There are so many parts to an engine, we can't even begin to count them. What we do know is that even a failure in a small part that may seem insignificant can cause your car to grind to a halt, or perhaps not start at all.
So how does it all work? Well, the engine provides the power. This is fed through the transmission, either manual or automatic, to the differential which, in turn, will turn 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?
All those parts have to work in perfect harmony. Pistons moving, valves opening at the right time, spark plugs firing at the right instance, gases moved out of the engine. One little problem, and the engine might still run, but not efficiently.
So just how much do you know about the internal combustion engine and car engines, in particular? Do you know your exhaust manifolds from your mufflers, your oil pump from your fuel pump, or your spark plug from your glow plug? Want to test your knowledge? Then you have come to the right place!
In 1959, the Mini Mk 1 was introduced to the world. And what a popular car it proved to be. The first Minis had a range of motors, with the smallest a mere 848 cc petrol engine.
The intake stroke brings the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder. It is then compressed and combusted by the piston and spark from the spark plug which pushes the piston back, generating the power stroke. Lastly, gases are released from the cylinder thanks to the exhaust stroke.
If the fuel/air mixture is too rich, excess fuel does not get burnt during the combustion process. This escapes, together with exhaust gases down the exhaust system and ends up burning due to the heat which leads to flames out the exhaust pipe.
Torque steer happens under intense acceleration which sees the car pull to one side. This is a problem in front-wheel drive cars.
The balance shaft is a counterweighted engine shaft. It offsets unwanted crankshaft vibrations.
The intake stroke brings the air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber within the engine. This is the first part that is necessary for an engine to run.
Oil keeps all the moving parts of an engine lubricated. An oil filter helps to remove impurities in the oil that might damage the engine.
The air intake manifold allows the gas/air mixture into the cylinders and distributes it to the intake ports equally.
You seen them before, on cars with a massive air intake coming out the hood. This is often called a "blower" but its proper name is a Roots-type supercharger.
In an all-wheel drive car, all the wheels are receiving drive all the time. In an four-wheel drive car, you can select when you want the wheels that are not always powered by the engine to receive power.
When an engine is not running and oil is not pumped through it, it needs to be stored. This is the job of the sump/pan.
Attached to a connection rod, the piston is found in the cylinder where it fits tightly. It moves up and down, compressing the air/fuel mixture which is then combusted.
A running engine will naturally get hot and needs to be cooled. Coolant is taken from the radiator and passed through the engine through paths known as water jackets.
When the fuel/air mixture is compressed and spark from the spark plug applied, it combusts. This is known as the combustion stroke.
Built by Italian firm Pagani, the Zonda sports car had a unique look when introduced in 1999. A number of models followed over the years with a range of power plant options, including a 7.3 liter M120 AMG V12 motor.
Take a 4.3-liter turbocharged V-6 as well as the transmission of a Corvette and couple that with an all-wheel-drive truck and what do you have? A GMC Typhoon, that's what. The Typhoon was faster than many sports cars of the time and easily raced to 60 mph from a standing start in fewer than five seconds.
The carburetor is crucial to the whole process. It needs to mix the right amount of fuel and air, otherwise the engine runs to lean or too rich.
It's all about timing! Valves must open to let the gas/air mixture into the cylinder and then close to allow combustion to happen. Finally, they open to release the gases that are left over after the combustion process.
Launched in 1996, only 448 Ferrari 500s were ever made. This timeless design was powered by a 5.5-liter V12 capable of producing 485 brake horsepower.
Not only does an alternator charge your battery, but it also powers most of the electrical systems on a vehicle. If it is faulty, your battery will quickly run flat.
The tailpipe is at the end of the exhaust system and lets the gases formed by combustion out of the engine. The muffler helps to keep the sound the engine produces muffled.
The fuel system ensures that the correct amount of fuel is sent from the tank to the engine where it is mixed with air for the combustion process to begin.
Another model from Porsche as they branch out into other markets, the Macan is a 4-door compact luxury crossover first introduced in 2014. The top of the range model is driven by a 3.6-litre V6 twin-turbo engine with a 7-speed transmission.
Trust the people who made your vehicle when it comes to time to change the oil. They know exactly how long oil will last and do an effective job within the engine.
The starter motor was invented in 1912, but only really became standard on cars in the 1920s. Until that point, the engine was turned over and started using a hand crank. This led to plenty of injuries as compression could shoot turn the crank backward if the operator was not careful.
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.
Part of the ignition system, the distributor fires the spark plugs in the correct order. It is connected to them by high-tension leads.
Piston pins are held in place on the piston by the piston pin clip. If these fail, it could cause some serious damage to the engine.
Without the heat from a glow plug, a cold start in a diesel vehicle might mean the engine does not run efficiently, which would lead to increased exhaust emissions.
All the other parts will be found on a gasoline-powered vehicle except a glow plug. That is just found in diesel-powered cars
An exhaust valve is found in the cylinder head. It is driven by the camshaft and releases exhaust gases after combustion.
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 and is powered by an all-electric engine. No hybrid technology here!
An opposed piston engine has no cylinder head and two pistons in the same cylinder. Not only does the engine retain heat more effectively, the intake and exhaust valves are found at opposite ends of the cylinder.
The rotation of the camshaft will open and close the valves of the engine. This allows combustion to take place within the cylinder (on closure) and releases the gases formed afterward (on opening).
The most common configuration for the cylinders in an engine is inline. For example, the engine that powered the Ford Model T was an inline four cylinder.