How Does a Car Engine Work: Parts, Functions and Fundamentals
You might sometimes wonder how amazing a car is! You put in some liquid, sit on a car seat, and get that whole thing running on the roads with some simple hand and foot movement. We would have never thought that a metal box could drive us to places, but things have changed, and they will improve with time.
Let’s look at the car's main component - the engine and its working alongside its different parts and processes.
What Are the Parts of a Car Engine?
Before diving into the details of the working of a car engine, we must know what its components are. So, the engine can be divided primarily into 3 main parts, and they are:
- The Cylinder Head: The cylinder head is the region through which the fuel enters, and the exhaust gases leave the engine. It comprises the camshafts, valves, and spark plug.
- The Cylinder Block: The cylinder block is responsible for all the combustion that occurs inside the engine. The key parts of the cylinder block are the crankshaft, combustion chamber, and piston.
- The Oil Sump: It is the lowest part of a car engine that consists of the oil pan and the oil filter.
What Is the Function of a Car Engine?
- The function of a car engine is to convert fuel into mechanical energy, which ultimately powers the vehicle. It is the heart of the vehicle and is responsible for generating the force necessary to move the car, operate various components and provide power for accessories like the air conditioning, lights, and electrical systems.
- Essentially, the engine functions by igniting fuel in the combustion chamber, creating a controlled explosion that produces force that is then transferred to the wheels via the transmission.
- The engine's internal components, such as pistons, crankshaft, valves, and camshafts, work together to facilitate this combustion process and convert the energy into rotational motion.
What Are the Fundamentals of a Car Engine?
Modern car engines follow the 4-stroke principle that focuses on creating usable power in just 4 strokes. Each stroke refers to the movement of the piston from the lowest position to the highest position possible, respectively and vice versa. The details about the 4 strokes of the car engine are discussed in the next section.
What Are the 4 Strokes of the Car Engine?
The 4 strokes of the car engine basically refer to the four-stroke combustion cycle that includes Intake, Compression, Combustion, and Exhaust. Let’s take a detailed look at each one of them:
- Intake: This cycle is marked by the intake valve opening to bring air and gas into the engine.
- Compression: As this cycle begins, the piston comes upward and pushes the sir and the gas into further smaller space. Small space ensures more power is put into the explosion.
- Combustion: The spark plug present in the car engine ignites and explodes the gas after it has been compressed in the previous cycle. This results in the piston moving down.
- Exhaust: This is the last part of the cycle, where the exhaust valve is opened to pass out the waste gas that resulted from the explosion. It is also treated with catalysts before passing it out through the tailpipe.
After the gases are released through the tailpipe, the piston emits a force on the crankshaft.
What Happens Inside the Car Engine Head?
The combustion process is initiated in the car engine head, which begins at the intake manifold. The intake manifold lets the air-fuel mixture enter the combustion chamber. While the air is sucked from the throttle body, the fuel is injected from the end of the manifold through the fuel injector.
What Happens Inside the Car Engine Block?
After the car engine has got all the components, it is now time for the most important work, that is, the combustion process. The combustion occurs in the combustion chamber. Well, here, the key component is the piston, as the movement of the piston is started by the rotational force generated on the wheels.
After that, this piston generates usable power with the help of 4 strokes, that is described in the previous sections.
What Problems Are Associated with the Car Engine?
If a car engine is not maintained properly and used above its capacity, it might face some serious issues which may result in the malfunctioning of a car engine. Let’s get acquainted with some of them:
- Engine Coolant Gets Dirty: You must flush your car radiator over 100,000 miles as the sediments in the dirty coolant may clog the radiator and thereby cause overheating of the vehicle.
- Combustion Parts Get Worn: The combustion parts make up an integral part of a car engine, and if found to get damaged, your vehicle will gradually lose compression and perform poorly.
- Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor: The oxygen sensor can really affect your engine’s performance if you don’t keep a check on it after 80,000 miles to 100,000 miles of driving.
- Motor Oil Buildup: Not changing your oil and filter every 3,000 miles will contribute to sludge build-up throughout your car engine with time. The sludge mainly gets deposited on the crucial parts of the engine, such as the intake valves and the spark plugs.
- Oil Starvation: Oil is an essential ingredient in the proper functioning of a car engine. So, if your car engine is starved of oil, it will lead the parts to wear against each other and eventually fail. This generally has two causes: a failing oil pump and no motor oil. The former cause is primarily seen.
The engines are the most important part of a car, and without an engine, the car is useless. After reading this article, you will be able to have a basic idea about the working of a car engine and the associated problems. Save this page and thank us later!