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The engine is one of the most important components of your vehicle; it converts fuel into power that can move your vehicle via a process known as internal combustion. The internal combustion process ignites a pressurized air-fuel mixture inside each of the engine cylinders. The resulting pressure that is created moves the piston in each cylinder up and down, which rotates the crankshaft. Finally, the rotating crankshaft sends this engine power to the transmission, which transmits this power to the wheels to make them move.

Key parts of a car engine


A piston is a cylindrical piece of metal that move up and down as the air-fuel mixture around it is ignited. This creates a pressurized force that rotates the crankshaft below through a connecting rod. The force that’s created will eventually make its way to the car wheels and allow them to move. There is one piston inside each engine cylinder and the engine will have anywhere between four and ten cylinders depending on the type of car.


The crankshaft intakes the force created by the pistons through connecting rods and pass this engine power along to the transmission, where the power gets distributed to the wheels. The crankshaft will rotate as it does this. It is typically made up of a single steel bar and is held in place by several lubricated bearings that are very important in allowing the crankshaft to run.

Engine Block

Engine block simply refers to the group of cylinders, pistons, and connecting rods that sit in the center of the engine.

Head Gaskets

Head gaskets are tight seals that bind the engine cylinders to the rest of the engine block. They help keep out fluids like coolant and engine oil and provide the necessary amount of compression necessary for the cylinders to create power.

Ignition System

The ignition system is responsible for igniting the air-fuel mixture that powers the engine pistons. An ignition coil sends voltage to each of the spark plugs through a distributor. The spark plugs then produce a spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture and gets the combustion process started. There is at least one spark plug for every engine cylinder. The ignition coil, distributor, and spark plugs as well as a variety of different sensors make up the ignition system.

Fuel System

The fuel system provides the gasoline that makes up part of the air-fuel mixture to the engine. The gasoline is drawn from the fuel tank by the fuel pump, where it is sent through the fuel lines to the fuel pressure regulator. The fuel pressure regulator will pressurize the fuel before it is released as a fine mist into the engine by the fuel injectors. On many modern vehicles, the fuel pump and pressure regulator are housed inside of the fuel tank.

Engine Cooling System

The engine cooling system keeps the engine from overheating and cools down the coolant fluid used to cool the engine. A water pump sends hot coolant from the engine through the radiator, where passing cool air or a radiator fan cools it before it is sent back to the engine. The coolant expansion tank helps keep the temperature of the coolant stable so that it does not evaporate. A thermostat at the center of the cooling system controls the entire process.

Engine maintenance

The engine is central to the process of allowing your car to move. Make sure you take good care of it by attending to routine engine maintenance tasks like coolant flushes and spark plug replacements. If you notice any issues, weird noises, or drops in performance from your engine, get your engine inspected by a car care professional right away. Your technician will determine if there is something wrong with the engine and whether an engine rebuild or replacement is necessary.

The best way to get maintenance done on your engine is to book your appointment through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes car care simple and guarantees that you’ll pay less than retail price on all car maintenance services.

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