Automotive Engines

Understanding An Automotive Engine

An automotive engine is known as a “heat engine” or “internal combustion engine.” It burns fuel to generate heat in order to produce mechanical energy. For cars and other vehicles, a wide range of propulsion systems are currently or possibly available.

There were internal combustion engines powered by gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas, as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, hydrogen-powered fuel cells, and all-electric vehicles. Due to their short range and expensive cost, fueled vehicles appear to be more advantageous.



An automotive engine is a positive displacement internal combustion engine with an intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust stroke. Its main job is to transform energy from fuel into working power.

The most common types of automotive engines are internal gasoline combustion engines (ESS), diesel internal combustion engines (DSL), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). These are the four types commonly found in the automotive market!

There are also several types of automotive engine layouts found in different vehicles, like the V-8 engine, the in-line engine, and the horizontally opposing engine.

Sometime in the 19th century, Rudolf Diesel invented a completely new kind of internal combustion engine by using the concept of pumping liquid fuel into air that was heated simply by compression.

Let’s go into more details!

What Is An Automotive Engine?

An automotive engine produces the power that makes the vehicle move. The engine is the heart of your car. It is a complex machine built to convert heat from burning gas into the force that turns the road wheels.

Diagram Of A Car Engine:

Understanding an Automotive Engine


Various Types of Automotive Engine Layout

V-8 Engine

In some cars, particularly those with eight or twelve cylinders and some with six cylinders, the more compact V-engine is installed. In this arrangement, the cylinders are placed next to one another at an angle that can reach 90 degrees.

In-Line Engine

Four vertical cylinders are positioned closely together in a row to form the simplest and most popular type of engine. It is referred to as an in-line engine. Many vehicles with displacements greater than 2,000cc have six cylinders in line.

Horizontally-Opposed Engine

Some engines have cylinders that are horizontally opposed. Since the angle has been widened to 180 degrees, they are an extension of the V-engine. Saving height and improving some areas of balance are benefits. In addition to mountings for ancillary equipment like an oil filter and a fuel pump, the cylinders in which the pistons operate are also cast into the engine block. The crankcase is attached to an oil reservoir known as the sump.

History Of An Automotive Engine

Electric motors and steam engines were put to the test in the early years, but they weren’t very successful. The internal combustion (IC) engine dominated the 20th century. The majority of American cars as of 2017 are fuelled by gasoline. Steam and electric engines competed with internal combustion engines in the early 1900s.

The idea behind how internal combustion engines work is that a piston is propelled by the force of an explosion. The hydrocarbon in the cylinder head of an engine is being burned by this explosion. Only around one-fourth of the automobiles produced at the time were really classified as internal combustion.

The internal combustion engine emerged as the most widely used vehicle engine throughout the course of the following few years. Rudolf Diesel developed a brand-new type of internal combustion engine at some point in the 19th century, employing the idea of pumping liquid fuel into air heated only by compression. This is the ancestor of the contemporary diesel engine utilized in cars, but more particularly in heavy-duty vehicles like semi-trucks.

How Does An Automotive Engine Work?

Working Principle Of A Car Engine (Internal Combustion Engines)

A spark ignites a mixture of compressed air and gasoline vapor inside a temporarily sealed cylinder, setting off a series of processes that lead to the achievement of that goal. The cylinder then burns quickly. Because of this, the device is known as an internal combustion engine. The mixture expands as it burns, giving the car the power to move.

An automotive engine has two primary components: the cylinder block, which is the bottom, heavier element and serves as a housing for the majority of the engine’s moving parts; and the cylinder head, which is the higher, detachable cover.

The air and fuel mixture enter the cylinders through valve-controlled passageways in the cylinder head, while combustion-related gases are evacuated through other valve-controlled passages. The pistons’ reciprocating action is transformed into rotary motion at the crankshaft by the crankshaft, which is housed in the block.

Watch the video below to learn more about how a car engine works:

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7 responses to “Understanding An Automotive Engine”

  1. I always wonder what it means when the letter V is added at the front of any number in an automotive engine. But now I get it. Simply put, a V6 is a 6-cylinder engine, whereas a V8 is an 8-cylinder engine. But you may wonder what the ‘V’ means in V6 and V8. The ‘V’ represents the way cylinders are arranged in your engine. This was both helpful and informative. Kudos to the author!

  2. Some engines have cylinders arranged in a single row. Other engines use two rows of opposing cylinders connected in a ‘V’-like shape. V6 and V8 engines use this configuration. The cylinders in a V-style engine are mounted on their sides with two rows facing outward. I greatly found value in this post and would love for others to also learn from it!

  3. This is actually a comprehensive article on an automotive engine. One thing I always knew was true was that gasoline engines are more prominent than diesel engines, and this article proves that. Many thanks to the author for the effort.

  4. It is actually a great and helpful piece of info.

  5. This article about an automotive engine brought to mind the first car built in 1885 by German inventor Karl Benz, known as the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. It is widely regarded as the first practical modern automobile and was the first car put into production. It was patented and unveiled in 1886.

  6. Wonderful piece of work. I appreciate this information. I now understand the three main engine systems, which include the ignition system, the lubrication system, and the fuel system.

  7. Another way we can view the principles of an automotive engine is that the expanding combustion gases push the piston, which in turn rotates the crankshaft. Ultimately, through a system of gears in the powertrain, this motion drives the vehicle’s wheels. This is a great post! Thanks!

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