Can You Name the Engine Part With Three Clues?


By: Steven

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

There are as many as 30,000 parts on a car. With the engine taking up what looks like only about one quarter of your car's mass, but most of its moving parts, naturally the densest collection of them are to be found there. In fact, some large car engines (such as Rolls Royce) have as many as 14,000 parts, but thankfully, most cars on the road have only a few hundred individual parts. We have compiled a quiz based on only 35 of those parts, and only the ones we think are crucial - however, if you have ever rebuilt an engine and found that you had a few nuts and bolts left over, you'll understand that they are all important! 

The cylinder block is the main part of the structure that's under your cars' hood, and it's what most people associate with a car engine. But the cylinder block is only one part of what makes your car the ultimate driving machine (we hope!). With hundreds of parts included in the average car engine, the layperson driver might wonder why each of them is necessary - but you're no such amateur. Take this quiz to show off your knowledge of common engine parts.

The main part in a rotary engine. It looks like a triangle. Each face functions like a piston.

There are three faces on a rotor, one for each side. Each one does the same job as a piston, as the rotor rotates around, compressing the air and fuel mixture before it combusts.


Only found in rotary engines. It has lobes on it. Does something similar to a crankshaft.

As the rotor moves around in the engine, it pushes on the lobes of the output shaft, which in turn applies torque to this part. As the name suggests, it transfers the engine's output to the transmission, otherwise you'd go nowhere.


Helps warm up fuel. Only found in diesel engines. The name indicates it lights up.

The thing about diesel engines is the fuel can solidify to an extent when it gets really cold. If you live in such a climate, getting the engine to turn over can be a chore, but glow plugs will help get the fuel flowing before you start the engine.


Only used in some overhead cam engines. It helps with opening valves. The camshaft pushes on this part.

In some engines with an overhead camshaft layout, the cam lobes push down on the rocker arms, which are what actually open the valves. On pushrod setups, these sit between the pushrod and the valves.


This looks like a snail. It recycles engine exhaust. This constitutes forced induction.

Everyone has heard of a turbo, but most people have no idea how it works. This part that resembles a snail features a turbine inside, which spins and forces the exhaust gases through, which then go through an intercooler before feeding back into the intake manifold, boosting power as a result.


This is the main part of an engine. It looks like a giant cube. Inside of this are the cylinders.

When people think of an engine, this is the main thing that's probably on their mind. This is where the combustion of fuel happens, and everything else about the engine bolts onto this main part.


This transports the exhaust. It has collector tubes. This gets extremely hot.

The exhaust manifold is the part that transports the exhaust gases out of the engine and connects to the rest of the exhaust system. Enthusiasts will replace this with a more performance-oriented exhaust header setup.


Pressing on the accelerator affects this part. It regulates airflow. It has a rotating plate inside.

The throttle is the part that controls just how much air flows into the intake manifold. On modern cars, you're not actually stepping on the gas, but really just opening the throttle up more when you press on the accelerator.


This ignites the fire. It threads into the engine. Each one sits in a well.

The spark plugs are what trigger combustion, or the controlled burn of the air and fuel mixture in the cylinders. Without spark plugs, your engine would produce no power, and you'd go nowhere.


This sprays the gas. In some engines, this is in the intake manifold. Other modern engines place this in the cylinder.

Fuel injectors have tiny nozzles, allowing them to spray a precise amount of fuel either into the intake manifold or directly into the cylinders, depending on the engine design. Gum these up, and your engine will run rough, or maybe not at all.


This sits in your air intake. It removes debris. You must change or clean it regularly.

Without an air filter, all kinds of dust and other debris would be sucked into the engine intake manifold. That would hurt performance, and in turn require serious servicing of your engine, so taking care of the air filter is an essential job.


This is shaped like a can. It compresses the air and fuel mixture. It travels up and down in the cylinder.

The pistons move up and down inside the cylinders in sync with the different stages of the combustion cycle. It is also the first part to transfer energy made by combusting fuel.


This sits on top of the cylinder block. It's a large piece of metal. All air, fuel, and exhaust gases flow through it.

The cylinder head is sealed to the cylinder block, ensuring that all gases flow through the pathways in the head, and not anywhere else. Other parts, like the camshafts and valves, sit in the cylinder head.


This creates a seal. It's extremely thin. This part can be made of metal or composites.

Without gaskets, your engine wouldn't run correctly. Depending on where they are in the engine, they seal out gases or fluids, keeping them from leaking out and not following the designated pathways. Because of their function, gaskets must be incredibly durable.


This rotates inside the cylinder head. It has lobes on it. This part is responsible for valve movement.

If you look at a camshaft, overall it's straight, but it has lobes that are oblong. As the shaft spins, those lobes push the valves open and closed, controlling the flow of the exhaust and the gas/fuel mix into and out of the engine.


This part is straight. It features openings at both ends. It attaches to the crankshaft.

The connecting rods attach to the pistons on one end, and on the other to the crankshaft. As the combustion in the cylinders press on the pistons, that energy is transferred to the crankshaft through the connecting rods, so they must be incredibly strong and reliable.


This sits at the bottom of the engine. It rotates constantly. Without it, no power would reach the transmission.

As the pistons push down on the connecting rods, that turns the crankshaft. Rather than being one continuous shaft, the crankshaft is divided up into sections for each of the connecting rods.


Modern cars don't have these. This acts like a miniature throttle. The air and fuel mix is controlled by this.

Old cars use carburetors to mix the air and fuel before it enters the engine. Unlike modern cars, the process is entirely analog, making it easy to adjust by hand, but also dropping efficiency as a result.


This bolts to the lower portion of the engine block. The oil flows to it. Damaging this will lead to a seized engine.

The oil for your engine mostly stores in the sump, especially as the car sits. As you can imagine, damage to the sump would cause the oil to flow out of the engine, which absolutely is a bad thing.


This sits inside the cylinder head. It looks like a mini plunger. It regulates the flow of gases.

As the valves move, they either open or close pathways from the intake manifold or to the exhaust manifold. If the valves are damaged, they won't seal properly, and your engine will run rough, or maybe not at all.


This is a big part of the engine. It's usually where the air and fuel first mix. The fuel injectors traditionally are housed in here.

In engines without direct injection, the injectors spray fuel into the manifold, mixing it with air let in through the throttle. With direct injection, the intake manifold just allows the air to flow into the cylinder head.


This fits around the piston. Without this, a tight seal would be impossible. It is one piece of material.

The pistons have grooves in the side, which accommodate the piston rings perfectly. This part is made of pliable material, so you get an airtight seal against the cylinder wall. Otherwise, pressure inside the cylinder is compromised, and your engine won't run efficiently.


This goes through the piston. It holds the connecting rod in place. This part is small and simple.

Literally, this part is a pin or small rod that fits through an opening in the side of the piston, below the piston ring. It fits perfectly through the connecting rod's opening, securing the connection between those main components.


This is an electronic part. It communicates with the ECU. This measures oxygen levels.

Located in the air intake, with the position changing from one vehicle design to another, this sensor's sole purpose is to gauge the oxygen density of the air as it flows toward the engine. The ECU then adjusts the fuel spray accordingly.


This isolates engine vibrations from you. This part is incredibly strong. Without this, the engine would be all over the place.

Engine mounts can be made of different materials, and some even have air cushioning inside of them. The idea of this part is to securely attach the engine to the car's structure, and also help reduce how much of the engine vibrations you feel in the interior.


This covers the valve area. Remove this to adjust the valves easily. This part is flat.

Some engines require regular valve adjustments, and that's where valve covers really come in handy. Instead of having to take off the cylinder head each time, you just remove the cover, making the job far easier.


This is part of the ignition system. Each one is a different length. These fit over the spark plugs.

Each ignition wire for your car is a different length, depending on which spark plug well it must reach, which helps you not get the wires mixed up. Without a tight seal over the wells, your engine will run rough.


This works with the oil. It creates pressure. Oil wouldn't move without this component.

The oil doesn't move around your engine magically. Instead, the oil pump creates the necessary pressure to get and keep things flowing, otherwise the different parts wouldn't be properly lubricated, and your engine would be toast in no time.


This is like a big disc. This part attaches to the crankshaft. This part interacts with the clutch and transmission.

As the crankshaft spins, thanks to the pressure exerted inside the cylinders, it in turn spins the flywheel, which transfers that energy to the clutch and transmission, so you can move.


This helps keep your engine cool. You put this on to warm up. This runs throughout the block.

The water jacket is a series of passageways through the engine which allow the coolant to flow around and pick up some of the heat generated. Without the water jacket, your engine would overheat, and it would be much louder.


This is coiled tightly. This works closely with the valve. A lot of pressure is placed on this component.

Along with the camshaft, the valve spring is responsible with making the valve move back and forth in the cylinder head. Because of its job, a valve spring is always moving and under pressure, making it incredibly important to the operation of the engine.


This is an electronic component. It works with the camshaft. It measures movement.

The entire job of the camshaft position sensor is to measure how quickly the camshaft is rotating in RPMs, and communicate that back to the ECU, which helps with controlling engine timing.


This sits on the exterior of the engine. It looks like a wheel. This helps to drive peripheral components.

The pulleys transmit some of the twisting force from the engine to the belts, helping to power things like the water pump, alternator, etc. Bad pulleys can squeal like crazy, which is a really annoying sound.


This helps the engine ventilation. It sits inside the engine. This helps eliminate pressurization.

Without a breather for the crankcase in your engine, gases trapped would have nowhere to go, leading to pressurization. This helps expel gases that escape from the piston rings, so you aren't dealing with a catastrophic failure scenario.


This simply measures vibrations. You need this in case of detonation. This sits inside the engine.

Knock is when the fuel combusts in an uncontrolled way, and it's bad since it ruins efficiency, performance, and potentially engine parts. A knock sensor will detect when this happens, and helps the engine adjust accordingly.


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