The Engine Quiz for Auto Experts

By: Ian Fortey
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
The Engine Quiz for Auto Experts
Image: skynesher/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The engine is the heart of any car and one of the greatest mechanical marvels in the history of human ingenuity. This one invention, from its humble steam beginnings, has revolutionized our entire way of life. The world became connected thanks to the engine and its ability to allow humans to connect across distances. To drive, to fly, to get to space! Alongside the printing press and the computer, few inventions have had such a profound impact on the world. But you know what a printing press and a computer can't do? Purr like a 429 7.0L 385 Cobra Jet V8 engine nestled inside a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang.

There's a lot to know about engines, from James Watt devising the formula for horsepower to figuring out just how many volts a spark plug needs to fire off in order to ignite the fuel-air mixture and make combustion happen. It's a good thing that you're an engine expert here, though, and all of this is going to be second nature to you. If you think you have the skill to get under the hood and take apart an engine with us, then take the quiz and show us what you've got!

2 - spark plug
Jorge Villalba/E+/Getty Images
In an engine, what's the point of a spark plug?
Connects the battery to the fuel line
Draws power from the battery
Ignites the mixture of fuel and air
Injects air into the combustion chamber
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

As the name implies, a spark plug does create a spark. That spark is what ignites the mixture of air and fuel that creates the combustion that combustion engines are named for. No one knows for sure who invented the first spark plug, but it may have been Edmond Berger in 1839.

32 - engine knocking
kupicoo/E+/Getty Images
What can cause engine knocking?
Bad spark plugs
Incorrect fuel octane
Carbon buildup
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Engine knocking is a very simple description of what happens when something literally causes an engine to create a knocking or pinging sound. It can be caused by many factors, including bad spark plugs, carbon buildup, and using the wrong octane fuel.

3 - engine oil
vm/E+/Getty Images
What is the point of adding oil to an engine?
To maintain fuel line pressure
To clean the engine
To prevent fires
To lubricate and cool
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An engine with oil will 100% overheat and seize up on you fairly quickly. An engine with dirty oil runs the risk of the same thing just not as fast. Oil builds up sediment over time and needs regular changing to keep everything lubricated and at an optimal temperature.


4 - Wärtsilä RT-flex96C
The Biggest Channel via YouTube
Which of these is the largest engine ever built?
General Electric’s GE90-115B
Wärtsilä RT-flex96C
Chevrolet "572" 9.2 V8
Lycoming XR-7755
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Though new engines are being developed all the time, you have to be in awe of the Wärtsilä RT-flex96C. It has 14 cylinders and can generate 107,389HP with more than 7,000,000Nm of torque. Word is this one engine could power a town.

5 - James Watt
Carl Frederik von Breda
Do you know the inventer of horsepower?
James Watt
Benjamin Franklin
Isaac Newton
Thomas Edison
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

James Watt, for whom the unit of power known as watts was named, is the man credited with creating the idea of horsepower. His calculation of horsepower was the amount of times a horse could turn the wheel of a mill in a single hour, which worked out to about 144 times.

1 - Devel Sixteen
AUTOMOHO via YouTube
Which car has the most powerful engine ever built?
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport
Pagani Huayra
Devel Sixteen
Aston Martin Valhalla
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The long-rumored monster out of Dubai, the Devel Sixteen has a V16 engine that was rumored to pull close to 5,000 horsepower, making it the most beastly engine ever jammed under the hood of a road-going vehicle. It debuted at the Toronto Auto Show in 2019 amidst rumors Drake had already paid $2.2 million for one sight unseen.


6 - Lotus Evija
Carfection via YouTube
Which car has the highest horsepower electric engine?
Nissan Leaf
Chevy Volt
Lotus Evija
Tesla Model S
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Lotus Evija is boasting the most impressive electric motors on the road today. Four motors, one on each wheel, boast 368 kW (500 PS; 493 hp), for a combined total output of 1,470 kW (1,970 hp) and 1,254 lb-ft of torque.

7 - Marmon
Wiki Commons by Mr.choppers
Few engines are as well-known as a V8. Which car had the first V8?
Ford Model T
Lancia Lambda
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Long forgotten today, the 1904 Marmon was the first production vehicle to boast a V8 engine. Marmon was producing vehicles from 1851 until 1933, and they were leading the charge in making both V6 and V8 engines.

8 - V18 engine
Wiki Commons by Jean-Daniel Drapeau-Mc Nicoll
What's a V18 engine used for?
There's no such thing.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Some performance cars will make use of a massive V16 engine, but a V18 is nearly unheard of. Nearly, but not totally. V18's are used in heavy-duty applications like mining, rail, and marine transport. They can also be used for electricity generation.


9 - W engine
Wiki Commons by Kogo
What is a W engine?
An engine with three or four cylinder banks
An extra-wide engine
An old-school direct-fuel engine
A tractor engine
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A W engine has three or four cylinder banks arranged in the shape of the letter W when viewed from the end. This is the same as how a V engine, like a V6 or a V8, works, with two cylinder banks that make the shape of the letter V when viewed from the end.

10 - flat engine
Wiki Commons by Motorrad-67
What is a flat engine?
A fuel-injected engine
An engine that is located below the car
An engine with cylinders on the sides of the crankshaft
An engine with no cylinders
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A flat engine does not have the typically raised cylinders you'll see in a V-type engine that most people are familiar with, but that doesn't mean it's not a V engine. They have cylinders on the sides of the crankshaft and are effectively V engines with a flat 180-degree angle between the cylinder banks.

11 - V engine
Wiki Commons by SG2012
What company is credited with building the first ever V engine?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Daimler built the first-ever V engine back in 1889. It was a two-cylinder designed by Wilhelm Maybach. V engines were created and became popular because the design reduces the length and width needed for an engine.


12 - intake valve
Marin Tomas/Moment/Getty Images
Do you know what the intake valve in an engine does?
Lets coolant into an engine
Lets air into the engine
Circulates oil in the engine
Pulls exhaust into the manifold
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Before a spark plug can ignite a fuel-air mixture, it needs actually to have fuel and air pulled into the engine. The intake valve is what allows air into the engine to mix with the fuel, while an opposing exhaust valve is what filters the exhaust fumes out.

13 - Radiator
Nitat Termmee/Moment/Getty Images
Which of these is part of the engine's cooling system?
Exhaust manifold
Cataytic converter
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A radiator is a fairly simple cooling device that can be used in engines or even homes. The basic principle is that a cooling liquid, in this case, actual engine coolant, and in older radiators water, is circulated around the engine block and then through the radiator so air can cool it down again.

14 - Piston
chain45154/Moment/Getty Images
Which of these engine parts converts heat energy into linear motion?
Catalytic converter
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A combustion engine works thanks to the pistons being forced down by the expanding gasses in the cylinder, which in turn rotates the crankshaft. The pistons, however, may exist in the engine ranging from a single up to 16 move-in sequence, providing more power as more pistons fire.


15 - octane gas
nikom khotjan/Moment/Getty Images
Do you know what octane refers to?
Fuel compression before ignition
Fuel purity
The power a car can get from fuel
Fuel volume
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Octane refers to the amount of compression fuel can withstand before ignition. Higher octane fuel has a higher compression potential and provides superior performance and efficiency overall. It also reduces emissions compared to lower octane fuel.

16 - connecting rod
Marin Tomas/Moment Open/Getty Images
A connecting rod connects two things. What are they?
Starter motor and camshaft
Flywheel and camshaft
Piston and flywheel
Piston and crankshaft
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Connecting rods link your pistons to the crankshaft. The position of the pistons moves the connecting rods and transfers the motion to the crankshaft where it's converted from linear motion to rotational motion.

17 - four-stroke engine
Wiki Commons by Amanjosan2008
The four steps in a four-stroke engine are intake, compression, exhaust and what else?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A four-stroke engine works in four steps that start with intake, followed by compression, then combustion, and finally exhaust. In colloquial terms among car people, this is also known as "suck, squeeze, bang, blow."


18 - crankshafts
Wiki Commons by Beat Rütti, Susanne Schenker
Who invented the crankshaft?
Henry Ford
James Watt
Isaac Newton
Ancient Romans
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The crankshaft vastly predates the idea of an engine. One of the earliest known crankshafts was excavated in Augusta Raurica in Switzerland that dated back to the second century AD. There was also a third-century water mill that clearly would have had a crankshaft somewhere even though it's been lost to time.

19 - Oil pan
Joe S. via YouTube
What's another name for the sump?
Propelling nozzle
Oil pan
Fuel injector
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The engine sump is often just called the oil pan. It's located under the pistons and keeps the pistons and crankshaft lubed, so they function correctly without overheating or seizing. Some fast-moving vehicles that corner hard will use a dry sump so that the oil doesn't slosh out.

20 - Inline engine
Wiki Commons by OSX
Aside from flat, V and W, what's another cylinder arrangement in an engine?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Inline engines are also called straight engines and have all the cylinders lined up straight with no offset. You can think of it as a V engine that someone pushed together from both sides, like closing a pair of scissors. They're easier to build than a V-engine but not usually as powerful.


21 - turbocharger
Difydave/E+/Getty Images
What does a turbocharger do?
Forces more fuel into an engine
Forces compressed air into an engine
Purifies the fuel-air mixture
Runs fuel into the engine faster
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A turbocharger or a supercharger works by using a turbine to force extra compressed air into the combustion chamber. This, in turn, causes the engine to work with greater efficiency, and that makes the car go faster.

22 - horsepower
mcdomx/E+/Getty Images
What does horsepower actually refer to?
The distance a horse can run in one minute
The number of turns of a wheel a horse can make in one minute
The power needed to lift 550 lbs — 1 foot for 1 second.
The pulling power of one horse
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Horsepower refers to the power needed to lift 550 lbs. One foot in the air in for 1 second, often written as (550 ft*lbf/s). Though it has been mathematically refined over the years, it was one literally based on actual horses.

23 - crankshaft and camshaft
Cherdchanok Treevanchai/Moment/Getty Images
A crankshaft and a camshaft move together but not equally. The camshaft moves at what rate compared to the crankshaft?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The crankshaft is connected to the camshaft to allow for precision timing when it comes to the opening and closing of valves. The camshaft moves at a rate that is 1/2 that of the crankshaft, which is to say the camshaft makes to rotation for every one made by the crankshaft.


24 - air-cooled engine
Wiki Commons by Yanko Malinov
What's an advantage to an air-cooled engine over a liquid-cooled one?
It's cheaper.
It's more fuel-efficient.
It's less polluting.
It's quieter.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There aren't a lot of advantages to air-cooled engines over liquid-cooled engines, but they are cheaper to make and use overall, which lowers the cost of the car. They tend to be much louder, which is why motorcycles are so noisy, and they're also less efficient and more polluting.

25 - Alternator
Rpsycho/E+/Getty Images
What stops the battery from dying while the car is in motion?
Catalytic converter
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you leave the radio on while the car's not running, the battery can die out pretty quickly, but it will last for ages in a vehicle if you keep it running thanks to the alternator. The alternator keeps the electric systems in the car operational and also charges the battery.

26 - Fuel injectors
primeimages/E+/Getty Images
What replaced carburetors in modern cars?
Catalytic converters
Induction coils
Fuel injectors
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Fuel injection is a much more efficient method of supplying fuel to the combustion chamber in an engine. Carburetors were the device that fulfilled this function int he past, but by the 1980s, they were pretty much phased out.


27 - ignition coil
Jorge Villalba/E+/Getty Images
Do you know what the ignition coil does?
Ignites the fuel-air mixture
Converts low voltage to high voltage
Holds the spark plugs
Charges the battery
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A car battery is relatively low voltage and certainly not enough to power a whole car on its own. The ignition coil converts that low voltage to many thousands of volts that are necessary to create the sparks in the spark plug that causes combustion in the engine.

28 - catalytic converter
Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Getty Images
What does a catalytic converter do?
Boosts fuel compression
Reduces harmful emissions
Increases RPMs
Mixes air and fuel
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A catalytic converter is a device that uses a catalyst, in this case, metals like platinum and palladium, to reduce the toxins in a car's exhaust. Older cars made before 1975 may not have catalytic converters installed, but they became a requirement that year.

29 - Oil changes
Ziga Plahutar/E+/Getty Images
What simple maintenance item can potentially give your engine double its life?
Staying under 60 mph
Not drving in snow
Oil changes at scheduled times
Parking indoors
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you get your oil changed on schedule every time there's a good chance you can greatly extend the life of your engine as much as two times. Slacking off on oil changes can have the exact opposite effect.


30 - car battery
kontrast-fotodesign/E+/Getty Images
What's the typical voltage of a car battery?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A car battery has a stunningly low voltage of only 12 volts. This is impressive when you consider that the spark plugs in your car need anywhere between 12,000 and 25,000 volts to properly fire, and some can go much higher up to 45,000. This massive conversion is the result of the ignition coil.

31 - on-board computer - ECM
richpin06a via YouTube
What's another named for the on-board computer in your car?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The computer in your car is called an ECM, which stands for "engine control module." The ECM is what maintains all the sensors that send signals to your dash and keep the car running as optimally as it can.

33 - torque engine
wakila/E+/Getty Images
Do you know what torque is?
The speed of piston movement
A vehicle's towing capacity
An engine's power output
The rotating force produced by an engine's crankshaft
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Torque and horsepower are often spoken of in the same breath, but torque is the rotating force produced by the engine's crankshaft and is a measurement of the engine's ability to do work. More torque equals more work.


34 - Motor oil weight
choja/E+/Getty Images
Motor oil weights read something like 5w20. What do those number mean?
Viscosity at different temperatures
What grade of engine it can be used in
The molecular makeup of the oil
How much oil is needed in an engine
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Engine weight describes the viscosity of the oil at certain temperatures. Before the "w," the number refers to the oil's performance in winter conditions. The number after the "w" refers to how it works under normal operating conditions, which are about 210 degrees F.

35 - engine weight
Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Getty Images
Do you know what the average engine, minus transmission, weighs?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Obviously, this can vary significantly based on vehicle type and age, but on average, you're looking at 350lbs for an engine. A small car engine with the transmission might weigh just over 300lbs, while a large car and transmission together can weigh over 600lbs.

You Got:
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