Only True Master Mechanics Can Ace This Engines Quiz


By: Steven

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

How well can you wrench on an engine? Do you know the difference between a spark plug and a piston? Test your mechanical brain with these engine-related questions.

Highly cushioned motor mounts do what to performance?

Line lash, or when cushioning motor mounts actually absorb some of the torque produced by the engine, is real. It can actually make a car slower, at least by a little, since you depend on torque to get going at first. The trade-off with using stiffer motor mounts is that people in the car feel the harshness of a launch.


How often should you change your engine oil?

Your car's manufacturer knows exactly what the engine needs to keep running smoothly, so follow the advice provided about oil changes, among other things. Of course, if you drive in dusty conditions, tow a trailer, or make short trips frequently, you might want to change the oil sooner, since those activities place an additional strain on everything.


Do you get more power from exhaust cutouts?

If you want to use exhaust cutouts on a street car, you'll have to install a system where you can switch it back and forth between that and a traditional setup, because most local laws don't allow for them. Since you're letting the exhaust escape earlier, you'll see at least a little bit of a power bump. It will also make your car far louder, so don't say you weren't warned!


What's unique about an opposed piston engine?

This is a very unique engine design that some people believe has real potential. Without a cylinder head, an opposed piston engine retains heat better, meaning it's more efficient. The intake and exhaust ports are located at the ends of the opposite cylinders.


Which of the following isn't a benefit of beltless engines?

The most popular example of a beltless engine is what you find in the Toyota Prius. As you can imagine, this isn't a design made for tire-shredding performance. It also helps cut down on pollution, and allows you to turn on the AC without starting up the engine, reducing fuel consumption.


Milky or frothy engine oil usually means what?

Usually, this is the result of a blown head gasket and can tip you off to the problem earlier than some other signs. Look for white smoke coming out of the tailpipe, and that will help support this theory. The other possibility, although not as common, is water in the oil.


Why are MacPherson struts so popular in modern cars?

This ingenious design replaces two components that were common in older cars: a steering pivot and a suspension mount. That means they take up less space and cost less to produce. Without MacPherson struts, you couldn't have front-wheel-drive cars with a transverse-mounted engine.


Which of the following is a benefit of water cooling?

Some people still get nostalgic about air cooled engines. While they have some advantages, liquid cooling helps prevent overheating, boosts efficiency, and is overall more reliable, as long as you don't have a coolant leak. You'll also notice air cooled car engines are rather noisy when compared to modern engines.


What does a non-interference engine not do?

If the belt or chain on a non-interference engine ever breaks, there's no risk of the pistons and valves contacting, which can lead to some serious damage. Of course, if you stay up on maintenance, that shouldn't be an issue, but some people like the reassurance this engine design provides.


Drive by wire is what on a car?

First used in a production vehicle by BMW on the 7 Series way back in 1988, this technology replaces the throttle cable that's attached to the accelerator pedal. Drive by wire means more optimal airflow for any situation, since the ECU controls the throttle, based on your inputs with pedal movement. This also means fewer moving parts, so less maintenance for your car.


An Atkinson cycle engine features two different ratios called what?

The Atkinson cycle engine wins out for efficiency, making the most out of each drop of gas, versus the Otto design. The key to doing this is by keeping the intake valve open until the piston has moved up as much as 30 percent of the way through its compression cycle, which creates the difference in the compression and expansion ratios.


How do diesel engines ignite the air-fuel mixture?

You won't find spark plugs in a diesel engine, which sometimes has glow plugs to warm things up but not to cause ignition. Instead, the huge amount of pressure caused by extreme compression leads to combustion, which is the key to a diesel engine's superior efficiency versus gasoline designs.


Direct injection engines mix the air and fuel where?

This design actually comes from diesel engines. In regular gas-powered designs, the fuel and air mix together in the intake manifold, and then they flow into the cylinders through the intake valves. With this design, a precise amount of fuel is squired right into the cylinder just before combustion, boosting efficiency.


What tool should you use to be sure bolts are tightened properly?

Every mechanic should have this essential tool. You set the appropriate torque amount, which comes via the vehicle manufacturer, ensuring that a bolt isn't too loose, and also isn't so tight you damage anything. If you don't have one of these, get one before you take on any big projects.


From where did the Hemi engine get its name?

That rounded head actually leads to improved efficiency, which means more power. This unique design allows for two big valves per cylinder, so everything flows faster, which also helps with improved output. Some enthusiasts absolutely swear by this design.


Which of the following isn't a common measurement of engine displacement?

You measure displacement by calculating the swept volume when the pistons move from top dead center to bottom dead center. Some people believe that large displacement means better performance, but modern innovations like direct injection, forced induction, and hybrid setups arguably prove that thought wrong, at least in a way.


Driving on overinflated tires does what to the tread?

By putting too much air in your tires for long periods of time, you'll cause the center of the tread to wear faster than the sides. If you think that doesn't sound bad, just remember it means you'll need to buy tires sooner than if you just kept the tire inflation to the exact amount the manufacturer recommends.


What kind of axles do Jeep Wranglers have?

It used to be quite a few vehicles had solid axles in the front and back. Many have ditched that layout for independent suspensions as a way to boost comfort and on-road performance. As a vehicle designed primarily for trail driving, the Wrangler has kept the solid axles.


If you don't have a lift, what should you put a vehicle on before getting under it?

You can also use vehicle ramps, but should never get under a car that's supported by a jack of any kind. Jacks simply don't stabilize a vehicle enough to ensure it won't fall on you, so always use jack stands or ramps.


Will a clogged oil filter stop the flow of oil?

While you need to stay on top of oil changes, which includes swapping the oil filter, the oil will keep circulating around no matter the state of the filter. Of course, a clogged filter won't remove an impurities from the oil anymore, which can result in everything from overheating to increased wear on engine components.


Which is not a risk of running underinflated tires long-term?

Tires that are low on air can have all those negative effects, plus they make the engine and transmission work harder, waste fuel, and run up the risk of a blowout. Really, you need to check the tire pressure about once a month, and don't ignore the tire pressure warning light, if your car has one.


How tight should lug nuts be?

If you tighten the lug nuts too much, you could damage the bolt threads or the lug nuts themselves, and possibly even damage the wheels. Of course, not tightening the lug nuts enough could mean the wheel wobbles or comes off. It's all about looking at the torque specified in the owner's manual, and only tightening things that much.


When can you use winter tires?

Despite being called winter tires, technically you can use them during other times of the year. They're made of a softer rubber compound, so they'll still grip the road in the summertime. The only problem is winter tires could wear out quicker in hot temperatures because they're so soft, which is why it's probably best to only use them in colder weather.


You can spot a flood damaged vehicle by doing what?

There's no one surefire way to spot a flood-damaged car, but there are many different ways the damage might show up. Loose carpeting, mismatched upholstery, a musty odor, corrosion in hinges and latches, water stains under the hood, and other red flags should help you stay away from these nightmare vehicles.


What is horsepower?

Despite the name, horsepower is all about how much power an engine produces. It's not always the same figure because engines produce different levels of power at different points. You can put a car on a dynamometer to accurately measure horsepower.


What is torque?

Most people don't even know what to make of torque, so they skip over this spec on vehicles. What you feel when you first start off from a standstill is mostly torque, or that twisting force produced by the engine crankshaft, which transfers to the transmission and driveshaft, before turning the wheels.


What is the static timing method?

The opposite method, called dynamic timing, means you set the timing with the engine running. The static method is easier and requires less expensive equipment. In fact, most shade tree mechanics can take this on without any problems.


If the lights in your car dim when you press on the accelerator, what's likely the cause?

While not a complete certainty, this is a classic symptom of an alternator going out. The alternator supplies electricity for everything from the sound system to your headlights and dash lights as your drive. Since it's a belt-driven component, pressing on the accelerator could cause a bad alternator to fluctuate electrical output so drastically, you notice lights dimming.


Which of the following isn't a cause of engine knock?

The dreaded engine knock can be a real problem with certain engines, while others don't suffer from this ailment. The cause is the air-fuel mixture igniting at the wrong time, which results in a violent explosion that can damage some engine internal components. If you hear pinging, that's usually a sign of engine knock, which you should correct immediately.


Turbochargers boost engine power by doing what?

Turbochargers are a form of forced induction, or they cram more air into the engine cylinders. With more air, the fuel will combust or burn more fully, which means you get more power and better performance. Turbochargers will not only make a car more powerful, they can be used to improve fuel economy.


Where can you find the paint code on a modern car?

Just look for the sticker in the door jamb, which lists the code for your car's paint color. You'll need that to order touch-up paint for the dealership, or if you need to repaint any portion of the car after an accident. That door jamb sticker has other useful info, including how much air to put in the tires.


How do you prevent an oil filter from fusing to the vehicle?

The high heat of your engine and the tight seal with the oil filter could cause a fusion of metal. If you take the time to spread a little oil on the filter's opening, this won't happen, and you'll skip out on a frustrating and potentially expensive repair that's completely avoidable.


What is top dead center?

You'll need to know top dead center for a number of engine projects, like if you have to replace internal components and are putting the engine back together. If you don't find the top dead center, you might be facing serious, maybe even catastrophic, damage to your car's engine.


What's the first thing to check if the heater in your car won't blow warm air?

The coolant absorbs heat from your engine, and then it flows into the heater core, which is where heat is captured for the heater. When you turn on the heater, fans blow the hot air from the heater core into the cabin. If the coolant level is too low, that heater core won't warm up enough, causing the problem.


What will you see on your tires that will tell you it's about time to get new ones?

There are a few ways to tell when your tires are getting worn down and need to be swapped out. The easiest way to tell is by looking for the wear bars, which run counter the tread pattern and only show up once your tires are low enough to expose them. Once you see those, you really need to think about getting new tires.


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