The Ultimate Automotive Physics Quiz
by Staff
Don't be intimidated by this quiz if you don't can't tell a carburetor from an alternator. Take it and learn a little something about what's going on under the hood of your car.

Almost all cars convert gasoline into motion with a _____-stroke combustion cycle.

  • one
  • two
  • three
  • four
  • five

In a multi-cylinder car engine, what are the three ways in which the cylinders can be arranged?

  • inline, V and flat
  • stacked, Z and inline
  • flat, T and parallel

The "big three" engine problems are: lack of spark, lack of compression and ________.

  • cracked cylinder
  • oil leak
  • bad fuel mix
  • misfiring pistons
  • electrical malfunction
  • potato in tailpipe

Why do you need to keep proper oil levels in your car?

  • to keep the carburetor carbureting
  • so the pistons can move in their cylinders
  • so the valves can open and close
  • to avoid overreliance on the alternator

What's one component a gasoline engine has that a diesel engine doesn't?

  • spark plugs
  • alternator
  • piston
  • turbine
  • supercharger
  • intercooler
  • connecting rod

What's the system that opens and closes a car's valves?

  • rotor
  • camshaft
  • distributor
  • ignition module
  • carburetor
  • timing belt

What are the two components of a car's cooling system?

  • carburetor and water pump
  • coil and radiator
  • radiator and water pump

What engine component is absent in a fuel-injected car?

  • catalytic converter
  • carburetor
  • muffler
  • alternator
  • rotor
  • turbocharger

The catalytic converter is part of which engine system?

  • air-intake
  • emission control
  • valve train
  • cooling

The three most important factors in car aerodynamics are drag, lift and __________.

  • downforce
  • upforce

As an object accelerates, its velocity and drag …

  • increase
  • decrease

What happens when a car's drag is equal to its weight?

  • Its acceleration rate doubles.
  • It can no longer accelerate.
  • It spontaneously combusts.

Car designers use this information to figure out a car's drag coefficient. The lower the drag coefficient, the ___________ a car is.

  • more aerodynamic
  • less aerodynamic

What's the drag coefficient of most cars today?

  • 0.3
  • 0.7
  • 2.1
  • 3.2

What's the drag coefficient of most SUVs and pickup trucks?

  • 0.2
  • 0.3
  • 0.4
  • 0.5

Decreasing a car's drag coefficient by .01 can result in how much of an increase in fuel economy?

  • .2 miles per gallon
  • 2 miles per gallon

What's the drag coefficient of the Toyota Prius?

  • 0.16
  • 0.26
  • 0.36

In the 1930s, Chrysler introduced a car that made major improvements in aerodynamics. What was it called?

  • the Arrow
  • the Aero
  • the Aviator
  • the Airflow
  • the Teardrop

Car designers used to use wind tunnels to test aerodynamics, but now they generally utilize _________.

  • computer simulations
  • outdoor test tracks

A typical Formula One racecar has a drag coefficient of .7 -- so how does it go so fast?

  • The lift is maximized.
  • The downforce is maximized.