Engine Performance Quiz


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Think you know what makes good performance? Take this HowStuffWorks quiz to test your knowledge!

You push on your car's gas pedal and the engine goes vroom. For some people, that's all they need. But if you love cars and love the performance features of them, you probably know a bit about what makes for good performance... and what doesn't.

Some people don't consider performance a factor when purchasing a new car - at least not past simple specifications such as acceleration, ride and speed. After all, do you know how many seconds it takes your car to go from zero to sixty? Probably not. But, if you've actually timed that, then you likely know about performance factors such as intake, timing, compression, and exhaust. From the engine to the tailpipe, it's all about how the vehicle performs.

So, if you know that proper tire inflation increases fuel efficiency by reducing friction, that engines need air and fuel to go vroom, and that a buildup of crud (yup, that's a technical automotive term) on the engine can kill your car's performance, you just might be able to ace this quiz.

We challenge you since you think you are an engine performance whiz, to take this HowStuffWorks quiz!

Bolt-on accessories that make it easier for your engine to push exhaust gases out of the cylinders are called:

Headers improve engine performance by making the exhaust stroke less power intensive.


If you're using an exhaust header with a four-cylinder engine, how many exhaust pipes will you have?

Exhaust headers eliminate back pressure by giving each cylinder its own exhaust pipe.


Why do properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency?

Since well-inflated tires have less contact with the road, they encounter less friction and the engine doesn't have to work as hard to move the car.


During the exhaust stroke, many engines lose power through:

Engines tend to waste power during the exhaust stroke when they come up against the resistance of back pressure.


Nitrous oxide improves engine performance by providing more what?

When nitrous oxide is heated, it splits into nitrogen and oxygen, making more oxygen available to the engine during combustion.


What other benefits does nitrous oxide provide?

When it vaporizes, nitrous oxide provides a cooling effect on the intake air, which increases the air's density and provides even more oxygen inside the cylinder.


Why do cars normally carry only a few minutes worth of nitrous oxide?

Due to the bulk of nitrous oxide, it takes up a significant amount of space even when compressed into a liquid. Drivers tend to carry only a small amount and use it selectively by pushing a button.


How much faster can the turbine in a turbocharger spin when compared to a regular car engine?

Using the exhaust flow from the engine, turbines in a turbocharger can spin the air about 30 times faster than a regular car engine can -- at speeds of up to 150,000 rpm.


How many valves per cylinder do dual overhead camshafts typically have?

Dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) produce more power and can run at higher speeds since they allow an engine to have at least four valves per cylinder.


Three fundamental causes can keep your engine from running. Which of the following is not one of them?

Although thousands of minor things can create engine problems, the big three include a bad fuel mix, a lack of compression and a lack of spark.


Which of the following is considered an improvement in engine performance?

Not all performance improvements boost horsepower or increase speed. Fuel economy is one such sign of a better-performing engine.


What does the engine need to go faster?

To become more powerful, the engine needs to be modified to accept more air and more fuel.


How much power does a supercharger add?

A supercharger improves a car’s power output by about 50 percent.


How fast does a supercharger spin on its own?

A supercharger spins at at least 50,000 rpm.


Which of the following projects can be a DIY job for a beginner?

Installing a supercharger is a fairly straightforward bolt-on procedure requiring basic tools.


How does an air filter improve performance?

An upgraded air filter improves airflow into the engine, allowing better combustion.


Which of the following aftermarket performance parts are designed to be washable and reusable?

Air filters can easily be removed and washed to keep the engine’s air clean.


How does a cold air intake kit improve performance?

Cold air is denser than warm air, so it can be mixed with more fuel.


Which of the following projects is the easiest?

Installing a performance chip is a simple plug-and-play project.


What does a performance chip do?

Most cars have computer chips that control engine function, and thus, engine power. Performance chips change the factory settings to improve power.


What’s a free way to improve a car’s performance?

Weight reduction can be as simple and inexpensive as removing unnecessary parts, such as upholstery and trim, but it’s only recommended for drivers who don’t really care about comfort.


Which of the following parts are easy to swap for lighter-weight alternatives?

Switching to lightweight alloy wheels can help improve performance as well as style.


Which of the following statements is true?

Disc brakes are a popular upgrade, in part because they are lighter than drum brakes.


What is drive line lash?

Drive line lash is the torque that’s wasted as the engine shifts around.


How can drive line lash be improved?

Most factory motor mounts are soft, which increases ride comfort but also wastes some of the engine’s energy. Performance motor mounts, which are firmer, help reduce wasted torque.


How much horsepower does a cold air intake add?

A cold air intake adds about 5 to 7 horsepower.


How does a cat-back exhaust improve performance?

A cat-back exhaust has straighter pipes, which improve exhaust flow.


One car part is notable for its strict environmental regulations, meaning that it’s illegal to replace it unless it’s broken. Which part?

The catalytic converter can only be replaced when necessary.


True or false: an engine flush is recommended to improve performance.

Most car manufacturers actually advise against flushing modern engines, but it may help engines in older cars.


What might cause a car to run at less-than-factory performance?

One source of poor performance is engine deposit buildup caused by old or dirty oil.


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