How an Engine Works

How an Engine Works


Engine, Engines

Air and gas heat up and ignite causing the spark plugs to fire


There are pages and books available on the subject of how “things” work. Yet for those still biting their nails and wringing their hands on “just how an engine works,” you’re about to find out and then be able to cross this “mystery of the centuries” off your list once and for all. And if you’re a professional mechanic reading this article ready to raise your hand because you have spent time and money learning the “ropes” you can skip this page.

Warning! Before we start exploring gas and diesel engines, be advised that some of the verbiage may be “disturbing” to the “novice” and mechanic wannabe. Some of the KEY engine parts in a vehicle will be the following: Spark plugs, Valves, Piston, Piston rings, Connecting rods, Crankshaft, and Sump. The core of the engine is the cylinder with the piston moving up and down inside the cylinder. If this procedure fails you’ve got trouble. Different configurations have their own advantage and disadvantages in terms of smoothness, shape and manufacturing costs which makes them more suitable for certain types of vehicles.

The only way you control the power in a gas engine is putting in a throttle, which partly closes the intake. Ergo, the engine has to suck against that resistance, which creates low pressure called manifold vacuum. Controlling a gas engine is kind of like human breathing while holding one of your hands over you nose and mouth – Yikes! That said when air and gas mixture is compressed it will heat up enough to ignite the spark plug fires. Diesel engines have a higher compression ratio than gas engines and depends on air heating up when it’s compressed.


See this article for some helpful visuals




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