Engines are some of the most technologically interesting machines on the planet. They’re the result of years of invention, innovation and mastery. You ride in your car every day without realizing the amazing process that’s happening right under the hood.
Camshafts, intake valves, combustion chambers, valve springs, cylinder heads — your internal combustion engine is the heart of your vehicle, but all the parts form an intricate system of veins and arteries that keep the whole thing moving. Whether you need to make sure your knowledge is really up to snuff, or you’re just a little bored at work and mechanically minded, this quiz will give you the ride of your life.
Do cars have more than one piston and valve? Does increasing the number of pistons give you more power? Hey, you’ve got an inquisitive mind, a desire to understand your vehicle and an honest-to-goodness need for speed.
And just because you read this far, here’s a fun fact: A cannon is really just a simple type of combustion engine. The cannonball is packed into the cannon, along with gunpowder. When you light the gunpowder, it creates gas and pressure, so the cannonball flies. See how fascinating this stuff is? Let’s do this!
The engine block is the lower section of the engine. It is cast out of metal and houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders.
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.
The single overhead camshaft refers to an engine with one camshaft that operates both the exhaust and intake valves.
The balance shaft is counter-weighted to offset unwanted crankshaft vibrations.
A bearing is a curved metal piece that reduces friction between components. It comes in many shapes and sizes.
The connecting rod forms the mechanical link between the piston and crankshaft. It converts the up-and-down motion of the pistons into the crankshaft's rotary motion.
This type of valve contains sodium, along with a hollow space. When heated, the sodium melts and helps cool things down.
The cylinder liner is a replaceable, hollow tube that fits into the cylinder bore.
The piston fits snugly within the cylinder. It is attached to the connecting rod and moves up and down within the cylinder during the combustion process.
The oil pan serves as the oil reservoir. It's a removable part that is mounted on the bottom of the cylinder block.
A sprocket is a wheel with a set of teeth on the outer circumference. It drives items like the timing chain/timing belt.
A tappet is a valve filter. It's a cylindrical piece, actuated by the camshaft.
A DOHC is a Dual (or Double) Overhead Camshaft. It's similar to the SOHC (Single Overhead Camshaft), but with an extra camshaft!
An exhaust valve is a camshaft-driven valve in the cylinder head. It releases exhaust gases after combustion.
The harmonic balancer is the pulley bolted to the crankshaft. It helps dampen crankshaft vibrations.
Head bolts, aka cylinder head bolts, secure a cylinder head and gasket to the engine block.
The four-bolt main is the crankshaft main bearing cap used on high-performance vehicles. It's held in place by four bolts instead of two.
The crankshaft spins on the main bearings, which provides support.
The oil control ring controls oil consumption within the cylinder. It falls under the umbrella of piston rings.
The timing belt is a toothed belt. It's usually made of reinforced rubber and it rides on the sprockets.
Timing tubing is not a part. Tubes cannot time. Time cannot be tubed. You get the picture!
'Vibration damper' is another name for the harmonic balancer. Both these names sound like they should be used for musical instruments.
The bearing cap is a retainer usually held in place by threaded studs and bolts, securing the bearing shell.
The cog belt is a toothed belt. A harp pincher and a gallows monger are ... well, whatever you want them to be.
The expansion plug provides pressure relief for changing temperatures. This is necessary when coolant expands and freezes.
The rocker arm is driven by a pushrod or camshaft lobe. This transfers motion to open and close the valves.
The cam follower, also known as a cam lifter, follows the cam lobe profile.
The compression ring is a piston ring that forms a seal with the cylinder wall.
The intake valve is camshaft driven and located in the cylinder head.
An oil slinger is a cone-shaped collar that uses centrifugal force to distribute oil.
The piston pin clip is used to keep the piston in place. It is secured on both sides.
The hydraulic valve lifter uses hydraulic oil pressure. It eliminates the need for valve adjustments.
A piston pin, sometimes called a gudgeon pin in the UK, is a tubular metal shaft that attaches a piston to a connecting rod.
The piston pin bushing is removable. It serves as a bearing surface for the pin.