Auto Mechanics 101: Are You a Car Expert?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Cars are simply fascinating, aren't they?

Made from thousands and thousands of parts, they are getting more advanced every year. Particularly when it comes to the thing that makes them go from A to B. 

No, not a global positioning satellite system. The engine! 

Thanks to those mechanical and automotive geniuses over a century ago, we have some unbelievable pieces of machinery on the road today. And although they are much more complicated now, essentially the engine works in much the same way as it always has. 

So do you know your crankshaft from your cambelt? Your spark plug from your glowplug? Your exhaust manifold from your tailpipe? What about your connecting rods from your high tension leads? Do you know the difference? Could you answer a range of questions on auto mechanics, with a few curveballs about auto history thrown in?

Well, then you are in the right place. Make no mistake, this quiz is going to test your auto knowledge to the fullest. Just take your time, look at each answer and pick the right one ... hopefully!

Good luck, you going to need your wits about you and your gray matter in tip-top form! But we have faith! Let's go!

What car part is depicted in this image?

The spark plug is crucial in starting your vehicle and keeping it running. It provides the spark that combusts the fuel/air mixture.


This warning light is shining from your car dashboard and will not go out. What should you check?

A low oil level means there is not enough lubricant running through the engine. This can cause wear and tear on metal parts within the engine and even cause it to seize.


Your vehicle won't start. It just turns over but won't fire. Name the part in this image you should check first.

The first thing you check when your car won't start is your battery. This is often the problem, and may have run down because an interior light was left on, for example.


The light in the image is glowing on your dashboard. What does it indicate?

Should you ever see this light burning on your dashboard, immediately stop your car as the engine is running far too hot. Check coolant levels and also whether the engine has enough oil.


The man in the picture invented the internal combustion engine. Who is he?

It was Nikolaus Otto who invented the internal combustion engine in the late 1800s.


What part of the engine is shown in this image?

The piston, moving within the cylinder, is what creates compression of the air/fuel mixture which is then combusted and burns away to provide power


What should you do if you see this warning light burning on your dashboard?

This warning light will only shine if there is a problem with the brake system on your vehicle. Have it checked out immediately.


When you turn the key in your ignition to start the car, what begins the whole process of combustion?

The spark plug provides the necessary spark that ignites the fuel/air mixture and sets the engine running.


The car part in the image is found in diesel engines only. What is it?

A glowplug heats up to help the starting process in a diesel engine, which is very different to that of a gasoline engine.


What should you do if you see this light shining on your dashboard?

As humans we are forgetful. Luckily, our cars remind us when they need to be serviced. Neat, isn't it!


Can you name this liquid, which is essential in lubricating the moving parts in your cars engine?

Without oil, the metal parts of your cars engine would not be able to work effectively and the moving parts would cause massive friction, damaging the engine.


The man pictured here is the founder of one of the most iconic American motoring brands, Chevrolet. Who was he?

William C Durant, together with Louis Chevrolet, formed the Chevrolet Motor Company in 1911.


The vehicle part depicted here connects the distributor to the spark plugs. What is it called?

High tension leads give the spark plugs the electrical surge they need from the distributor to be able to produce a spark.


Henry Ford once said that you could order the Model T in any color you want, as long as it was ______?

Most early cars were only available in black. Why? Well it kept costs down at the end of the day.


The light in this image is glowing on your dashboard. What does it mean?

Air bag systems need to be serviced every so often to keep them in proper working condition. If this light comes on, you need to take your vehicle to a mechanic.


Which part of the car holds the liquid that burns in your engine to help propel the car forward?

Gasoline is stored in a car's gas tank.


How is gasoline transported from the gas tank to the engine?

The gasoline is moved along a fuel line to the engine, where it is used in the combustion process


The car part pictured here is found at the end of the exhaust system. What is it called?

The tailpipe usually is found at the back of the car. This is where the gases created by the combustion process in the engine escape through the exhaust system.


The light in the image is glowing on your dashboard, what does it mean.

Modern cars have a very impressive system to keep harmful gases produced by the combustion process to the lowest level possible. This has to do with the catalytic converter. If it is not working properly, you could be breaking the law.


The car part pictured here is the resorvoir that holds coolant for your engine. What is it called?

Every car has a radiator. The coolant is stored here ready to be sent to the engine when needed. The radiator then removes the heat the coolant gathered before repeating the process.


Modern cars can be powered by motors powered by something other than gasoline. Pick another from the list below.

Hybrid motors include both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. The electric motor generally powers the car from startup and at lower speeds.


Your car is spewing black smoke out the tailpipe while running. What could it be?

A car that is running rich means the fuel pumped into the engine cannot all be burned in the combustion process. This leads to black smoke out the tailpipe.


The man in this image was the driving force behind Cadillac. What is his name?

Henry M Leland is not only responsible for helping to found Cadillac but Lincoln as well.


What type of engine do you find in the Mazda RX-7 which is very different from a regular gas engine?

The Mazda RX-7 is famous for its rotary engine which not only delivers a lot of pep but makes this little roadster handle beautifully.


What is another name for a rotary engine?

Rotary engines are also known as Wankel engines,


This light is burning on your dashboard. What does it mean?

Most cars now have power steering. Make sure that if this light burns on your dashboard you check the level of the power steering fluid in its reservoir as it may cause the power steering system to fail if you don't.


Your car is pouring thick white smoke out the tailpipe while running. What could it be?

A car burning coolant means a bigger problem including a damaged cylinder head, among others.


What does this dashboard light mean?

This warning shows there is problem with the anti-lock brake system on your vehicle.


What does an engine with six cylinders produce more of than a four-cylinder engine?

The more cylinders or the bigger the cylinder, the more power an engine can generate.


How many Ford Model T's were sold from 1908 to 1927?

That's simply incredible considering this was practically at the dawn of the automobile. Ford was indeed a brilliant man.


Your car has started to spray blue colored smoke from the tailpipe while the engine is running. What does this mean?

Leaking gaskets mean that an oil leak is the simple reason why your engine is blowing blue-colored smoke out of the tailpipe.


This car part helps turn the starter motor to start the engine of the car. What is it?

A battery is necessary to provide the initial power to turn the starter motor over and begin the ignition process.


Where is the camshaft in an overhead cam engine found in relation to the valves?

Overhead cam engines have a camshaft situated above the valves. This is the most common type of layout in engines.


What is it called when engine cylinders are arranged in a single bank?

Most engines have an inline configuration.


What does this dashboard light indicate?

Not all cars have this warning but it's useful, especially if you have a slow flat tire that you didn't know about, for instance.


Modern vehicle engines are based on which early power plant?

The internal combustion engine was the first engine to make it possible to have a "horseless carriage."


The engine stroke that lets fuel and air into the combustion chamber is called the ______ stroke.

Engines work in a particular way, with this movement of the piston letting air and fuel into a combustion chamber. The intake of air and fuel gives this stroke its name.


When the fuel/air mixture combusts, what is this stroke called?

By compressing the air/fuel mix, the piston helps to create the combustion stroke


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