So you think you're a real gearhead? We've got a quiz to test your knowledge in a specific area ... the components of the engine!
But first, a little background. After millennia of using strong animals like horses and oxen to pull vehicles, or to power other forms of machinery, humans began dreaming of machines that would power themselves. They didn't, however, agree on what kind of fuel might power the earliest engines. One early effort used hydrogen (an idea we've come back to as fossil fuels lose their appeal). The first winner, however, was steam — with coal being the raw fuel that boiled the water. Later, it was largely German engineer Karl Benz (his last name might be familiar) who was responsible for the ultimate decision to use petroleum fuel (that's gasoline, to us everyday people) to power what became known as the internal combustion engine.
"Internal combustion" means that the vehicle or machine has no external power source — it's essentially a little power plant all its own. This is especially true of cars, where the engine not only burns gas to turn the wheels but provides electricity for the car's other systems; its interior lights, the radio, the climate control — the stuff that makes driving a pleasure and not just a convenience.
Are you ready? Good luck!