Quiz: Can You Answer These Engine Questions If We Give You a Hint?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Answer These Engine Questions If We Give You a Hint?
By: Robin Tyler
7 Min Quiz
Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images
About This Quiz
Some people can diagnose an engine problem from a mile away—quite literally! Using just the sound of the engine, and maybe their sense of smell, these auto savants are capable of diagnosing a car before you even pull into their shop. Their engine repair skills are impressive by any standard! However, most people aren't automotive geniuses like these guys. Despite being less than a genius with cars, it's easy enough to be literate when it comes to engine repair. Plenty of people change their oil, and most people understand how the fuses work in their car. There's no shame in needing a little help with engine repairs for significant issues. Engines are complex machines, and repairs to your vehicle shouldn't be taken lightly. That said, there are a lot of easy things to learn about engines that won't compromise your safety, and we bet you already have a great handle on most of them! Want to find out exactly how good you are with cars? This quiz can help you tap into your good car judgment. We promise that even with hints, this engine quiz won't be too easy for you. Rev up your engine and get going with this quiz!
In IndyCar racing, which of these manufacturers provides the engines?
First introduced in 2012, the engine used in the IndyCar racing series is made by Chevrolet. It is a 2.2-liter 24 valve DOHC powerplant made out of aluminum. It weighs just 248 pounds. Honda is another supplier, but the two engines are identical. This twin-turbo V6 engine produces up to 750 bhp.
If your car's brakes feel a little spongy, what should you immediately check?
Spongy brakes are often a sign of something wrong in the brake system in your car. The first place to start checking is to see that you have enough brake fluid in the brake fluid reservoir. If this is too low, it can affect your brakes. And that is dangerous. You need to know that you can come to a complete halt, as quickly as possible, when you need to.
To check the oil level in your car, you would ______?
Essentially, a dipstick is a simple measuring device that has many applications. When it comes to motor vehicles, the dipstick is specifically used to see how much oil is in the engine. It is best to do this while the car is at rest and not running. The dipstick can then measure the amount of oil in the pan and gives a visual indication as to whether your engine needs more oil or not.
A high-pitched screech is coming from your engine. Which of these could be the likely problem?
There are many belts under the hood of your car. These include the fan belt, the timing belt and the power steering belt. Often, when these wear, they tend to let out a very high-pitched screech, which can be extremely annoying. Some of these are a relatively quick fix, for example, the fan belt, while others like the timing belt and power steering belt would need a professional to replace them.
When adding coolant to your engine, where should it be poured in?
When topping up engine coolant, always add it to the radiator. Placing it anywhere else is going to cause plenty of problems! Coolant is the liquid an engine uses to keep cool, as its name suggests. Stored in the radiator, it is passed through the engine, taking away the heat and returning it to the radiator. The cycle repeats as necessary.
The oil filter on your car needs to be changed. But how often?
There are a number of factors that will influence how often you need to change the oil filter on your car. The older the car, the older the engine, the more often it needs to be changed. It also depends on how you drive your car.
A flashing red light on your dashboard showing a rectangular shape with a + and - in it is visible on your dashboard. What you should have checked?
In most cases, when the battery warning indicator begins flashing on your dashboard, the battery is not receiving a charge from your alternator. This could be a result of an old, faulty battery or the alternator belt may have broken, preventing the battery from receiving a charge.
Still sought after by Ford lovers, which of these engine comes from the 1930s?
The Flathead V8 was a revelation by Ford in 1932. Quite simply put, at the time, there was nothing similar to it out there. Most importantly, it was cheap, which made it more accessible to people struggling through the Great Depression. This engine remains a favorite with hot rodders, particularly in their Ford Model A's.
In a diesel-powered car, a dashboard light that flashes orange and looks like a rectangle indicates what?
Today, cars that run on diesel are just as efficient at their gas counterparts. Of course, a diesel engine can have its own set of unique problems. If this light flashes, it is best to get it checked out as in all probability, the diesel filter, which ensures clean diesel enters the engine, will need to be replaced.
Which of these parts keeps air entering the engine clean?
An air filter ensures the air entering the engine, which is used during the combustion process, is kept clean and free of any particles that may damage the engine. Because of the work they do, air filters need to be changed, normally when the car is serviced.
Do you know the name of the car system that ensures your vehicle starts?
This system helps to start the engine by generating a spark (generally) that causes the air-fuel mixture within the combustion chamber to ignite. It consists of a number of parts including the starter motor, coil, magneto, rotor and spark plugs.
What part rotates as the piston moves, which in turn helps a car move forward?
As fuel burns, it pushes the pistons within the engine, which in turn rotate the crankshaft, which then moves the vehicle either forward or backward determined by the gear selected. Of course, there are a few parts in between that makes this happen.
A Wankel engine is very different from a regular inline engine. What is it also called?
A Wankel engine is essentially a rotary engine with all parts rotating in the same direction. It's named after Felix Wankel, the man who invented it. The first car in the West to use such an engine was the NSH Spyder in the early 1960s.
A dashboard warning light showing a thermometer standing above two wavy lines of liquid means what?
Failure to investigate why the temperature light on your dashboard has started flashing could cause your engine to overheat, which can harm it. As soon as you see this light, pull over at your nearest gas station and ensure the radiator is filled to its proper level.
Ford's 302 V8 engine went into a pretty special car in 1968. Do you know what it is?
Ford picked an incredible car to put the 302 Ford V8 into - the Shelby GT350! It provided not only power but reliability. An even higher performance version went into 1969s Boss Mustang. This engine produced around 250 bhp, and Mustangs using it were often dubbed "Cobras".
If your mechanic reports your engine has "thrown a rod," what has happened?
Pistons in your engine move within the cylinder. They are also connected to the crankshaft. This connection is made by a engine part known as a connecting rod. If these come loose, the engine can be damaged very severely.
In your diesel-powered vehicle, a warning light showing a thin line making two ovals indicate what is failing?
This light will come on when you start your engine, particularly in cold weather. If it stays on, it indicates that a glow plug, which helps to start and warm a diesel engine, is faulty. Glow plugs are an important part of a diesel motor and help to warm up the engine when starting. This ensures all the diesel is burned effectively.
Black smoke coming from under the hood of your car could indicate which of the following?
When your car runs too rich, the engine cannot burn all the fuel effectively. Not only is it not running in an optimum way, but you are wasting gas! There are a number of ways to spot if an engine is running too rich. The most obvious is black smoke rising from the hood, but also check your tailpipe. If it is black and sooty, that confirms an engine running too rich.
What might cause your car to hesitate while you try to accelerate?
Fuel injectors are tasked with spraying fuel into the combustion chamber within a cylinder, where it will be combusted along with air to provide the power stroke for the pistons. If an injector is clogged, it may not release the right amount of fuel into the combustion chamber and this can cause that cylinder not to work efficiently. This can result in hesitation within the car's engine.
Out of the blue, your car's battery is flat and cannot start the engine. Despite replacing it, a few days later, this happens again. What is the next thing you should check?
The alternator is a crucial part of the electrical system on your car. One of its primary purposes is to charge the battery. If it does not do this, your battery will quickly run down. Alternators also provide the electrical current that powers the headlights, entertainment system, wipers, power windows and other electrical components.
A car that suddenly idles very roughly might have a problem with which of these?
A rough idling car and a loss of power indicate that one of the spark plugs is not firing correctly and could need replacing. Before you do replace it, however, check the gap near the electrode. If this has grown too big, the spark cannot bounce between the two points and that will cause the plug to breakdown.
America's first internal combustion engine was built in what year?
John Stevens was a man of many talents. A lawyer and engineer, he was also an inventor. Stevens not only built the first internal combustion in America, he also constructed the first steam locomotive, the first steam-powered ferry and had a hand in contributing toward U.S. patent law! We told you he was talented!
Which of these engines was first seen in the 2009 ZR1 Corvette?
The LS9/LSA Chevy V8 engine was first seen in the 2009 ZR1 Corvette. It produces a staggering 638 brake horsepower, thanks to a 6.2-liter displacement and a supercharger! The LSA version of this engine was placed in the Cadillac CTS-V, another performance behemoth.
What is the name of the engine part that ensures the air coming into the engine that forms part of the combustion process is clean and debris-free?
The air entering your car's engine needs to be clean. This is the air filter's job. Depending on the roads you drive on, it should be replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, more often if you drive on dusty, unpaved roads. Luckily, changing an air filter doesn't mean a trip to the mechanic and can easily be done at home.
What part moves a lubricating liquid around the engine?
The basic function of the oil pump is to circulate oil, which lubricates moving parts within the engine such as the camshaft, bearings and pistons. A faulty oil pump means that the engine will quickly overheat.
Can you name the engine part that allows the gas/air mixture to come into the cylinder?
The air intake manifold allows the gas/air mixture into the cylinders and distributes it to the intake ports equally. It plays an important part in the efficient running of the engine by introducing it at exactly the right time.
You notice a small amount of white smoke coming from under your hood. Out of the exhaust, it is black and sooty. What could be the problem?
A sure sign that your engine is using oil is white smoke coming from under the hood. When you check the exhaust pipe, if it is black and sooty, it is a clear indication that your car is burning and using more oil than it should. This should be checked by a professional as soon as possible, as it can lead to major problems in the long run.
Moving pistons are found here. Name this part, please.
Found above the cylinder, the cylinder head is the area the piston compresses into as it moves. It also houses intake and exhaust valves, springs and lifters and the combustion chamber.
The explosion created by this air/fuel mix burning is called the ______?
By compressing the air/fuel mix, the piston helps to create the combustion stroke. This in turn generates the power that moves the piston back, rotating the crankshaft and ultimately moving the vehicle. Of course, it is not as simple as that and many parts form part of the process.
Incredibly, the Ford Model T engine, first used in 1907, remained in production till the early 1950s. Which of these is it?
Certainly not the most powerful but one of the most important engines ever made. Why? Well, the Ford Inline 4 drove possible the most significant car in auto history - the Model T. Early models only produced 20 bhp and speeds of up to 40 mph, but it became more powerful over time and was used in marine and industry after the Model T was discontinued.
What is the purpose of the radiator in your car?
This reservoir holds coolant, which is used to keep the engine cool during operation. It also helps to regulate the coolant to the right temperature before passing it back into the system. This is all controlled by a thermostat.
A puddle underneath your car can indicate which of the following?
More often than not, puddles under your vehicle are caused by a leaky radiator. Your vehicles liquid levels (radiator, power steering, oil) should all be checked once a week. Note: If your car had been running previously and the air conditioning system was on, the puddle might have been caused by condensation, but check your radiator fluid levels anyway.
What part in the engine connects a number of engine components, including a cooling fan?
The fan belt is made from rubber and connects a number of components of the engine including the cooling fan, alternator and the crankshaft pulley. Fan belts can wear over time and sometimes will let out a horrid screech while the engine runs. That is the time to get them replaced!
A rather strange light, which is shaped like a side profile of an engine, has started blinking on your dashboard. What is it warning you about?
All cars today have systems in place that regulate vehicle emissions. Best to get it checked right away. When you take it to a mechanic, he will check the catalytic converter and whether it is working properly. If it is, it would indicate that the O2 sensors are faulty and these will need to be replaced.
Which of these Ford engines was an attempt to bridge the gap between small and big block engines?
The 351 Windsor was introduced by Ford to bridge the gap between big block and small block engines. First introduced in 1969, like many other performance engines of the time, it suffered under the mid-1970s oil crisis. It did appear in the 1995 Mustang Cobra R, however.
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