Understanding Your Engine

Yes, you can understand your car’s engine! First, let’s talk about what it is and is not. Some people mistakenly think that an engine and a motor are the same thing. While the terms often get incorrectly used interchangeably, the engine uses combustion (of your fuel) to generate the energy that moves your car forward and the motor converts energy into motion. The expert technicians at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington, are ASE trained to service and repair both your vehicle’s engine and motor.

How Combustion Works

Nearly all cars produce energy through a four-stroke combustion cycle. Not surprisingly, there are four parts to the cycle. First, a small amount of fuel combines with air in a cylinder (intake stroke). Next, the air and fuel in the cylinder are compressed by a piston (compression stroke). Then the mixture is ignited by a spark. This small explosion forces the piston back up (combustion stroke). Finally, the resulting gas (referring to fumes, not gasoline) exits when the exhaust valve opens (exhaust stroke).

Major Engine Components

To make the combustion process described above happen, multiple parts must work together in order or chain reaction. Cylinders are the spaces where air and fuel combine. They may be found in a few different arrangements, depending on the kind of engine you have, but they all work on the same principle. The spark plugs, as the name implies, create the spark needed to ignite the air-fuel mixture. Valves, which are closed during compression and combustion, let air and fuel in and let exhaust out. The piston creates compression of the air-fuel mixture by moving up and down in the cylinder. Sealing the gap between the piston and cylinder, piston rings prevent the air-fuel mixture and exhaust from leaking out during compression and combustion. They also ensure that oil doesn’t enter the cylinder. The crankshaft converts the vertical motion of the pistons into circular motion. To accomplish this, the connection rod rotates at both ends, connecting the piston to the crankshaft. The sump contains and collects oil. It surrounds the crankshaft.

Service and Repair

Now that you understand the basic workings of your car’s engine, you will readily see why routine maintenance such as oil changes and the occasional spark plug replacement is vital to keeping your engine working properly. When something breaks (such as a crankshaft) or needs replacing due to age (such as leaking piston rings), Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington, can help you with those complex repairs on all makes and models.

Written by Jeff's Auto Repair

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