Car engines are designed around sealed, resilient metal cylinders. Most modern vehicles have between four and eight cylinders, or more .The cylinders are made to open and close at precisely the correct time to bring in fuel to combine with the spark for burning internally, and to release the exhaust gases produced. While there are several components on an engine, we’ve compiled a list of the most essential car engine parts and their functions, that power your vehicle.
Engine Block – This is the very core of the engine. Often made of aluminum or iron, it has several holes to contain the cylinders as well as provide water and oil flow paths to cool and lubricate the engine. Oil paths are narrower than the water flow paths. The engine block also houses the pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, and between four and twelve cylinders—depending on the vehicle, in a line, also known as inline, flat or in the shape of a V.
Pistons – Are a cylindrical apparatus with a flat surface on top. The role of the piston is to transfer energy created from combustion to the crankshaft to propel the vehicle. Pistons travel up and down within the cylinder twice during each rotation of the crankshaft. Inside the piston, lie piston rings that are made to help create compression and reduce the friction from the constant rubbing of the cylinder.
Camshaft – Varying from vehicle to vehicle, the camshaft may either be located within the engine block or in the cylinder heads. Many modern vehicles have them in the cylinder heads, also known as Dual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) or Single Overhead Camshaft (SOHC) and supported by a sequence of bearings that are lubricated in oil for longevity. The role of the camshaft is to regulate the timing of the opening and closing of valves and take the rotary motion from the crankshaft and transfer it to an up and down motion to control the movement of the lifters, moving the pushrods, rockers, and valves.
Crankshaft – The crankshaft is located in the lower section of the engine block, within the crankshaft journals (an area of the shaft that rests on the bearings). This keenly machined and balanced mechanism is connected to the pistons through the connecting rod. Similar to how a jack-in-the-box operates, the crankshaft turns the pistons up and down motion into a reciprocal motion, at engine speed.
Timing Belt/Chain – The camshaft and crankshafts are synchronized to ensure the precise timing in order for the engine to run properly. The belt is made of a heavy-duty rubber with cogs to grasp the pulleys from the camshaft and crankshaft. The chain, similar to your bicycle chain wraps around pulleys with teeth.
Cylinder Head – Attached to the engine through cylinder bolts, sealed with the head gasket. The cylinder head contains many items including the valve springs, valves, lifters, pushrods, rockers, and camshafts to control passageways that allow flow of intake air into the cylinders during the intake stroke as well as exhaust passages that remove exhaust gases during the exhaust stroke.
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