Can You Name More Than 11 of These Engine Parts?

Diana Spasic

Image: seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Can you pinpoint the most important parts of your vehicle on an auto-parts diagram? How about the heart of your car, its engine – could you name its pieces it and how the main parts operate?

When your vehicle has a problem, it's always best to send it on a vacation to the service center. However, knowing a thing or two about your car, especially about what's under its hood, may help tremendously.

Many auto enthusiasts know their car engines like the back of their hands, but there also are many drivers without much interest in learning the detailed ways their vehicle operates. It’s not only good for your general knowledge to know the ins and outs of your car’s engine, but it also may help you find a solution more quickly if a problem occurs. Knowing your way around a car engine may save you a lot of time and money. After all, it's much harder to fool a person into unnecessary maintenance costs if they understand the inner workings of their machine.

So, let’s see how familiar you are with various engine parts. Do you know what differentiates the piston from the spark plug? Can you recognize the wastegate? Take this quiz to find out if you can name at least 11 of these engine parts!

It may look plain, but it forms an important mechanism. Can you name this engine part?

The connecting rod connects the piston to the crank or crankshaft. It converts reciprocating motion into rotating motion.

This part operates in some of the engine's highest temperatures. Can you name it?

The gudgeon pin is also called the wrist pin or the piston pin. It connects the piston to the connecting rod and also provides a bearing for the connecting rod when the piston moves.

This part is often constructed with another key engine component. What is it called?

The connecting rod cap is used to clamp around the crankshaft and the big-end bearing. Connecting rods and matching rod caps are sometimes constructed together as one piece.

How about this important engine part — can you name it?

Automobile engines of the past didn’t use oil filters, which is why very frequent oil changes were required. The first automotive oil filter was invented in 1923.

Do you recognize this clever piece of engineering?

The unit injector (UI) is an integrated direct fuel-injection system for diesel engines. It operates under high pressure, combining the injection pump and the injection nozzle in a single component.

Can you name this small — but important — engine part?

Every belt-driven engine has a timing belt, a tensioner and several pulleys. The tensioners ensure the correct amount of tension is applied to the belt.

What is this system called?

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) recirculates a portion of an engine’s exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders in internal combustion engines.

This one's name speaks for itself. Do you know what it’s called?

The cooling fan allows the engine to maintain constant temperature. Front-wheel drive cars have electric fans while rear-wheel drive cars usually have engine-driven cooling fans.

This part activates an alarm in the driver dashboard. What is it called?

Depending on the engine construction, the oil pressure switch is usually located in one of these three locations: the cylinder block of the engine, the oil filter housing or the engine head.

This part is only about 2 inches in diameter. Can you name it?

The thermostat is a small device found in every liquid-cooled car engine. Its role is to block the coolant flow from reaching the radiator until the engine has warmed up.

This makes sure no poison enters the engine. What is it called?

A catalytic converter converts toxic gasses and pollutants in exhaust gas from internal combustion engines into harmless compounds by using a catalyst.

Do you know what this interesting engine part is called?

A mass-flow sensor determines the mass-flow rate of air that enters a fuel-injected internal combustion engine. This information is then used by the ECU to deliver the optimal fuel mass to the engine.

This device is an essential part of many car engines. What is it called?

Some cars use a vacuum modulator to apply pressure to the throttle valve. It senses when the manifold pressure increases (when the engine is under a great load).

This part wasn’t used on automobiles until the ‘60s. Can you name it?

Modern automobiles use alternators to charge the battery and power the electrical system while the engine is running.

This part is a real survivor. Can you name it?

A piston survives thousands of mini explosions each time you use your car. It has a top and a bottom, and the top is where the explosions happen.

What about this part, do you know its name?

The thermo switch is a temperature sensor. The device is usually located close to the radiator, and its role is to switch on the fan as soon as the engine reaches a set temperature.

This part is still common on some older car engines. What is it called?

A carburetor mixes air and fuel for internal combustion engines into the optimal ratio for creating combustion. The first carburetor was invented in 1826 by Samuel Morey.

What is this small but significant engine part called?

Bosch's engineer Gottlob Honold developed the first commercially viable high-voltage spark plug as part of a magneto-based ignition system in 1902.

What is this massive engine part called?

The cylinder head is placed above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block. Its job is to close the top of the cylinder and form a combustion chamber.

Can you name this piece of sophisticated machinery?

The purpose of the oil pump in internal combustion engines is to lubricate the bearings and allow the use of higher-capacity fluid bearings. It also has a significant part in engine cooling.

Can you name this twisted little thing?

A poppet valve consists of a hole, in most cases round or oval, and a tapered plug usually in a disk shape on the end of the shaft also called valve stream.

This engine part should be easy to name. Can you do it?

A starter ring gear is sometimes called a ring gear or a starter ring. It’s a medium carbon steel ring that’s fitted on the periphery of the flexplate or flywheel.

The invention of this part changed the way engines operate. What is it called?

The first split piston ring was invented by John Ramsbottom in 1854. The use of piston rings dramatically reduced the frictional resistance, piston mass and system leakage.

You have probably seen one of these under your hood. What is it called?

The role of the water pump is to ensure the coolant keeps moving through the engine block, radiator and hoses, making sure optimum operating temperature is maintained.

Can you name these engine parts?

Main crankshaft bearings are mounted in the crankcase. A main bearing consists of two parts: upper and lower.

What is this structure called?

An engine block is also commonly called cylinder block. It’s a structure in which the cylinders are placed in an internal combustion engine. Modern engine blocks usually include several other elements, too.

This pipe has a very particular name. What is it?

The intake manifold is a pipe connected to the intake valves. Its role is to bring air or air-fuel mixture into the combustion chamber.

Can you name this mechanical system?

Valvetrains (or valve trains) are produced in several variations that are differentiated by the location of the camshaft within the engine.

What is this strange-looking part called?

The crankshaft is a mechanical part of a car engine that converts reciprocating motion into rotational motion and vice versa.

This little part does a MASSIVE job. Can you name it?

The role of the ignition coil is to generate a very high voltage from a car’s 12-volt battery – and to send it to each sparkplug, igniting the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

What is this massive engine part called?

An injection pump is a very complex and sophisticated piece of engineering. It pumps diesel fuel into the cylinders of a diesel engine.

What about this clever part, can you name it?

The rocker arms are placed in the drive train of the internal combustion engine. Their function is to assist the pushrod in the opening and closing of the exhaust valve and intake valve.

What is this engine part called?

Intercoolers reduce the induction air heat created by the supercharger and promote more thorough combustion by increasing the efficiency of the induction system.

Does this part look familiar? Can you name it?

An exhaust system consists of pipes that guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion inside an internal combustion engine. Depending on its overall design, it may include one or more pipes.

This part can put up with a lot. What is it called?

The connecting rod bearings are placed in the big end of the connecting rod. They have a role of providing rotating motion of the crank pin within the connecting rod.

In car engines, it’s used for cooling. What is it called?

In cars with liquid-cooled internal combustion engines, the radiator is connected to channels running through the engine and cylinder head, through which a coolant is pumped.

Can you name this particular piece?

When it comes to the screamer pipe, opinions are divided: some people think these things make the worst noise they have ever heard, while others think it sounds pretty good and powerful.

This part does an extremely important job. Can you name it?

A wastegate is a boost-controlling device that operates by limiting exhaust gases through the turbocharger and controlling the maximum boost pressure the turbocharger produces.

Do you know the name of this car engine part?

The air filter in internal combustion engines prevents debris and any abrasive particulate substance from entering the cylinders of the engine.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes