Quiz: Can You Answer These Engine Questions Without Using Any Hints?
Can You Answer These Engine Questions Without Using Any Hints?
By: Robin Tyler
Image: seksan Mongkhonkhamsao / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The car engine is made up of many, many parts. If one fails, even the smallest part, chances are that your car is not moving anywhere very soon. And that is nothing short of a pain in the neck!

But how exactly does the engine in your vehicle work? Well, the engine provides the necessary power that will help move a car. This power is fed through the transmission, either manual or automatic, to the differential which, in turn, will rotate the wheels of the car. Sounds simple enough but it isn't, really. How those engineers worked this all out all those years ago still boggles the mind, don't you think?

And all those parts have to work in perfect harmony. Pistons moving, valves opening at the right time, spark plugs firing at the right instance, gasses moving out of the engine ... these are just a few things that are needed to run like clockwork.

But now let's get onto the task at hand. In this quiz, we will ask you a range of questions that relate to the engines, and it's up to you to show just how much you know about this incredible invention that we certainly cannot live without.

Up for the challenge? Good! Let's see how you do!

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While it may be difficult to compare the relevant power of different engines, in this example, without a doubt, the 5.9-liter V8 would be the most powerful. Not only does it have the large capacity of 5.9 liters (or close to 6000 cc) the fact that the engine is aligned in a V means it generates plenty of grunt.

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What was the nickname given to the Chrysler "HEMI" engine?

And why "The Elephant"? Well, the HEMI was not only large but it was powerful too. In fact, the fact that HEMI powered cars dominated at Daytona—HEMI-powered vehicles finished in the top three podium places—cause the NASCAR brains trust to make changes to their engine rules.

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What is the world record for removing an engine from a vehicle and replacing it?

That's unbelievable but it is true! Yes, in 1985, a team of mechanics took out and swapped the engine in a Ford Escort in just 42 seconds. The feat was actually achieved by five British Marines who practiced for 14 days beforehand.

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True or false? The original engine in a Volkswagen Beetle is a great example of air-cooled engine.

The engine found in the Volkswagen Beetle is not only air-cooled but has four horizontally opposed cylinders as well. These air-cooled engines were also used in industrial settings, in aircraft, and were a favored form of powerplant for many kit car owners.

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Which supercharger, available as an option on the 1966 Mustang Shelby GT350, improved its horsepower by 42%?

It was claimed that a Paxton supercharger attached to the engine of a 1966 Mustang Shelby GT350 would improve its horsepower by 42%! Those are staggering numbers and probably a little high, although it did add significant power. The thing is, it cost $700 which was close to a quarter of the price of the car. Only 19 people every opted to add one.

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We know that Formula 1 cars have seriously powerful engines. When compared to a passenger jet engine, they pale into insignificance, however. How more powerful is a jet engine than a Formula 1 engine?

Yes, jet engines are incredibly powerful! The most powerful, the General Electric GE90-115B, which is found on aircraft such as the Boeing 777 can generate 127,900 pounds of thrust! Simply incredible!

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If a car's engine is overheating, which of these might be faulty?

The thermostat in your engine is linked to the radiator. It controls the release of coolant to the engine when it begins to heat up. A faulty thermostat will prevent this.

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A diesel engine produces its peak power at what speed?

Unlike gasoline engines that produce their greatest power at high revs, a diesel engine is somewhat different. It will produce its best powerband at around 65 mph and at lower revs. This means driving at the highest gear possible so not to over-rev the engine.

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The gases produced by the combustion of the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder are removed by which engine stroke?

During the exhaust stroke, the gases produced by the combustion of the fuel/air mixture are removed from the cylinder. This is down through the exhaust manifold. They then exit the car through the exhaust system and the tailpipe.

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What kind of horsepower ratings does a top fuel dragster engine produce?

Top fuel dragsters are monster machines! These incredible cars can reach speeds of over 300 mph in a matter of seconds. And to do that, they need massive engines. These engines are so powerful, they can produced over 10,000 bhp.

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Who is credited with inventing the term "horsepower"?

James Watt was a shrewd businessman. He came up with the term horsepower to help market his engines. Although is estimates of his own pieces of work were a little high, the term stuck, and we still use it today.

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Which engine strokes sees the fuel/air mixture placed under intense pressure?

The compression stroke is the second stroke to occur. It compresses the fuel/air mixture. By doing this, it creates more energy when the fuel/air mixture is combusted.

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On average, how many miles per gallon will a modern diesel engine produce?

Diesel engines are infinitely more economical than their gasoline counterparts. On average, diesel engines are producing figures of around 45 miles per gallon for highway driving. This is far better than many gasoline engines, even smaller engines running city cars.

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Who was responsible for the first ever V8 engine?

The first V8 engine was invented in 1902 by Léon Levavasseur. V8 engines were initially used in boats and aircraft but eventually moved on to the automobile.

Horsepower was a term developed by James Watt to help promote his engines. In essence, one horsepower is the power needed to lift something that weighs 500 lbs for 1 second up to 1 foot in the air.

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In an engine, which two parts are linked by a timing belt to ensure they keep the valves and pistons in sync?

A timing belt is crucial to ensure the engine fires correctly by keeping valves and pistons in sync. If the timing belt doesn't work properly, the engine will not run optimally which will affect performance and even fuel consumption.

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For a diesel engine to run perfectly, what are two essential requirements?

A diesel engine is no different from its gasoline driven counterpart in the fact that the two essential requirements to make it run effectively are air and fuel. If one of these is missing, the engine will never run. Even if the ratio of air to fuel or vice versa is wrong, an engine will not run properly.

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From the list below, pick the part that helps start the engine.

If your car's engine is turning over sluggishly when starting or nothing happens except for a ticking sound, it's likely your battery is the problem. That is always the first place to check.

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Can you identify the part that moves coolant through the engine when it's hot.

A water pump moves coolant from the radiator through the engine where the excess heat is transferred to it. It then returns to the radiator to be used later, when the engine heats up again.

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Which of these auto engineers devised the first compressed charge, compression ignition engine that used diesel as a propellant?

It was Rudolf Diesel who invented the diesel-powered compressed charge, compression ignition engine. His first engine ran in 1892. It was large, however, and Diesel spent the next years perfecting his creation.

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True or false? On colder days, engines are not as fuel efficient as on hotter days.

That's true. On a cold day, for example in snowy weather, your engine takes more time to reach optimum operating temperature. That stands to reason due to the cold. But it does mean that the fuel is not burnt as efficiently as it would be on a hot day, and that means the vehicle uses more fuel than it usually would.

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What is the name given to a car that has both a gasoline and electric engine?

Just on 20 years ago, Toyota first launched their hybrid vehicle, the Prius. From 1997 to 2003, the Prius was part of the compact car market. In 2003, it was relaunched as a hatchback. With over 4 million sales worldwide, this is the top-selling hybrid car on the planet.

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Which of these is not a part you will find in the internal combustion engine?

An internal combustion engine will have a crankshaft, a camshaft and anything from one to eight spark plugs (in most cases). It won't have a boiler. This is part of a steam engine and is where water is boiled and turned to steam, which helps power the engine.

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Car engine maintenance is based on which of these?

In all car maintenance, work on the engine—such as changing of oil filters, spark plugs and other engine parts—is based on the distance the car has traveled. That is why a maintenance plan will have you bring your car in for a service ever so many miles.

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Which of these cars has a fully electric engine?

An all-electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf went into production in 2010. Of course, perhaps the most important thing with such a car is the range. Today, a fully charged Leaf has a range of 107 miles with the larger 30 kWh battery. Perhaps more importantly, a flat battery can be charged to 80% within a mere 30 minutes. This is the best-selling electric car in the world.

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Which powerful engine was first seen in the 2009 Chevrolet ZR1 Corvette?

The LS9/LSA Chevy V8 engine was first seen in the 2009 ZR1 Corvette. It produces a staggering 638 brake horsepower thanks to a 6.2-liter displacement and a supercharger!

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The Chevrolet ZL1 big-block engine is made from what material?

Made from aluminum, the ZL1 big-block engine is 427 cubic inch and 100 pounds lighter than other big block V8’s. 69 special Chevrolet Camaros were made with the ZL1 big-block engine.

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Based on horsepower calculations, how much horsepower do real horses produce?

In essence, one horsepower is the power needed to lift something that weighs 500 lbs for one second up to 1 foot in the air. In reality, a horse can only generate around 0.7 horsepower.

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Which SMALL Ford engine, introduced in 2012, makes over 100 bhp?

First introduced in 2012, the 1.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine is a 3-cylinder engine. It can produce an impressive 123 brake horsepower. Models such as the Fiesta, Fusion and Focus use the EcoBoost engine.

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Which engine part is responsible for powering the radio, wipers and headlights?

The alternator is a fairly important part in your vehicle. It not only provides all the electric power for the systems on the car that need it but it also keeps the battery charged while you drive.

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Which internal combustion engine fuel is less flammable?

Diesel is far less flammable than gasoline. In fact, you could throw a match into a puddle of diesel and it would go out. Try that with gasoline and it will ignite before it even hits the puddle thanks to the gases rising above the puddle.

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Who patented a two-stroke gasoline engine in 1879?

Karl Benz not only was responsible for the first car in 1885, he also produced a reliable two-stroke gasoline engine that made it possible in 1879. He had it patented in the same year.

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Are gasoline-powered internal combustion engines less powerful at higher altitudes than lower altitudes?

At higher altitudes, gasoline-powered internal combustion engines are less powerful than at sea level, for example. Why? Well, at higher altitude, air is thinner—that means fewer air molecules are used in the engine, which then requires less gas in the air/fuel mix. And that means a drop in power.

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Which engine model would you find in most cars around the world?

Most modern cars today are four-stroke engines, especially in sedans. Of course, vehicles such as pickups and large SUVs can have larger engines that power them—for example, V8's—while the W16 (two V8's next to each other) is found in the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron hypercars.

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True or false? Diesel engines are less fuel efficient than gasoline engines.

That's false! Diesel engines are actually much more efficient than gasoline engines. In fact, gasoline engines are around 20% efficient, which means only a fifth of the gasoline in the car drives it. The rest is lost friction, heat and through other factors. Diesel engines, on the other hand, are 40% efficient and sometimes higher.

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