Many people wonder what is happening under the hood of their vehicle in their engine. To many people, it appears to be just a bunch of metal, tubes, wires, battery and more. When going shopping for a vehicle people will hear things like V-6, duel overhead, fuel injection and wonder what all of this means.

Internal Combustion Engine

The principal behind the combustion engine or motor is that once a small amount of gas in an enclosed space is ignited, a huge amount of expanding gas is released creating energy. This amount of energy can be used to move a potato hundreds of feet. Internal combustion motors are designed to control small explosions that occur several hundred times each minute. The energy created is able to be harnessed in a useful way. Most vehicles utilize a four-stroke combustion cycle system. This is how gas is turned into motion. The four-stroke method is referred to as the Otto cycle.

Parts Of A Car Motor

Car motors are constructed around their cylinders. A vehicle can have between two and twelve cylinders. It is common for a vehicle to have eight, six or four cylinders. The cylinders are where the motor’s fuel burns. They are made of very strong metal, are sealed shut but open at one end. Within them are pistons designed to move up and down inside the cylinder. Each cylinder has two valves. One is an inlet valve designed to permit fuel and air into the cylinder. The fuel and air come from the motor’s electronic fuel injector or carburetor. The outlet valve permits exhaust gasses to leave the cylinder. On the top of the cylinder is a spark plug. It is an electric device designed to create a spark that provides fire to the fuel within the cylinder. At the base of the cylinder is the piston that moves up and down. It is attached to a constantly turning axle. This is known as a crankshaft. The crankshaft is attached to a vehicle’s gearbox. This is what ultimately makes a vehicle’s wheels move.

Oiling System

The oil in car motors is pumped into every one of its moving parts. This is done by the motor’s oil pump. It is connected at the bottom of the oil pan to the crankshaft. It is designed so that when the motor is operating, the oil pump is working. An oil pressure sensor monitors the oil pressure and provides this information to a warning light on the dashboard when there is a problem.

Cooling System

It’s essential internal combustion motors maintain a safe temperature when they are being operated. There is a huge amount of heat created from the combustion process. There are motors which are air-cooled. Most modern motors are liquid cooled. A water pump circulates coolant within these motors. The coolant will cover the hot areas of cylinders. The hot coolant is then sent back to the motor’s radiator to cool down.

Motor Balance

In order to keep internal combustion engines balanced, a flywheel is attached to the back of its crankshaft. This is a disk designed with a diameter between 12 and 15 inches. Motors with standard transmissions will have a flywheel that is a heavy iron disk. It is designed to work with the vehicle’s clutch system. With an automatic transmission, the flywheel is a steel plate. It uses inertia to smooth out a motor’s energy pulses.

Balance Shaft

It is common for some motors to have a rocking motion. This will cause a noticeable vibration when being used. To eliminate this, a motor will come with one or more balance shafts. These are heavy shafts located in motors and placed even with the crankshaft. It is made with weights. When the weights spin, they will offset a motor’s rocking motion. A balance shaft is designed to create an opposite rocking motion.