Can You Name These Engine Parts from a One-Sentence Description?

By: Annette
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Can You Name These Engine Parts from a One-Sentence Description?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Engines are some of the most technologically interesting machines on the planet. They’re the result of years of invention, innovation and mastery. You ride in your car every day without realizing the amazing process that’s happening right under the hood.

Camshafts, intake valves, combustion chambers, valve springs, cylinder heads — your internal combustion engine is the heart of your vehicle, but all the parts form an intricate system of veins and arteries that keep the whole thing moving. Whether you need to make sure your knowledge is really up to snuff, or you’re just a little bored at work and mechanically minded, this quiz will give you the ride of your life.

Do cars have more than one piston and valve? Does increasing the number of pistons give you more power? Hey, you’ve got an inquisitive mind, a desire to understand your vehicle and an honest-to-goodness need for speed. 

And just because you read this far, here’s a fun fact: A cannon is really just a simple type of combustion engine. The cannonball is packed into the cannon, along with gunpowder. When you light the gunpowder, it creates gas and pressure, so the cannonball flies. See how fascinating this stuff is? Let’s do this!

What do you call the bearings between the crankshaft and the block?
Main bearings
The crankshaft spins on the main bearings, which provides support.
Minor bearings
Non-bearings

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What's another name for head bolts?
Exhaust head bolts
Experimental head bolts
Cylinder head bolts
Head bolts, aka cylinder head bolts, secure a cylinder head and gasket to the engine block.

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What keeps a piston pin in place?
Magnets
Gravity
Piston pin clip
The piston pin clip is used to keep the piston in place. It is secured on both sides.

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What do you call a counter-weighted engine shaft?
Bearing
Balance shaft
The balance shaft is counter-weighted to offset unwanted crankshaft vibrations.
Cog belt

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What longer name does SOHC stand for?
Sad Old Hairy Car
Super Octane Hepta-Carbonie
Single Overhead Camshaft
The single overhead camshaft refers to an engine with one camshaft that operates both the exhaust and intake valves.

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What metal piece moves up and down within a cylinder of the engine block?
Push rod
Bearings
Piston
The piston fits snugly within the cylinder. It is attached to the connecting rod and moves up and down within the cylinder during the combustion process.

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What is the name of the lever driven by a pushrod or camshaft lobe?
Pressure lever
Balancing arm
Rocker arm
The rocker arm is driven by a pushrod or camshaft lobe. This transfers motion to open and close the valves.

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What's bolted onto the cylinder head to create a protective lid?
Valve cover
The valve cover is bolted onto the cylinder head. It acts as a protective lid. The cover gasket, on the other hand, is placed between the valve cover and the cylinder head.
Damper
Timing chain

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What's another name for a tappet?
A pin
A belt
A valve lifter
A tappet is a valve filter. It's a cylindrical piece, actuated by the camshaft.

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What serves as the engine's oil reservoir?
Oil pot
Oil pond
Oil pan
The oil pan serves as the oil reservoir. It's a removable part that is mounted on the bottom of the cylinder block.

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What part reduces friction that occurs during motion between various components​?
Bearing
A bearing is a curved metal piece that reduces friction between components. It comes in many shapes and sizes.
Belt
Cylinder

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This forms the mechanical link between the piston and crankshaft.
Crankcase
Connecting rod
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​.
DOHC

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What part has a set of teeth?
Sprocket
A sprocket is a wheel with a set of teeth on the outer circumference. It drives items like the timing chain/timing belt.
The tappet
The grill

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What does DOHC stand for?
Dual Overhead Car
Dual Overhead Camshaft
A DOHC is a Dual (or Double) Overhead Camshaft. It's similar to the SOHC (Single Overhead Camshaft), but with an extra camshaft!
Dual Overhead Cylinder

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Which item is toothed?
Rocker arm
Push rod
Timing belt
The timing belt is a toothed belt. It's usually made of reinforced rubber and it rides on the sprockets.

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Which is the real car part?
Cog belt
The cog belt is a toothed belt. A harp pincher and a gallows monger are ... well, whatever you want them to be.
Harp pincher
Gallows monger

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What is an oil slinger?
A kind of squirt gun that fires oil
An unscrupulous oil-change mechanic
A collar that aids piston-to-cylinder lubrication
An oil slinger is a cone-shaped collar that uses centrifugal force to distribute oil.

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What allows burned exhaust gases out of the cylinder?
Exhaust valve
An exhaust valve is a camshaft-driven valve in the cylinder head. It releases exhaust gases after combustion.
Expansion plug
Gas tube

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A harmonic balancer is also known as what?
Vibration killer
Sound damper
Vibration damper
'Vibration damper' is another name for the harmonic balancer. Both these names sound like they should be used for musical instruments.

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What engine part is also known as a sleeve?
Cylinder liner
The cylinder liner is a replaceable, hollow tube that fits into the cylinder bore.
DOHC
A valve liner

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What houses the pistons, crankshaft and cylinders?
Engine block
The engine block is the lower section of the engine. It is cast out of metal and houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders.
Head gasket
Crankcase

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Which of these is a real valve?
Outcast valve
Rocker valve
Intake valve
The intake valve is camshaft driven and located in the cylinder head.

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What is known as a harmonic balancer?
A part of the muffler
A pulley in front of the crankshaft
The harmonic balancer is the pulley bolted to the crankshaft. It helps dampen crankshaft vibrations.
The engine tuner for improved sound

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Which of these is not a car part?
Timing chain
Timing gears
Timing tubing
Timing tubing is not a part. Tubes cannot time. Time cannot be tubed. You get the picture!

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What is another name for a cam follower?
A cam lifter
The cam follower, also known as a cam lifter, follows the cam lobe profile.
A pulley lever
A port rocker

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Which piston ring controls oil consumption in the cylinder?
Oil pump
Oil valve
Oil control ring
The oil control ring controls oil consumption within the cylinder. It falls under the umbrella of piston rings.

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What is a valve lifter that maintains zero valve clearance?
Intake valve
Zero valve
Hydraulic valve lifter
The hydraulic valve lifter uses hydraulic oil pressure. It eliminates the need for valve adjustments.

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Which piston ring prevents compression loss?
Compression ring
The compression ring is a piston ring that forms a seal with the cylinder wall.
Sealant ring
Expansion ring

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In sports cars, what type of crankshaft main bearing cap is used?
A two-bolt main
A four-bolt mini
A four-bolt main
The four-bolt main is the crankshaft main bearing cap used on high-performance vehicles. It's held in place by four bolts instead of two.

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Which plug provides pressure relief when coolant freezes?
Freezer plug
Refrigerator plug
Expansion plug
The expansion plug provides pressure relief for changing temperatures. This is necessary when coolant expands and freezes.

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Which engine part is filled with the element that goes by the symbol "Na"?
Sodium-cooled valve
This type of valve contains sodium, along with a hollow space. When heated, the sodium melts and helps cool things down.
Nitrogen-infused timing belt
Salt piston pan

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A piston pin is also known as what?
Gyrating pin
Wrist pin
A piston pin, sometimes called a gudgeon pin in the UK, is a tubular metal shaft that attaches a piston to a connecting rod.
Dynamic pin

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What is the bearing surface for the piston pin?
The circlip
The pin bearing
The pin bushing or its outer surface
The piston pin bushing is removable. It serves as a bearing surface for the pin.

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What retainer is held in place by nuts and bolts?
Cam follower
Valve lifter
Bearing cap
The bearing cap is a retainer usually held in place by threaded studs and bolts, securing the bearing shell.

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