Can you pinpoint the most important parts of your vehicle on an auto-parts diagram? How about the heart of your car, its engine – could you name its pieces it and how the main parts operate?
When your vehicle has a problem, it's always best to send it on a vacation to the service center. However, knowing a thing or two about your car, especially about what's under its hood, may help tremendously.
Many auto enthusiasts know their car engines like the back of their hands, but there also are many drivers without much interest in learning the detailed ways their vehicle operates. It’s not only good for your general knowledge to know the ins and outs of your car’s engine, but it also may help you find a solution more quickly if a problem occurs. Knowing your way around a car engine may save you a lot of time and money. After all, it's much harder to fool a person into unnecessary maintenance costs if they understand the inner workings of their machine.
So, let’s see how familiar you are with various engine parts. Do you know what differentiates the piston from the spark plug? Can you recognize the wastegate? Take this quiz to find out if you can name at least 11 of these engine parts!
The connecting rod connects the piston to the crank or crankshaft. It converts reciprocating motion into rotating motion.
The gudgeon pin is also called the wrist pin or the piston pin. It connects the piston to the connecting rod and also provides a bearing for the connecting rod when the piston moves.
The connecting rod cap is used to clamp around the crankshaft and the big-end bearing. Connecting rods and matching rod caps are sometimes constructed together as one piece.
Automobile engines of the past didn’t use oil filters, which is why very frequent oil changes were required. The first automotive oil filter was invented in 1923.
The unit injector (UI) is an integrated direct fuel-injection system for diesel engines. It operates under high pressure, combining the injection pump and the injection nozzle in a single component.
Every belt-driven engine has a timing belt, a tensioner and several pulleys. The tensioners ensure the correct amount of tension is applied to the belt.
Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) recirculates a portion of an engine’s exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders in internal combustion engines.
The cooling fan allows the engine to maintain constant temperature. Front-wheel drive cars have electric fans while rear-wheel drive cars usually have engine-driven cooling fans.
Depending on the engine construction, the oil pressure switch is usually located in one of these three locations: the cylinder block of the engine, the oil filter housing or the engine head.
The thermostat is a small device found in every liquid-cooled car engine. Its role is to block the coolant flow from reaching the radiator until the engine has warmed up.
A catalytic converter converts toxic gasses and pollutants in exhaust gas from internal combustion engines into harmless compounds by using a catalyst.
A mass-flow sensor determines the mass-flow rate of air that enters a fuel-injected internal combustion engine. This information is then used by the ECU to deliver the optimal fuel mass to the engine.
Some cars use a vacuum modulator to apply pressure to the throttle valve. It senses when the manifold pressure increases (when the engine is under a great load).
Modern automobiles use alternators to charge the battery and power the electrical system while the engine is running.
A piston survives thousands of mini explosions each time you use your car. It has a top and a bottom, and the top is where the explosions happen.
The thermo switch is a temperature sensor. The device is usually located close to the radiator, and its role is to switch on the fan as soon as the engine reaches a set temperature.
A carburetor mixes air and fuel for internal combustion engines into the optimal ratio for creating combustion. The first carburetor was invented in 1826 by Samuel Morey.
Bosch's engineer Gottlob Honold developed the first commercially viable high-voltage spark plug as part of a magneto-based ignition system in 1902.
The cylinder head is placed above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block. Its job is to close the top of the cylinder and form a combustion chamber.
The purpose of the oil pump in internal combustion engines is to lubricate the bearings and allow the use of higher-capacity fluid bearings. It also has a significant part in engine cooling.
A poppet valve consists of a hole, in most cases round or oval, and a tapered plug usually in a disk shape on the end of the shaft also called valve stream.
A starter ring gear is sometimes called a ring gear or a starter ring. It’s a medium carbon steel ring that’s fitted on the periphery of the flexplate or flywheel.
The first split piston ring was invented by John Ramsbottom in 1854. The use of piston rings dramatically reduced the frictional resistance, piston mass and system leakage.
The role of the water pump is to ensure the coolant keeps moving through the engine block, radiator and hoses, making sure optimum operating temperature is maintained.
Main crankshaft bearings are mounted in the crankcase. A main bearing consists of two parts: upper and lower.
An engine block is also commonly called cylinder block. It’s a structure in which the cylinders are placed in an internal combustion engine. Modern engine blocks usually include several other elements, too.
The intake manifold is a pipe connected to the intake valves. Its role is to bring air or air-fuel mixture into the combustion chamber.
Valvetrains (or valve trains) are produced in several variations that are differentiated by the location of the camshaft within the engine.
The crankshaft is a mechanical part of a car engine that converts reciprocating motion into rotational motion and vice versa.
The role of the ignition coil is to generate a very high voltage from a car’s 12-volt battery – and to send it to each sparkplug, igniting the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
An injection pump is a very complex and sophisticated piece of engineering. It pumps diesel fuel into the cylinders of a diesel engine.
The rocker arms are placed in the drive train of the internal combustion engine. Their function is to assist the pushrod in the opening and closing of the exhaust valve and intake valve.
Intercoolers reduce the induction air heat created by the supercharger and promote more thorough combustion by increasing the efficiency of the induction system.
An exhaust system consists of pipes that guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion inside an internal combustion engine. Depending on its overall design, it may include one or more pipes.
The connecting rod bearings are placed in the big end of the connecting rod. They have a role of providing rotating motion of the crank pin within the connecting rod.
In cars with liquid-cooled internal combustion engines, the radiator is connected to channels running through the engine and cylinder head, through which a coolant is pumped.
When it comes to the screamer pipe, opinions are divided: some people think these things make the worst noise they have ever heard, while others think it sounds pretty good and powerful.
A wastegate is a boost-controlling device that operates by limiting exhaust gases through the turbocharger and controlling the maximum boost pressure the turbocharger produces.
The air filter in internal combustion engines prevents debris and any abrasive particulate substance from entering the cylinders of the engine.