Basic Parts of the Car Engine

Oct. 13, 2021

Car engines are designed around sealed, flexible metal cylinders. Most modern vehicles have between 4 and 8 cylinders, but some can have up to 16! The cylinders open and close at the correct time to introduce fuel combined with a spark from internal combustion and to release the exhaust gases produced. Although there are multiple components on the engine, we have compiled a list of the most important car basic engine parts and their functions to power your vehicle.


Engine block

This is the heart of the vehicle engine. Usually made of aluminum or iron, it has several holes to house the cylinders and provide a flow path for water and oil to cool and lubricate the engine. The oil path is narrower than the water path. The engine block also contains the pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, and 4 to 12 cylinders - in a straight line, also known as inline, flat, or V-shaped, depending on the vehicle.



Pistons are cylindrical devices with a flat surface on top. The function of the piston is to transfer the energy produced by combustion to the crankshaft in order to propel the vehicle. For every revolution of the crankshaft, the piston moves up and down in the cylinder twice. A piston on an engine rotating at 1250 RPM will move up and down 2500 times per minute. Inside the piston of the vehicle engine, piston rings are placed to help create compression and reduce friction caused by the constant friction of the cylinder.

Vehicle Engine

         Vehicle Engine     


The crankshaft is located in the lower part of the engine block, inside the crankshaft journal (an area of the shaft that sits on bearings). This precision is machined and the balanced mechanism is connected to the piston by a connecting rod. Similar to the way a jack works, the crankshaft converts the up-and-down motion of the piston into a reciprocating motion at engine speed.



Depending on the vehicle, the camshaft of the vehicle engine may be located in the engine block or in the cylinder head. Many modern vehicles have them in the cylinder head, also known as a double overhead camshaft (DOHC) or single overhead camshaft (SOHC), and are supported by a series of bearings lubricated in oil for long life. The function of the camshaft is to regulate the timing of valve opening and closing, to convert the rotational movement of the crankshaft into an up and down movement, to control the movement of the tappets, and to move the pushrods, rocker arms, and valves.


Cylinder head

Attached to the engine by cylinder bolts and sealed with a cylinder gasket. The cylinder head of the vehicle engine contains a number of components including valve springs, valves, tappets, pushrods, rocker arms, and camshafts that control the passages that allow intake air to flow into the cylinder during the intake stroke and the exhaust passages that discharge exhaust gases during the exhaust stroke.


Timing belt/chain - The camshaft and crankshaft are synchronized to ensure precise timing for proper vehicle engine operation. The belt is made of heavy-duty rubber with gears to catch the pulleys of the camshaft and crankshaft. The chain, similar to your bicycle chain, is wrapped around the pulley with teeth.

If you want to get more information about the car engine, welcome to contact us today or request a quote.