Car Engine Parts: Diagram, Function, and How Car Engines Work

A car engine, like a human, requires energy to move. In actuality, the engine’s main function is to use a spark to convert energy from fuel into power to move. To generate movement, this internal combustion produces tiny, confined explosions.

While many of us think of the engine as a single component, it is actually made up of multiple different parts that working simultaneously.

Some of these car engine parts’ names may be familiar to you, but it’s crucial to understand what they do and how they interact with other parts in the engine.

Here is a complete engine parts guide for you to know about cars and their engines and other parts before driving a car.

What is a Car Engine?

An engine is a machine that burns fuel and converts it into mechanical power. Most modern vehicles use internal combustion engines (ICE), which ignite fuel and use the reaction to move mechanical parts. ICE engines burn gasoline or diesel fuel to drive pistons up and down, turning the crankshaft and eventually moving the vehicle’s wheels.

Specifically, an internal combustion engine is a heat engine in that it converts energy from the heat of combustion of gasoline into mechanical work or torque. This torque is applied to the wheels to get the car moving.

And unless you’re driving an ancient two-stroke Saab (which sounds like an old chainsaw and belches oily smoke out of its exhaust), your engine works on the same basic principles whether you drive a Ford or a Ferrari.

Engines have pistons that move up and down in metal tubes called cylinders. Imagine you are riding a bicycle: your legs move up and down to press the pedals.

Pistons are connected to a crankshaft by rods (they’re like your shins) and move up and down to turn the engine’s crankshaft, just as your legs turn those of the bicycle – which in turn turns the bicycle’s drive wheel or car’s drive wheels drives.

Depending on the vehicle, there are typically between two and 12 cylinders in its engine, in each of which a piston moves up and down.

How Does a Car Engine Work?

What powers those pistons up and down are thousands of tiny controlled explosions occurring each minute, created by mixing fuel with oxygen and igniting the mixture. Each time the fuel ignites is called the combustion, or power, stroke. The heat and expanding gases from this mini explosion push the piston down in the cylinder.

Almost all of today’s internal combustion engines (to keep it simple, we’ll focus on gasoline powerplants here) are of the four-stroke variety. Beyond the combustion stroke, which pushes the piston down from the top of the cylinder, there are three other strokes: intake, compression, and exhaust.

Engines need air (namely oxygen) to burn fuel. During the intake stroke, valves open to allow the piston to act like a syringe as it moves downward, drawing in ambient air through the engine’s intake system. When the piston reaches the bottom of its stroke, the intake valves close, effectively sealing the cylinder for the compression stroke, which is in the opposite direction as the intake stroke. The upward movement of the piston compresses the intake charge.

Let’s take a closer look at what happens during each stroke of the combustion cycle.

Four Stroke Engine Cycle
  1. Intake stroke. The piston descends the cylinder bore from the top dead center (TDC) to the bottom dead center (BDC). The intake valve is open and the exhaust valve is shut. The downward motion of the piston creates a vacuum (i.e., negative air pressure), which draws the air/fuel mixture into the engine through the open intake valve.
  2. Compression stroke. The intake valve closes, sealing the combustion chamber. The crankshaft rotates to complete its first full revolution, and drives the piston upwards, compressing the fuel and air mixture.
  3. Power Stroke. A spark plug ignites the air-fuel mixture, and the resulting combustion quickly expands the gases, forcing the piston back down the cylinder.
  4. Exhaust stroke. Finally, the exhaust valve opens, and the piston travels back up one last time, forcing the exhaust gas to leave the cylinder, while the piston applies a fresh coating of oil.

These four strokes of the piston create one combustion cycle and require the valves, piston, crankshaft, cylinder, piston rings and oil to work together for maximum efficiency, performance, and durability.

The intake and exhaust valves are opened and closed by cams on a camshaft driven by a timing belt or chain connected to the engine’s crankshaft.

In a multi-cylinder car engine, the cycles of each cylinder are staggered and evenly spaced so that the combustion strokes are not simultaneous, and the engine is as balanced and quiet as possible.

In general, however, gasoline engines convert 20% of the fuel (chemical energy) into mechanical energy – only 15% is used to move the wheels, while the rest is lost to friction and other mechanical elements.

Now let’s look at all the parts that work together to make this happen. You may have heard of some of these car engine parts names but it’s important to know what their role is and how they relate to other components within the engine.

Car Engine Parts Names with Diagram

Let us see a simple car engine parts diagram including all the main parts which are essential to know. Refer to the below car engine parts diagram so that we can understand the exact location of each one and how it looks.

Car Engine Parts Names with Diagram

These diagrams typically include the engine block, combustion chamber, cylinder head, pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, timing chain, valves, rocker arms, pushrods/lifters, injectors, spark plugs, oil pan, distributor, connecting rods, piston ring, flywheels.

List of Car Engine Parts Names

While many of us think of the engine as one major component, it’s made up of several individual components working simultaneously.

The list of Car Engine parts Name:

Car Engine Parts Names with Diagram

A typical internal combustion engine has around 200 parts that need to be maintained and possibly replaced if they wear out. An electric vehicle takes that number down to around 20 parts.

But don’t worry, we are only discussing the main parts of a car engine.

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Parts of A Car Engine

The different parts that make up your car’s engine consist of: the engine block (cylinder block), combustion chamber, cylinder head, pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, timing chain, valve train, valves, rocker’s arms, pushrods/lifters, fuel injectors, and spark plugs.

#1. The 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.

Common Symptoms of Bad Engine Block:

  • Poor engine performance is caused by low engine compression.
  • Visible engine smoke.
  • Engine overheating is caused by leaking antifreeze.
  • Discoloration in a car’s oil or antifreeze.
  • Leaking oil or coolant.
  • Frozen coolant in the radiator.
  • Excessive smoke from the exhaust; and
  • Low levels of coolant.

#2. The Piston

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.

Pistons on engines that rotate at 1250 RPM, will travel up and down 2500 times per minute. Inside the piston, lie piston rings that are made to help create compression and reduce the friction from the constant rubbing of the cylinder.

Functions performed by the piston:

  • Contributes to the heat dissipation generated during combustion.
  • Ensures the sealing of the combustion chamber and prevents gas leakage and oil penetration into the combustion chamber.
  • Guides the movement of the connecting rod.
  • Ensures continuous gas exchange in the combustion chamber.
  • Creates the variable volume in the combustion chamber.

Most Common Symptoms for Bad Piston:

  • White or gray exhaust smoke
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Low power for acceleration
  • Overall loss of power or poor performance

#3. The Crankshaft

The crankshaft is the part of the engine that rounds out the up and down motion of the pistons. It is connected to rubber belts which are connected to the camshaft allowing for power to be delivered to various parts of the car.

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.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Crankshaft Position Sensor:

  • Issues Starting the Vehicle.
  • Intermittent Stalling.
  • Check Engine Light Comes On.
  • Uneven Acceleration.
  • Engine Misfires or Vibrates.
  • Rough Idle and/or Vibrating Engine.
  • Reduced Gas Mileage.

#4. The Camshaft

The camshaft works with the crankshaft, connected by a timing chain, allowing the intake and outtake valves to open and close according to a specific timeline.

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.

Symptoms of a Bad Camshaft:

  • Active or flashing check engine light.
  • Loss of power.
  • Steady popping/backfire in the intake manifold or exhaust (extreme wear).
  • Loud ticking or tapping sounds.
  • Metal debris in the engine oil.
  • Cylinder misfire.
  • Increased emissions because of misfiring.
  • Visible signs of damage.

#5. The Connecting Rod

A connecting rod connects the piston to the crankshaft in a piston engine. The connecting rod. in conjunction with the crank, converts the piston’s reciprocating action into crankshaft rotation.

It allows pivoting on the piston end and rotation on the shaft end in its most typical configuration in an internal combustion engine.

A mechanical connection employed by water mills to transform the spinning action of the water wheel into reciprocating motion is the forerunner to the connecting rod.

Symptoms of a Bad Connecting Rod:

  • Low Compression
  • Engine Knocking Sounds (Rod Knock)
  • Low Oil or Oil Pressure
  • Visibly Bent or Damaged Rod
  • Seized Engine

#6. Timing Belts

The camshaft and crankshaft, as mentioned above, are connected by a timing belt. These parts work together to make sure certain actions take place at certain times, which is vital for the functioning of the engine.

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.

Symptoms of Bad Timing Belt:

  • Ticking noise coming from the engine
  • The engine won’t turn over.
  • The engine acts up between 2,000 – 4,000 RPM.
  • The engine misfires.
  • More smoke and fumes than normal
  • Oil leaks from the front of the motor

#7. Spark Plugs

A spark plug, also called as a Sparking Plug, is a device with two electrodes that fits into the cylinder head of an intrinsic ignition engine.

It is separated by an air gap over which electricity from a high-tension ignition system discharges, forming a spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture.

The electrodes must tolerate high temperatures, and the insulator between them must withstand high temperatures as well as electric stress of several thousand volts. The energy of the spark is influenced by the length of the spark gap, and the working temperature is influenced by the shape of the insulator.

When the temperature is too low, carbonization and short-circuiting of the gap occur; when the temperature is too high, preignition may occur.

If the voltage supplied to the plug is high enough, electrical energy is delivered via the spark plug, leaping the gap in the plug’s firing end.

The gasoline/air mixture in the combustion chamber is ignited by this electrical spark. The plug is linked to the high voltage produced by an ignition coil or magneto.

A spark plug is an electrical device that inserts into the cylinder head of some internal combustion engines and uses an electric spark to ignite compressed aerosol gasoline.

Spark plugs have an insulated center electrode connected by a heavily insulated wire to an ignition coil or magneto circuit on the exterior, generating a spark gap inside the cylinder with a grounded terminal on the plug’s base.

Symptoms of bad spark plugs can include:

  • Reduced gas mileage.
  • Lack of acceleration.
  • Hard starts.
  • Engine misfires.
  • Rough idling.

#8. Cylinder Head

The cylinder head sits above the engine’s cylinders creating a space at the top of the chamber for combustion.

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, spark plugs, fuel injectors 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.

These are the entry and exit points for air, fuel, and exhaust gases.

Symptoms of a Cracked Cylinder Head:

#9. The Oil Pan

The oil pan is a vital, though simple, part of your engine’s lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine.

The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so the oil mustn’t leak out. Since it’s a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to.

Symptoms of a Bad Oil Pan:

  • The low oil warning light comes on.
  • You see a puddle of oil under your car.
  • Your oil level has dropped unexpectedly.
  • Your engine is overheating.
  • You notice a burning smell coming from the engine.

#10. Engine Valve

There are two types of engine valves: intake and exhaust. The intake valves allow air (and fuel in the case of port injection) into the engine, whereas the exhaust valves allow exhaust gases to exit.

Depending on the engine’s design, there are usually two to four valves per cylinder. The valves are located in the cylinder head.

In an OHV engine, the camshaft operates a lifter, which, in turn, moves a pushrod that opens the valve with a rocker arm. An OHC engine will have a different setup in which the camshaft may open the valve via a bucket tappet, camshaft follower, or some other means. Each valve has a spring that keeps it closed against its seat until the camshaft forces it open.

The symptoms of bad valves include:

  • Cold Engine.
  • Off-Throttle Braking.
  • Idling.
  • Excessive Oil Consumption.
  • Excessive Smoke.
  • Loss of Engine Power.

#11. Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is where the energy is transformed in the combustion process. This is the area of the engine in which the fuel, air, electricity, and pressure have an explosive reaction that causes the pistons to move up and down. The movement of the pistons gives the car the power to move.

What happens if oil gets into the combustion chamber? Oil burning in the combustion chamber leads to blue-grey-colored exhaust gases. Oil enters the chamber past the valves and piston rings. Worn valve seals allow oil to seep into the cylinders overnight, resulting in blue-tinted exhaust fumes in the morning.

#12. Intake Manifold

The intake manifold in a car is part of the engine that distributes the airflow between the cylinders. Often an intake manifold holds the throttle valve (throttle body) and some other components.

In some V6 and V8 engines, an intake manifold can be made of several separate sections or parts.

The intake air flows through the air filter, intake boot (snorkel), then through the throttle body, into the intake manifold plenum, then through the runners, and into the cylinders. The throttle valve (body) controls the engine rpm by adjusting the amount of airflow.

Symptoms Of A Bad Intake Manifold:

#13. Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is generally simply a cast iron or stainless steel unit that collects engine exhaust gas from multiple cylinders and delivers it to the exhaust pipe. It is connected to exhaust valves. Its construction is the same as the inlet manifold.

The exhaust manifold has the same function in both petrol and diesel engines, in both cases, it carries exhaust gas.

Symptoms of a Cracked or Bad Exhaust Manifold:

  • Check Engine Light Will Turn On
  • Burning Smells.
  • Performance Problems or Sluggish Acceleration.
  • Poor Fuel Economy.
  • Loud Exhaust Noise
  • Visible Damage.

#14. Piston Ring

A piston ring is a metallic split ring that is attached to the outer diameter of a piston in an internal combustion engine or steam engine.

The main functions of piston rings in engines are:

  • Sealing the combustion chamber so that there is minimal loss of gases to the crankcase.
  • Improving heat transfer from the piston to the cylinder wall.
  • Maintaining the proper quantity of oil between the piston and the cylinder wall
  • Regulating engine oil consumption by scraping oil from the cylinder walls back to the sump.

Most piston rings are made from cast iron or steel.

Symptoms of Bad Piston Ring:

  • Discolored or excessive exhaust.
  • Oil leaks or profuse oil consumption.
  • Declining engine performance.
  • Low acceleration.
  • Oil in the intake manifold.

#15. Gudgeon Pin

A gudgeon pin, also known as a wrist pin, is an important component in an internal combustion engine.

It creates a connection between the connecting rod and the piston. Gudgeon pins can also be used with connecting rods and wheels or cranks.

#16. Cam

These are an integral part of camshafts. Due to cams, a camshaft is known as a camshaft. The cams are mounted on the camshaft to control the inlet and exhaust valve timing.

Now, we are talking about the most important car engine part.

#17. Flywheel

The flywheel is attached to the rear of the crankshaft. When the vehicle is running, the flywheel stores inertial energy created during engine firing pulses to help the crankshaft maintain a constant speed.

Vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission have a device called a flexplate that’s similar to a flywheel. However, flexplates are thinner than flywheels because automatic transmissions have a type of fluid coupling device, called a torque converter, that helps dampen engine firing pulses.

The flywheels (or flexplate) also has a toothed outer ring gear that can make contact with the starter motor’s pinion gear. When the ignition key is turned to the “start” position, the starter motor rotates the flywheel to get the engine turning and the vehicle running.

Symptoms of a Bad Flywheel:

  • Slipping Gears.
  • Cannot Change Gears.
  • Burning Odor.
  • Vibrations of the Clutch (Clutch Chatter).
  • Unable to Start, or Inconsistent Starts.
  • Engine Stalling.
  • Engine Vibrations with Clutch Engaged.

#18. Head Gasket

The head gasket is an important part of a car engine, it provides the seal between the engine block and cylinder head(s). A car engine is divided into two main parts, the engine block, which houses the pistons and cylinders, and the cylinder head, which contains parts such as valves, spark plugs, etc.

The main function of the head gasket is to seal the combustion gases within the cylinders and to avoid coolant or engine oil leaking into the cylinders. Leaks in the head gasket can cause poor engine performance.

For this reason, most manufacturers use thin layers of steel when making head gaskets, making them more durable and longer lasting. As an important part of your car frame, it plays the same role as the skeleton of your car body.

As an engine, downsizing is one of the most noticeable trends in modern cars, nowadays head gaskets are also lighter and stiffer.

Signs Your Head Gasket Is Blown:

  • Engine Overheating.
  • White Smoke from Tailpipe.
  • Low Coolant Level.
  • Rough Idle/Engine Knock.
  • Contaminated Engine Oil.

#19. Cylinder Liner

A cylinder liner is a thin metal cylinder-shaped part to be fitted into an engine block to form a cylinder. It is one of the most important functional parts to make up the interior of an engine.

The cylinder liner, serving as the inner wall of a cylinder, forms a sliding surface for the piston rings while retaining the lubricant within.

During use, the cylinder liner is subject to wear from the rubbing action of the piston rings and piston skirt. This wear is minimized by the thin oil film which coats the cylinder walls and also by a layer of glaze that naturally forms as the engine is run in.

#20. Crankcase

A crankcase is the housing for the crankshaft in a reciprocating internal combustion engine. In most modern engines, the crankcase is integrated into the engine block.

Two-stroke engines typically use a crankcase-compression design, resulting in the fuel/air mixture passing through the crankcase before entering the cylinder(s). This design of the engine does not include an oil sump in the crankcase.

Four-stroke engines typically have an oil sump at the bottom of the crankcase and the majority of the engine’s oil is held within the crankcase.

The fuel/air mixture does not pass through the crankcase in a four-stroke engine, however, a small amount of exhaust gasses often enters as a “blow-by” from the combustion chamber.

The crankcase often forms the lower half of the main bearing journals (with the bearing caps forming the other half), although in some engines the crankcase surrounds the main bearing journals.

#21. Engine Distributor

A distributor is an enclosed rotating shaft used in spark-ignition internal combustion engines that have mechanically timed ignition.

The distributor’s main function is to route secondary, or high voltage, current from the ignition coil to the spark plugs in the correct firing order, and for the correct amount of time.

Except in magneto systems and many modern computer-controlled engines that use crank angle/position sensors, the distributor also houses a mechanical or inductive breaker switch to open and close the ignition coil’s primary circuit.

Symptoms of a Bad Engine Distributor:

  • Your car won’t start.
  • Your engine keeps misfiring or backfiring.
  • Your car is shaking.
  • Your check engine light comes on.
  • You hear a high-pitched noise coming from under the hood.
  • You failed your last emissions test.

#22. Distributor O ring

Distributors commonly employ a specifically sized o-ring that fits on the distributor’s shaft to seal it with the engine referred to as the distributor o-ring.

The distributor o-ring simply seals the distributor housing with the engine to prevent oil leaks at the base of the distributor. When the o-ring fails it can cause oil leaks from the base of the distributor, which can lead to other problems.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Distributor O Ring:

  • Oil leaking from the base of the distributor.
  • Lack of power.
  • The engine running rough.
  • Engine misfire.

#23. Cylinder Headcover

In many modern four-stroke engines, the cylinder head cover houses the upper actuation elements of the engine control unit as well as the valves in the crankcase ventilation with all its peripheral devices.

Additionally, it protects the engine from dirt or other foreign objects.

#24. Rubber Grommet

Rubber grommets are used to protect or cover holes and reduce vibration. Inserting a rubber grommet will help eliminate sharp edges and protect the engine valve to pass through a hole. The rubber grommet will help shield the valve from damage.

#25. Oil Filter

Waste is also removed by the car’s oil filter. It maintains the car’s engine operating smoothly by catching harmful particles, dirt, and metal fragments in the engine oil.

Without an oil filter, dangerous particles might enter the engine’s oil and cause damage. Filtering out the garbage ensures that the engine oil remains cleaner for longer. Hence, it’s essential to select automotive oil filter manufacturers wisely.

Many manufacturers recommend replacing the oil filter at every second oil change. So if you are on a 3,000-mile cycle you would change your filter every 6,000; If you are on a 6,000-mile cycle (like most modern vehicles) you would change it every 12,000 miles.

#26. Camshaft Pulley

A cam pulley is part of the timing system in an engine used to control the rate of rotation of the camshaft, the component that controls the poppet valves responsible for air intake and exhaust in the cylinders.

The cam pulley articulates with the timing chain to rotate the camshaft in synchronicity with the crankshaft.

#27. Timing Belt Drive Pulley

A timing belt pulley is a specialized pulley system with teeth or pockets along the outside of the pulley body’s diameter.

The teeth or pockets on the outside of the pulley are not used for power transmission. Rather, they engage the pulley belt, assisting with timing and averting misalignment.

Symptoms Of a Bad Timing Belt Pulley:

  • Shaky, or otherwise encumbered belt motion.
  • Visible wear on your pulleys.
  • Belt “squealing” or “whining” noises.
  • Knocking or slapping noises.
  • Damaged bearings or pulleys.

#28. Water Pump

A vehicle’s water pump is a belt-driven pump that derives its power from the crankshaft of the engine. Designed as a centrifuge, the water pump draws the cooled fluid from the radiator through the pump’s center inlet.

It then circulates the fluid outward into the engine and back into the car’s cooling system.

Common Causes of Water Pump Failure:

  • Contaminated coolant. One of the most common causes of premature water pump failure is excessive levels of contaminants in your coolant supply.
  • Mixed coolant types. Many car owners simply assume that all engine coolants have the same basic formula. Each of these coolant types uses a different inhibitor technology designed to protect your engine.
  • Cavitation. Cavitation is caused by bubbles – also known as vapor cavities – in the coolant. When such bladders are pressurized within the pump, they often implode. This implosion causes damage to the walls of the pump.

Symptoms of a Failing Water Pump in Your Car:

  • Leaking coolant.
  • Overheating engine.
  • Coolant leaks into the oil.
  • Engine noise.

#29. Turbocharger and Supercharger

“Supercharging” and “turbocharging” are terms you’ve probably heard before. Both devices are used to increase the power output of an engine by compressing the air entering the engine.

The compressed air allows more fuel to be burned, which produces more power. The main difference between the two is how they are powered.

A turbocharger uses the velocity and heat energy of the hot exhaust gases pouring out of an engine’s cylinders to power a turbine, which drives a small compressor or impeller, which in turn crams more air back into the engine. 

A supercharger also pumps additional air into the engine but is instead driven mechanically by the engine via a belt running off the crankshaft, or by an electric motor.

Turbochargers are great for their ability to produce more power from a smaller engine size, and the ceiling for that extra power is pretty high. Not only can you change the size of the turbo for more power, but the turbocharger itself can be switched to produce more or less boost.

Superchargers can deliver their power directly from the engine pulley instead of waiting for the exhaust to build up. As a result, there is no turbo lag. And compared to turbocharged engines (including the associated piping), supercharged engines are relatively simple.

The symptoms of a damaged or failing turbo are:

  • Loss of power.
  • Slower, louder acceleration.
  • Difficulty maintaining high speeds.
  • Blue/grey smoke coming from the exhaust.
  • The engine dashboard light is showing.

Symptoms of a bad supercharger may include:

  • The ticking sound coming from the motor
  • Decreased fuel efficiency.
  • Immediate loss of power

#30. Oil Pans Drain Bolt.

The oil drain plug is typically located on the bottom of the engine on the oil pan. It is used to drain the oil from your pan during an oil change. If you notice a leak at the oil plug, in some cases it can be as simple as replacing the gasket.

If the bolt or oil pan has been cross-threaded, you may need a new oil drain plug. In some cases, an oversized oil drain plug will cut new threads to help you avoid replacing the entire oil pan.

Check out some of the most common signs that your oil drain plug is worn out and needs replacing.

  • A puddle of engine oil under your car
  • Visible damage to the drain plug
  • Dropping oil level
  • Engine performance problems

#31. The valvetrain

The valvetrain is the part of the engine that controls the movement of the valves. It is made up of the valves, as well as the pushrods and lifters, and rocker arms. It is connected to the cylinder head.

#32. The rocker arms

The rocker arms work with the cams (from the camshaft) to press down on the valve system and let the needed air into the chamber or the exhaust out.

#33. The pushrods/lifters

In engines (overhead valve engines) in which the camshaft lobes don’t touch the rocker arms, the pushrods/lifters are used in place in the valve system.

#34. Throttle Body

The throttle body is responsible for regulating the amount of air that enters the engine. By controlling the size of the opening, it dictates the engine’s power output and RPMs based on driver input.

#35. The fuel injectors

For the combustion process to occur, fuel is necessary. The fuel injectors work to move fuel into the cylinders. There are three different fuel injection systems: direct fuel injection, ported fuel injection, and throttle body fuel injection.

#36. Air Intake System

The air intake system is responsible for delivering clean air to the engine. It includes an air filter to remove impurities and a series of ducts or tubes that guide the air into the intake manifold. The throttle body controls the amount of air entering the engine, affecting its performance.

#37. Air Filter

In a car, the intake manifold is the component of the engine that distributes airflow between the cylinders. An intake manifold frequently houses the throttle valve and accompanying components.

An intake manifold in some V6 and V8 engines can be made up of numerous independent sections or pieces.

The intake air passes through the air filter, the intake boot (snorkel), the throttle body, the intake manifold plenum, the runners, and the cylinders. The throttle valve (body) adjusts the quantity of airflow to control the engine rpm.

#38. Fuel Delivery System

The fuel delivery system ensures the engine gets the right amount of fuel to mix with the incoming air. It includes components like the fuel pump, fuel injectors, and the fuel tank. Fuel injectors precisely spray fuel into the intake manifold, where it mixes with the incoming air. This mixture is then compressed in the cylinders before ignition.

#39. Lubrication System

The lubrication system’s primary job is to reduce friction and wear among moving parts. It relies on engine oil, an oil pump, and a network of channels to distribute oil to various engine components. Without proper lubrication, the engine’s moving parts would grind against each other, causing significant damage.

#40. Cooling System

Engines can get scorching hot during operation, and overheating can lead to severe damage. The cooling system prevents this by using a mix of water and coolant to regulate the engine’s temperature.

The water pump circulates coolant through the engine and radiator, where heat is dissipated into the surrounding air. A thermostat helps maintain the engine at the optimal temperature for efficiency and longevity.

Read more: 50 Basic Parts of a Car With Name & Diagram

Common Engine Problems

With so many mechanisms performing many tasks at lightning speed, over time, parts may begin to wear causing your car to behave differently. Here are the most common engine problems and their associated symptoms:

  • Poor compression – Results in loss of power, misfiring, or no-start.
  • Cracked engine block – Causes overheating, smoke coming from the exhaust, or coolant leaks, usually identified on the side of the engine.
  • Damaged Pistons, Rings, and/or Cylinders – Exhibit rattling sounds, blue smoke coming from the exhaust, rough idle, or a failed emissions test.
  • Broken or worn Rods, Bearings, & Pins – Cause tapping or ticking sounds, low oil pressure, metal shavings found in engine oil, or rattling upon acceleration.

Car engines may seem complicated, but their task is simple: to propel your vehicle forward. With so many components working together to create this motion, your vehicle must receive proper maintenance to ensure its longevity.

Regularly scheduled oil changes, fluid flushes, and changing belts and hoses at the recommended time is a great way to help prevent the unfortunate circumstance of a failed engine.

Car Engine Parts Video


What Is an Engine?

An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one or more forms of energy into mechanical energy. Most modern vehicles use internal combustion engines (ICE), which ignite the fuel and use the reaction to move mechanical parts.

How Does a Car Engine Work?

The engine consists of a fixed cylinder and a moving piston. The expanding combustion gases push the piston, which in turn rotates the crankshaft. Ultimately, through a system of gears in the powertrain, this motion drives the vehicle’s wheels.

What are the different parts of an engine?

The different parts that make up your car’s engine consist of: the engine block (cylinder block), combustion chamber, cylinder head, pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, timing chain, valve train, valves, rocker’s arms, pushrods/lifters, fuel injectors, and spark plugs.

How many parts are in a car engine?

A common internal combustion engine has around 200 parts that need to be maintained and possibly replaced if they wear out. An electric vehicle takes that number down to around 20 parts.

What Engine Does My Car Have?

You can identify your car’s engine type by the VIN found in the owner’s manual or under the hood. The eighth digit contains the information on the engine.