Can You Name the Engine Parts From a Visual Clue and a Hint?

By: Diana Spasic
Image: Samad Malik Photography / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Are you one of those people who like to know what’s under their car’s hood? Have you ever opened the hood and wondered what exactly is in there and how it all works?

When buying a new car, it can be more than useful to understand what sort of an engine that car is equipped with, how it works and which parts it includes. We all know that the very purpose of a gasoline engine is to convert fuel into motion so that you can move your car. Burning the gasoline inside an engine is the most efficient way of creating motion from gasoline today, which means that a car engine is, in fact, an internal combustion engine. But, how much more do you know?

For many people, a car engine may look like a big, hot, confusing structure built out of various tubes and wires. For others, however, it’s very clear what each of those tubes and wires is and how each little system works. To which group do you belong? Can you name a car engine part just by looking at a photo of it? We’ve thrown in some hints to help you out, so feel free to start that engine and ace this quiz!

A carburetor’s purpose is mixing air and fuel for internal combustion engines in the correct ratio for combustion. Fuel injection has largely supplanted them over the recent years.

A crankshaft is a mechanical part of an engine that converts reciprocating motion to rotational motion or vice versa, depending on the type of the engine.

Before the widespread adoption of electronic fuel injection, most carbureted engines used mechanical fuel pumps for transferring fuel from the fuel tank into the fuel bowls of the carburetor.

Spark-ignition internal combustion engines with a mechanically-timed ignition use distributors to properly route secondary or high voltage current from the ignition coil to the spark plugs.

An oil pump in an internal combustion engine is used for circulating engine oil under pressure to the rotating bearings, the sliding pistons and the camshaft of the engine.

An air filter prevents abrasive substances from entering the engine’s cylinders to stop them from causing mechanical wear and oil contamination.

The small end bushes are mounted in the so-called “Small end” of the connection rod. They provide relative motion of the piston to the connection rod.

An ignition coil, also called a ‘spark coil,’ is an induction coil in the ignition system of an automobile that transforms the battery’s low voltage to the thousands of volts required to create an electric spark to ignite the fuel.

Despite the fact most radiators are regularly used for heating, when it comes to internal combustion engines, radiators are used for cooling.

A valvetrain is an assembly of components designed to open and close the intake of exhaust valves. A sequence of components transmits motion throughout the assembly.

A conventional reciprocating internal combustion engine uses valves to control the air/fuel admix flow in and out of the combustion chamber.

Étienne Lenoir used an electric spark plug on his gas engine in 1860, creating the first combustion piston engine. Lenoir is credited for the invention of the first spark plug.

Located in the cylinder, a piston is a component of reciprocating engines made gas-tight by piston rings. It transfers force from expanding gas in the cylinder to the crankshaft.

A poppet valve is also called a mushroom valve, and it is typically used to control the quantity and timing of vapor or gas flow into the engine.

An engine control unit (ECU) ensures optimal engine performance by controlling series of actuators on an internal combustion engine.

The oil pan is a reservoir for oil that’s attached to the bottom of the engine with bolts. A pump guides the oil from the pan through a filter to remove any dirt before it sends it to circulate through the engine.

The wastegate’s primary function is to protect the engine and the turbocharger by regulating the maximum boost pressure in turbocharger systems.

Some cars use a vacuum modulator to apply pressure to the throttle valve. The device senses the manifold pressure, which further increases when the engine is under a bigger load.

A turbocharger’s role is to force extra compressed air into the combustion chamber and thus increase an internal combustion engine’s efficiency and power output.

A throttle is a valve that controls the volume of vaporized fuel delivered to the cylinders of an internal combustion engine.

A timing belt, or cambelt, is an important part of an internal combustion engine. It synchronizes the rotation of the camshafts and the crankshaft so that the valves open and close at the right time.

A manifold absolute pressure sensor (MAP sensor) is one of the sensors used typically by engines that are fuel-injected. It is mostly seen in an internal combustion engine’s electronic control system.

High tension leads are the wires that connect an ignition coil, a distributor or a magneto to each of the spark plugs in many types of internal combustion engines.

The pump that pumps diesel fuel into the cylinders of a diesel engine is called an injection pump. It’s a very complex piece of engineering, calibrated to deliver the right quantity of fuel every time.

Rocker arms are typically placed between the intake and exhaust valves and the pushrod. The pushrod pushes up the rocker arm and therefore pushes down the valves.

A screamer pipe is known for the loud noise it produces. It’s a type of exhaust setup fitted to some automotive turbocharged gas engines.

The role of the intercoolers is to reduce induction air heat created by the supercharger or turbocharger and to increase the efficiency of the induction system by promoting more thorough combustion.

A starter ring gear is a carbon steel ring placed at the periphery of a flywheel of an internal combustion engine. The ring has teeth that are driven by the smaller gear of the starter motor.

The exhaust manifold channels exhaust gases away from the controlled combustion inside an engine.

Piston rings have several important functions in reciprocating engines, some of which include sealing the combustion chamber to ensure minimal loss of gases to the crankcase and improving heat transfer from the piston to the cylinder wall.

A cylinder head sits above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block in an internal combustion engine. The head closes in the top of the cylinder, forming a combustion chamber.

Main crankshaft bearings are mounted in the crankcase. The main bearing consists of two parts: upper and lower. It also has a hole for passing oil to the feed holes in the crankshaft.

A water pump makes sure the coolant keeps moving through the engine block, hoses and radiator while maintaining an optimal operating temperature.

An intake manifold is a pipe that brings air or air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber. It’s connected to the intake valves.

Starters can be electric, pneumatic or hydraulic. In some cases, especially when it comes to very large engines, the starter can even be another internal-combustion engine.

Connecting rod bearings have a role of providing rotation motion in the crank pin within the connecting rod. A bearing always consists of two parts that are usually interchangeable.

An engine block is the main structure of an internal combustion engine that contains the cylinders and other parts. It typically consists of the cylinder, oil galleries, coolant passages, crankcase and cylinder head(s).

Rocker covers are bolted on over rocker arms in internal combustion engines. They are also called valve covers, but they are also sometimes referred to as a “timing cover” or a “cam cover.”

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