Engine Image Challenge: What Parts Can You Identify?

Robin Tyler

Image: Henrik5000 / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Without an engine, your motor vehicle is pretty useless, isn't it?

We all know the anguish of when we get into our car and it simply won't start. And it could be a number of reasons that have caused this to happen. Why? Well, your car's engine is made up of thousands and thousands of parts, big and small, all working together to ensure the power generated by the engine is transferred into the energy that makes your vehicle move. 

And just think of those first engine designers figuring out who to do this, often with so much trial and error. Those men were incredible but we should be eternally grateful to them. Those engines, just like modern ones need all its parts working in perfect harmony to make the engine run efficiently, because an engine that is not running as efficiently as it should is burning your money!

But now let's ask you a question: 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?

We want to test your knowledge with these 40 questions. Do you think you identify engine parts from just an image?


Parts of the engine found here include the piston, crankshaft and cylinders. Can you name this engine part?

The engine block is the lower section of the engine. It is cast out of metal and houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders.

Found all over the engine, these parts have teeth. What are they?

A sprocket is a wheel with a set of teeth on the outer circumference. It drives items like the chain or timing belt. Many sprockets are found in the gearing system on a vehicle.

Can you name these, which help start your vehicle's engine?

Essentially, spark plugs are the most important factor in a vehicle starting. They provide the spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture which starts the motor and keeps it running.

This moves gasoline from the gas tank to the engine. What is it called?

A fuel pump makes sure gasoline gets from the area where it is stored (the gas tank) to the engine where it is burned to help propulsion.

What is the name of this tank that holds coolant for the engine?

The radiator is a reservoir that holds coolant. This is used to keep the engine cool while it is running. A thermostat determines when coolant is allowed to flow through the engine.

Air entering the engine is cleaned by this engine part. What is it called?

An air filter ensures the air entering the engine, which is used during the combustion process, is kept clean and free of any particles which may damage the engine.

This part of the engine is the reservoir where oil is stored. What is it called?

The oil pan serves as the oil reservoir. It's a removable part that is mounted on the bottom of the cylinder block. To drain the oil from the oil pan, simply remove a single bolt.

Bolted to the cylinder head, can you name this protective cover?

The valve cover is bolted onto the cylinder head. It acts as a protective lid. The cover gasket, on the other hand, is placed between the valve cover and the cylinder head.

Here we have the engine part that connects the piston to the crankshaft. Do you know what it is called?

The connecting rod forms the mechanical link between the piston and crankshaft. It converts the up and down motion to the crankshaft's rotary motion.

Can you name the engine part in this image, please?

The hydraulic valve lifter is a lifting part that helps to maintain zero valve clearance. It uses hydraulic oil pressure to do this and eliminates the need for valve adjustment.

This part helps to reduce friction between various components and comes in different sizes. What is it?

A bearing is a curved metal piece that reduces friction between components. It comes in many different shapes and sizes and is found throughout the engine.

When the fuel/air mixture is burned within the engine, gases are released into the exhaust system through the ________?

An exhaust valve is a camshaft-driven valve in the cylinder head. It releases exhaust gases after combustion.

This small ring controls the rate of oil consumption within the cylinders of the engine. What is it called?

The oil control ring controls oil consumption within the cylinder. It comes under the umbrella of piston rings.

Can you name this belt that helps the engine run efficiently?

The timing belt is a toothed belt. It's usually made of reinforced rubber and it rides on the sprockets. It ensures that the pistons fire at the correct time, thus ensuring the engine runs as efficiently as possible.

Of the options below, can you name the part that keeps the liquid lubricating the engine, clean?

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.

Please can you tell us which engine part is shown in this image?

The carburetor controls the amount of air and gasoline entering the engine. For example, too much gasoline and the engine will run rich, wasting gas that it cannot burn, too little gasoline and it will run too lean.

High-tension leads connect this part to the spark plugs. Please can you tell us what it is?

The distributor makes sure the spark plugs fire in the right order. It is connected to the spark plugs through high-tension leads. The distributor forms a part of the ignition system.

Without this, your car will not start. What system are we talking about?

This system helps to start the engine by generating a spark that causes the air-fuel mixture within the combustion chamber to ignite. Without it, your car will not start, let alone run.

Here we have a part only found in turbocharged engines. What is it?

Found in turbocharged engines, an intercooler reduces the temperature of the air compressed by the turbocharger. This makes it denser when it is pushed through the engine, which produces more power.

Can you name the part pictured here which removes impurities from gasoline before it enters the engine?

A fuel filter will help to remove impurities that might be in gasoline which, if they get into the engine, can cause complications. All gas is pumped through the filter before it enters the engine.

Turn the key and this engine part swings into action. Can you name it?

When you turn the key of your car, the starter motor begins the combustion process by rotating the engine. Sometimes, when your car will not start, the starter motor is not operating properly and could be jammed.

This part lets the fuel and air mixture into the piston. Can you name it?

The valves within an engine open and close in sequence to let the air and fuel mixture in. They then seal when combustion takes place and then let the gases produced out.

This part regulates when coolant is pumped into the engine from the radiator. Any ideas as to what it is?

A thermostat ensures that coolant is only pumped from the radiator once the engine has warmed up sufficiently. It does this by measuring the temperature of the engine.

Can you please name this engine part that moves in an up and down motion within a cylinder?

The piston fits snugly within the cylinder. It moves ups and down in the cylinder and is attached to a connecting rod. A piston will compress the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder and help cause combustion.

This engine part is often abbreviated to SOHC. Do you know what it is?

The single overhead camshaft refers to an engine with one camshaft that operates both the exhaust and intake valves.

What is the name of the engine part shown here? It helps offset unwanted crankshaft vibrations.

The balance shaft is a counterweighted engine shaft. It offsets unwanted crankshaft vibrations.

Also commonly called a sleeve in engine lingo, can you name this car part?

The cylinder liner is also known as a sleeve. It's a replaceable, hollow tube that fits into the cylinder bore. The piston then moves within this liner.

Piston pins are also sometimes called this. What part from the list below are we talking about?

A piston pin is known as a wrist pin. It's a tubular metal shaft that attaches a piston to a connecting rod.

Can you name this part, sometimes referred to as the harmonic balancer?

he harmonic balancer is the pulley bolted to the crankshaft. It helps dampen crankshaft vibration, which means the engine runs smoothly.

Can you identify the fastener shown in the image, please?

Head bolts are sometimes referred to as cylinder head bolts. These secure a cylinder head and gasket to the engine block. You don't want these to come loose.

This part is filled with an element on the periodic table. Can you name it?

The sodium-cooled valve is filled with sodium. duh! When heated, the sodium melts and helps to cool things down. This helps to regulate the temperature of the engine.

This engine part is abbreviated as DOHC. What is it?

A DOHC is a Dual (or Double) Overhead Camshaft. It's like a SOHC, but with an extra camshaft! This helps the engine produce more power, perfect for racers!

Can you name this engine part found between the crankshaft and the engine block?

The main bearings are between the crankshaft and the block. The crankshaft rotates on these bearings. All their parts are lubricated by oil.

Do you know the name of this engine part? It relieves pressure by expanding.

The expansion plug provides pressure relief. This is necessary when coolant expands due to freezing temperatures. If the plug didn't expand, the coolant might damage the radiator.

This lever is moved when the pushrod within the engine moves. Can you identify it?

The rocker arm is driven by a pushrod or camshaft lobe. This transfers motion to open and close the valves, which in turn let in the air/fuel mixture.

Can you name this part that helps keep the piston in place?

The piston pin clip is used to keep the piston in place. It is secured on both sides. The piston then moves within the cylinder.

In this image, we have a vital part of an engine. What is it called?

When fuel burns in the engine, it pushes the pistons which in turn rotate the crankshaft. This causes the vehicle to move.

This engine part is only found on some cars and provides more power. What is it?

In simple terms, a turbocharger pushes more air into the engine, which in turn creates more power as more fuel is burned.

In this image we have a car part that moves coolant through the engine. Can you name it please?

This pump ensures that coolant which is kept in the radiator is moved through the coolant system on the car. It will only do so once the thermostat allows it to, and this depends on the temperature of the engine.

What is the name of this engine part?

This part is essential to how your engine runs. It allows the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder of the engine where it will combust, causing the engine to run. It does this by evenly distributing the air/fuel mixture to the intake ports.

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