of your engine as possible.

The first approach is to make your car as light as you can. This is the simplest and cheapest way to maximize your vehicle’s power.

Just 20 pounds can also make a difference, supporting the car to accelerate faster. It would help if you took off unnecessary things from your cab and lightened the load.

You can try switching to a high-performance air filter to let the engine breathe better, adding horsepower.

Remember that the cold-air intake system sucking air from cool places outside the vehicle will benefit some cars, not all of them.

Plus, before making any decisions, you need to read up on the laws about high-flow filters in your area, as this kind of machine is not allowed in fifty states.

The third option for you is to maximize the engine performance with turbochargers, supercharging, and Nitrous options. Turbochargers can deliver up to 20-25 % power gain.

However, this choice is very expensive, costing $3000 and even increasing in price frequently. To choose the most suitable one, you need to research how these types of equipment work.

Are Cammed Cars Reliable?

Many people think that camming will make your car less reliable; however, this is not true. Accidents will happen mostly because of improper installation, valve train geometry, or poor tuning.

So, to assure you again, there will be no problem with reliability when you cam your car, just do it and see how much hp does camshaft add.

Does The Camshaft Make Noise?

The cam itself is just a spinning shaft and doesn’t make any noise. However, it links to many other parts inside the engine, and if its tensioner wears out, then there will be noise.

As mentioned above, the normal sound you will hear will be the ticking noise from the top of the vehicle. The common reason for this is that the lobes of the cams have loosened.

When you hear strange sounds from your car, various engine parts can be the culprit.

It might be the steering wheels that make noise; or the exhaust leak that causes your vehicle to sound like a lawn mower. Therefore, take a thorough check-up to point out the exact reason for this problem and fix it.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Increase Hp?

After we answered the question: how much horsepower does a cam add, the price to upgrade cams will hold some people’s back. Thus, we’ll offer some other choices to increase hp at lower costs.

Besides bettering the air intake, you can go for a performance tuner. This part is often plugged into the diagnostic port. They adjust the fuel and timing maps to perfect the car’s performance.

Moreover, you can purchase a boost controller.

Instead of wondering how much hp camshafts add and consider if the power gain is worth your money, go for this small machine with the ability to boost up to 15-20% torque.


How Much HP Does A Cam Add?

How much hp does a cam add? Coming to the end of the article, we hope you found the answer to your curiosity. If yes, then this article is considered a success to us.

After all, although not adding an impressive power boost to your car, you still can get the best out of it if you maintain and use the car correctly and sensibly.

Thank you for reading.

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