Can You Ace This Engine Quiz in 7 Minutes?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Your car engine is made up of many, many parts. If one fails, chances are that your car is not moving!

So how does it all work? Well, the engine provides the power. This feeds through the transmission, either manual or automatic, to the differential which, in turn, will turn the wheels of the car. This concept might sound straightforward but the reality is a complex symphony of moving parts. How those engineers worked this all out all those years ago still boggles the mind, don't you think?

All the elements have to work in perfect harmony. Pistons moving, valves opening at the right time, spark plugs firing at the right instant, gasses moved out of the engine. One little problem and the engine might still run, but not efficiently.

So let's get onto the task at hand. In this quiz, you'll be given a description of a car part and a brief idea of what it does in the engine. From that, you'll have to identify it from four choices. Seems simple enough, right? Well, some might be pretty apparent, but what about the inner workings? Do you know all the parts that help make an engine run or the supporting parts, without which the engine wouldn't even start?
Up for the challenge? Good! Let's see how you do!

Unwanted crankshaft vibrations are stopped by this engine part which is counter weighted. It is called a ___________________.

The balance shaft was invented in 1904 by British engineer Frederick W. Lanchester.


What is the name of the protective piece bolted to the cylinder head?

The valve cover and gasket keeps oil from leaking out of the engine and dirt and debris from getting in.


The amount of air/fuel mixture taken into the engine is controlled by this part.

Driven by the camshaft, the intake valve is located in the cylinder head.


In older engines without fuel injection, this part controls the amount of fuel and air entering the engine.

The fuel/air mixture is essential for a properly running engine. Too much fuel and the engine will run too rich; too much air and it will run too lean.


This plays an important role in starting your engine. Name it.

Spark plugs ignite the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder which starts the motor and keeps it running.


Identify the part that moves coolant through the engine when it's hot.

A water pump moves coolant from the radiator through the engine, transferring the excess heat in the process. It then returns to the radiator.


Name the part of the engine that moves up and down within each cylinder.

Attached to a connecting rod, the piston fits tightly within the cylinder. It moves up and down, compressing the air/fuel mixture which is then combusted.


Identify the part that helps keep impurities out of the lubricant that moves around the engine.

Oil keeps all the moving parts of an engine lubricated. An oil filter helps to remove contamination in the oil that might damage the engine.


Can you name the part of the ignition system that makes sure the spark plugs fire in the correct order?

Part of the ignition system, the distributor fires the spark plugs in time with the pistons. It is connected to the plugs by high tension leads.


This engine part is often abbreviated as "SOHC."

The single overhead camshaft refers to an engine with one camshaft that operates both the exhaust and intake valves.


This element ensures that lubricant flows through the engine so that all moving parts glide easily. What is it?

The oil pump is essential for the smooth running of the engine, and to limit the wear and tear on the moving parts.


The engine's lubricant is stored here while the engine is not running.

Found at the bottom of the cylinder block, the pan serves as the oil reservoir.


Without this part, the engine won't turn over when you turn the key.

When you turn the key of your car, the starter motor begins the combustion process by initiating the engine.


Also known as the sleeve, the piston moves near this part and it fits in the cylinder bore.

The cylinder liner is replaceable, hollow tube that forms a sliding surface on the inner wall of the cylinder and aids in heat transfer.


Name the part that lets air into the engine to mix with fuel.

This part is essential to how your engine runs. It allows the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder of the engine where it will combust, causing the engine to run. It does this by evenly distributing the air/fuel mixture to the intake ports.


Fuel entering the engine must be clean. This ensures that it is.

A fuel filter helps to remove impurities that might be in the fuel which, if they get into the engine, can cause complications — or damage.


Gasses that form as a result of the burning of the fuel/air mixture are released from the cylinder head through this. What is it called?

Exhaust valves are found in the cylinder heads. They are driven by the camshaft and release exhaust gases after combustion.


These fasteners secure the cylinder head to the engine block.

Head bolts are sometimes referred to as cylinder head bolts. These secure a cylinder head and gasket to the engine block.


Air entering the engine is a crucial element of the combustion process, and this part makes sure it is clean.

An air filter ensures the air entering the engine, used during the combustion process, is kept clean and free of any particles that may damage the engine.


Identify the reservoir that stores the coolant keeping the engine operating at the right temperature.

This reservoir holds coolant which is used to keep the engine cool during operation. When needed, the coolant is pumped through the engine, taking heat away from it and transferring it to the radiator.


This part includes a set of teeth.

A sprocket is a wheel with a set of teeth on the outer circumference. It drives items like the timing chain/timing belt.


What is a DOHC?

A DOHC is a Dual (or Double) Overhead Camshaft. It's like a SOHC, but with an extra camshaft.


These connect the spark plugs to the distributor. What are they?

High tension leads are also sometimes called high tension cables or spark plug wires.


This part helps to reduce friction between various components and comes in different sizes.

A bearing is a curved metal piece that reduces friction between components and offers support to elements such as the connecting rods and the crankshaft.


This part attaches the piston to the crankshaft.

The connecting rod forms the mechanical link between the piston and crankshaft. It converts the up and down motion of the pistons into the crankshaft's rotary motion.


In a nutshell, this makes the air entering a turbocharged engine cooler.

Found in turbocharged engines, an intercooler reduces the temperature of the air compressed by the turbocharger. This makes it denser when it is pushed through the engine and produces more power.


Identify a belt with teeth that helps ensure the engine runs efficiently.

The timing belt is usually made of reinforced rubber and it rides on the sprockets.


This engine part, not found in all cars, gives the vehicle far more bang for its buck! Any ideas what it is?

In simple terms, a turbocharger pushes more air into the engine which, in turn, creates more power as more fuel is burned.


Major engine parts can be found here.

The engine block is the lower section of the engine. It is cast out of metal and houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders.


Name the small device that controls the rate of lubricant consumption within the engine's cylinders.

The oil control ring scrapes oil off the wall of the cylinder.


By opening and closing in a certain sequence, these parts allow the air/fuel mixture into the cylinder and the spent gasses out once combustion has taken place.

The valves within an engine open and close in sequence to let the air and fuel mixture in. They then seal when combustion takes place and let out the exhaust gases produced.


The "brain" of the engine, this measures many variables to ensure that everything is performing properly.

The electronic control unit maintains optimum engine performance in modern engines.


The moving pistons rotate this part, which ultimately leads​ to the vehicle moving.

When fuel burns in the engine, it pushes the pistons which, in turn, rotates the crankshaft and puts the vehicle into motion.


Name the lever that moves when the pushrod within the engine moves.

The rocker arm is driven by a pushrod or camshaft lobe. This transfers motions to open and close the valves.


This moves the propellant that powers the engine from its storage area to where it is needed for combustion.

A fuel pump makes sure fuel gets from the area where it is stored (the fuel tank) to the engine where it is burned to power propulsion.


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