Automobile Anatomy: All About Car Engine Parts
A car’s engine is a complex machine. Its main job is to transform the energy from fuel to working power. The basic mechanism is based on a four-stroke internal combustion engine that has four main stroke cycles: intake, compression, combustion and exhaust.
The types of car engines and how they work vary according to the layout and fuel they consume. For this guide, we are going to discuss the most commonly used petrol engine. Let’s dissect the engine and see how every component comes together to work.
Car Engine Parts
Car engine operates with the help of several internal components. Modern car engines come in a variety of cylinder configurations ranging from four-cylinder to eight-cylinder. The difference in configuration gives us different types of engines like inline and v type engines. Despite the differences, the main parts of the engine and their main function remains the same.
The engine block is the outer structure of the engine that is usually made of cast iron or aluminium alloy. Where iron was known for its durability, modern cars utilise aluminium alloys primarily due to its low weight and better heat transference properties.
The engine block is basically where the combustion occurs. It consists of various openings for oil flow and holes to house essential components like pistons.
Pistons have a cylinder shape with a flat top surface usually made of aluminium alloy or in some cases, steel or cast iron. The piston tends to travel upward and downward in order to transform the energy generated through the combustion of air and fuel mixture.
It is connected to the crankshaft via a connecting rod. The piston movement rotates the crankshaft to propel the vehicle. The average speed of the piston is based on time taken for a complete cycle. It usually takes the number of strokes and revolution per minute (RPM) into account.
In short, higher piston speed means better engine performance provided everything works in synchronized order.
Crankshaft is located at the lower section of the engine, connected to the piston via connecting rods. The up and down movement of the piston allows crankshaft to rotate and transfer power to the gearbox, which ultimately drives the wheels.
The cylinder head is located at the upper section of the engine, attached via cylinder bolts. It seals the chamber passageway through the head gasket to prevent gases from escaping. The cylinder head has various components that control the intake, combustion and exhaust of gases including valves, spark plugs and fuel injector.
The camshaft is usually located within the engine block or in case of modern vehicles, in the cylinder heads. The purpose of camshaft is to control the operation of the intake and exhaust valves. It does that by regulating the timing of valves through reciprocal motion for optimum performance.
Valves are located in the cylinder head and controlled via camshaft to timely regulate the flow of fuel and air and exhaust the residual gases accordingly.
The flywheel looks like a heavy disc, inserted at the end of crankshaft to transmit the engine power. The main function is to even out the energy flow from the piston for a smoother operation.
In technical terms, the high rotational inertia of the flywheel allows it to compensate for fluctuation in the speed of engine and store the excess energy for intermittent use.
The timing belt is also known as a cam belt and is made of high tensile rubber with teeth. It synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and camshafts to allow timely opening and closing of valves during the intake and exhaust strokes.
A worn out timing belt means your pistons will go out of sync, which can cause the engine to misfire. Ideally, you should replace the car’s timing belt immediately as delaying the replacement can damage the engine including valves, cylinder head, camshaft, cylinder wall and piston as well.
The oil pan or sump is attached to the bottom section of the engine and acts as the reservoir for oil. The oil is pumped through a filter to remove contaminations and across the engine to clean, lubricate and cool the components.
The oil dipstick usually extends to the oil pan to check the level of engine oil. A drain plug is located at the bottom of the sump in order to drain used oil for replacement.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a car engine last?
Modern cars with improved technology and better service standards can surpass average life expectancy of about 10 years or up to 200,000 km. However, in practice there is no exact number to define the lifespan of an engine. Regular maintenance and way of driving plays an essential role in extending the engine life.
How many types of car engines are there?
Car engines come in a wide variety based on fuel, layout configuration and number of cylinders. In general, there are three types of engine, petrol, diesel and hybrid. Some common engine designs include inline and V layout that can come with up to sixteen cylinder configurations.
A car engine works with the help of multiple integral parts. Many of these parts are dependent on timely function for smoother operation. Although problems with engines are expensive to repair, such issues are often indicated with warning signs. For instance, a squealing sound might indicate a worn timing belt or a clogged engine air filter might reduce engine efficiency and fuel economy.
Modern vehicles are equipped with various dashboard check lights to identify engine problems. Taking care of repair work beforehand can prevent engine damage and help extend its life. Check out our range of new and used auto accessories and parts in the UAE for affordable replacement of auto engine parts.
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