Engines are complex machines that power cars, motorcycles, airplanes, boats, and even factories. You could even say engines make our entire way of life possible! They’re fascinating machines, so whether you want to do some car repairs or are just curious, it’s only natural to want to learn more about engines. Luckily, we’re here to help and answer any questions you might have.


[Edit]How do combustion engines actually work?

  1. Engines burn fuel to release energy and produce motion. Basically, fuel enters the engine through an injector. The spark plug then ignites the fuel to release energy. This energy turns pistons in the engine, which makes the crankshaft turn. The energy then transfers to the car powertrain, which spins the wheels for motion.[1]
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    • This process is how an internal combustion engine works, the type that is in cars and most other motor vehicles. But there are also different engine types, like steam, water, or air-powered ones.

[Edit]What are the parts of a combustion engine?

  1. Engines are complex machines made of many different components. These parts all work together to make the engine run. Some of the parts and their jobs include:[2]
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    • Valves, which open and close the exhaust and air valves to let fuel and air into the engine.
    • Pistons, which compress the gas to make it ignite.
    • The spark plug, which ignites the gas to power the engine.
    • The crankshaft, which spins and produces power.
    • The engine block, the main support structure for all the other pieces of the engine.
    • Combustion engines are usually arranged in a V shape, with a row of cylinders on each side. A V6 engine, for example, has 6 cylinders with 3 on each side.

[Edit]What is the most important part of an engine?

  1. No single piece is more important than the others. Every part of the engine needs to work properly for it to run. If any part isn’t working, then the engine will either run poorly or fail to start altogether. The whole thing needs to stay in good working condition for the best performance.[3]
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    • Not all car problems are problems with the engine. For example, if your battery is dead, the engine won’t start. But this doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your engine.

[Edit]What do combustion engines need to run?

  1. All engines need fuel, air, and a spark to get started. These are the main components of the combustion process that produces energy and makes the engine move. Injectors bring fuel and air into the engine, and the spark ignites the mixture. To continue running, the engine needs a steady supply of fuel and air, because the combustion process will stop without a mixture of both.[4]
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    • A broken or dirty spark plug is a common engine problem. Without the spark, the engine can’t start.
    • Oil isn’t part of the combustion process, but an engine can’t work without it. If the engine doesn’t have enough oil, the moving parts will lock up and the engine won’t run.
    • Every gas car needs to get an oil change.[5]

[Edit]What other types of engines are there?

  1. There are many types of engines and they all work a bit differently. Internal combustion engines are probably what you think of when you think of an engine, but there are lots of others. Here are a few of the other common ones:[6]
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    • External combustion engines, where the fuel burns in a different location outside the engine. A steam engine falls into this category, since the water is boiled in a different spot and then fed through the engine.
    • Reaction engines, also called jet engines. These spin very quickly to force air out the back end, creating motion.
    • Electrical engines use magnetic or electrical energy to produce vibrations. These vibrations when spin a turbine to produce power.

[Edit]What’s the best way to learn about car engines?

  1. Reading your car’s manual is best to learn about your own engine. There are lots of similarities between car engines, but there could be important differences too. That’s why referring to your car’s manual is the best source. This will include all the repair and maintenance information that’s unique to your car.[7]
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    • The owner’s manual should include a diagram of your car’s engine showing its main parts, as well as maintenance information like the correct oil type.
    • If you’ve lost the manual for your car, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. You might also be able to find the manual for your car online.
  2. Reading auto magazines and books or watching videos works too. Your car manual is great for learning the basics of your own engine, but it doesn’t have a lot of information about how engines work. Car magazines, books, shows, podcasts, and videos are all great sources to learn about how engines actually work. These are great sources to learn about engine operation and repair.[8]
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    • Magazines like Car and Driver or Popular Mechanics have lots of great articles about engines, and cars in general. Their websites are also helpful.
    • There are tons of YouTube channels focused on cars that show all the steps for any kind of engine repairs you might have to do.
    • It’s best to stick with sources made by people who actually work on cars, like mechanics. This way, you’ll know the information is coming from someone with experience.

[Edit]Can I work on my car engine myself?

  1. You can definitely do simple work yourself if you’re careful. Some simple tasks including cleaning or changing the spark plug, tightening the fuel cap, and replacing air or fuel valves. You can make these repairs yourself without a lot of experience and simple tools. Bigger jobs like a full engine replacement are better left to a professional.[9]
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    • Even if you’re doing simple work, always follow a good source like a mechanic’s video so you know the right process.
    • Working on newer cars is a bit more difficult than working on older ones because of all the electronic parts in modern cars.
    • If you’re not sure about your automotive skills, then it’s best to let a mechanic work on your car instead. If you make a mistake, then it might not be safe to drive your car.[10]

[Edit]Is anything bad for a car engine?

  1. Yes, lots of driving and operation habits can damage your engine. Like all machines, engines need proper care and maintenance to run smoothly. To get the most out of your engine, follow these habits:[11]
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    • Let the engine warm up before using it.
    • Rev smoothly so the engine doesn’t crank too hard.
    • Keep your fuel level above 1/4 tank so the fuel pump doesn’t clog.
    • Don’t carry more weight than the engine was designed to handle.
    • Perform regular maintenance to catch any problems before they get worse.


  • If you want to learn more about engines and maintenance, you could always take some classes at a local technical school.



Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Learn-About-Engines
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