What Are The Main Parts Of A Car Engine? (With Diagram)


The engine is the ‘heart’ of an automobile. It is a complex machine designed to convert one or more forms of energy into mechanical energy that turns the road wheels.

While many of us think of the engine as one major component, however, it is actually made up of multiple individual components working simultaneously. You may have heard of some of these car engine parts names, but it’s important to understand what are the basic parts of a car engine and their functions.

We have compiled a list of the main car engine parts and their functions that power your vehicle. Refer to the diagram to locate where they are on your engine.

Car Engine Parts Diagram

As we can see in the car engine parts diagram, it is a complex assembly that assembles the many basic parts that are listed below.

Car Engine Parts Diagram consist of  different parts of a car engine such as the engine block (cylinder block), the combustion chamber, the cylinder head, pistons, the crankshaft, the camshaft, the timing chain, the valve train, valves, rocker arms, pushrods/lifters, fuel injectors, and spark plugs.
Car Engine Parts Diagram

Parts of a Car Engine

A car engine is a complex machine that converts fuel into energy to power the vehicle. It consists of several different parts that work together to generate the necessary power to propel the car forward.

The different parts that make up your car’s engine consist of: the engine block (cylinder block), combustion chamber, cylinder head, pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, timing chain, valves, rocker arms, pushrods/lifters, fuel injectors, spark plugs, Oil Pan, Manifold, Connecting Rod, Piston Ring, and Flywheels.

1. Engine Block (Cylinder Block)

The engine block is the central element of an engine. It is the structure that contains all the core components of the engine such as pistons, crankshaft, and connecting rods, and is divided into three fixed sections: cylinder head, block, and crankcase.

The cylinders (4-16 metal tubes, depending on the vehicle type) are located in their bores, which determine the displacement of the engine depending on the diameter. Fuel burns and the piston moves back and forth. Some other holes in the engine are the much-needed coolant and oil flow paths required for cooling and lubrication.

Engine blocks are usually made from a single piece of casting. Materials used commonly include cast iron and aluminum. For larger engines, the engine block is broken down into two or more castings. The crankcase cylinders are usually manufactured separately.

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2. Piston

A piston is a moving disk enclosed in a cylinder sealed gas-tight by piston rings. Pistons are commonly made from cast aluminum alloy for excellent and lightweight thermal conductivity. Pistons are responsible for transferring the energy generated during the combustion cycle to the crankshaft that powers our vehicles.

Pistons move up and down within the cylinder twice during each rotation of the crankshaft. Pistons on engines rotating at 1250 rpm move up and down 2500 times per minute. The engine’s crankshaft, which is connected to the pistons by rods, then rotates and drives the car’s drive wheels.

3. Crankshaft

The crankshaft is essentially the backbone of the internal combustion engine. This is located in the lower part of the engine block and is designed to convert the linear (up and down) movement of the piston into a rotary and reciprocating movement that works at engine speed. Crankshafts should have very high fatigue strength and wear resistance to ensure long service life.

4. Camshaft

A camshaft is a shaft containing a series of pointed cams to convert rotary motion into reciprocating motion. As the sharp end of the cam rotates against the valve, it pushes the valve down and opens the port. Once the sharp end transitions back to the round end, the valve springs push the valve back to its original position and shut the port.

The rotation of the camshaft is connected to the rotation of the crankshaft via belts and pulleys. The role of the camshaft is to regulate the timing of the opening and closing of valves and take the rotary motion from the crankshaft and transfer it to an up-and-down motion to control the movement of the lifters, moving the pushrods, rockers, and valves.  

5. Cylinder Head

The cylinder head sits on top of the engine. Its purpose is to seal the top of the cylinder to create the combustion chamber. While retaining their shape, they seal the cylinder block via the head gasket. They are key to controlling airflow in and out of the cylinders and fuel distribution.

The cylinder head also contains the injectors, valves, gears, and spark plugs – and contains more moving parts than any other part of the engine. The cylinder head is the passage through which fuel enters the engine compartment and exhaust gases exit.

6. Timing Belt/Chain

In an engine, either a timing belt or chain is used to synchronize the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. This synchronization ensures that the engine’s valves open and close at the right time in relation to the position of the pistons.

The belt is made from heavy-duty rubber with teeth to grip the pulleys from the camshaft and crankshaft. The chain, much like your bicycle chain, wraps around toothed pulleys.

7. Engine Valve

Engine valves are mechanical components used in internal combustion engines to allow or restrict the flow of fluid or gas to and from the combustion chambers or cylinders during engine operation.

Four-stroke or four-stroke internal combustion engines use two primary types of valves – the intake valve and the exhaust valve. The intake valves open to allow an air/fuel mixture to enter the engine’s cylinders prior to compression and ignition, while the exhaust valves open to allow exhaust gases from the combustion process to be expelled after ignition has occurred.

The movement of the engine valve is regulated by a timing belt or chain controlled by the crankshaft according to the piston position.

8. The rocker’s arms

The rocker arms work in tandem with the cams (from the camshaft) to push down on the valve system and allow the required air into the chamber or exhaust out.

9. The pushrods/lifters

On engines (overhead valve engines) where the camshaft lobes do not contact the rocker’s arms, the pushrods/tappets are used in place in the valve system.

10. Oil Pan

The oil pan is bolted to the bottom of the engine and is the reservoir for oil that is pumped through the engine to lubricate clean and cool moving parts. A pump forces the oil from the pan through a filter to remove dirt and other debris before it circulates through the engine.

The pan is usually made of steel or aluminum and typically holds four to six liters of oil, depending on the engine. The oil dipstick protrudes into the oil pan and measures the oil level in the reservoir. A drain plug on the bottom can be removed to drain oil.

11. Combustion Chamber

A Combustion Chamber is the area within the cylinder where the fuel/air mix is ignited. As the Piston compresses the fuel/air mix and makes contact with the Spark Plug, the mixture is combusted and pushed out of the Combustion Chamber in the form of energy.

Aluminum is used as a material in the combustion chamber because it dissipates heat higher than cast iron.

12. Fuel Injector

For the combustion process to occur, fuel is necessary. Your car’s fuel pump delivers gasoline to the fuel injector. The fuel injector injects/sprays fuel into the intake manifold at a very precise angle. Within the intake manifold, air and fuel mix. The air-fuel mixture is compressed in the combustion chamber, igniting the chemical reaction required to power your engine.

Related Posts: How Does A Cars Fuel System Works?

13. Intake Manifold

The intake manifold is part of the engine that is responsible for distributing airflow between the cylinders and on many cars, it also holds the fuel injectors.

On older vehicles without fuel injection or with throttle body injection, the manifold draws the fuel/air mixture from the carburetor/throttle body to the cylinder heads. The manifold allows air into the combustion chamber on the intake stroke, and this air is then mixed with fuel from the injector, after which the combustion cycle continues.

Intake manifolds are usually made of aluminum or cast iron, although some cars use plastic manifolds.

14. Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is bolted directly to the engine block and forms the first section of a vehicle’s exhaust system. It channels the exhaust gases from all cylinders and directs them to the car’s catalytic converter. The exhaust manifold has the same function in both petrol and diesel engines, in both cases, it carries exhaust gas.

A leak in the exhaust manifold or its gasket can allow exhaust gases to escape, posing a health hazard to vehicle occupants and can lead to erroneous readings from the oxygen sensor, triggering a check engine light.

Exhaust manifolds are usually made of cast iron or stainless steel. Larger holes in a manifold will produce loud exhaust noise.

15. Spark Plug

There is a spark plug that resides above each of the cylinders. As the name suggests, spark plugs are the electrical spark that ignites the combustion needed to start your vehicle. Spark plugs deliver a surge of electricity across a small gap that ignites the fuel and air mixture that sets the pistons in motion and makes your vehicle run.

A spark plug has a metal threaded shell, electrically insulated from a center electrode by a ceramic insulator.

The center electrode, which may contain a resistor, is connected to the output terminal of an ignition coil or magneto by a heavily insulated wire.

16. Connecting Rod

A connecting rod is the part of an engine that connects the piston to the crankshaft. Together with the crank, the connecting rod converts the stroke movement of the piston into the rotation of the crankshaft. The connecting rod is needed to transmit the compressive and tensile forces from the piston. In its most common form, in an internal combustion engine, it allows pivoting at the piston end and turning at the shaft end.

The predecessor of the connecting rod is a mechanical linkage used by water mills to convert the rotary motion of the water wheel into reciprocating motion.

17. Piston Ring

Between the piston and the cylinder, the piston ring is a part of a car engine that is needed for an engine to work efficiently. Simply put, piston rings form a seal between the piston and cylinder wall, preventing pressurized combustion gases from entering the oil pan.

They also regulate oil consumption by preventing excess oil from entering the combustion chamber and burning. Properly functioning rings are critical to maximizing engine performance and efficiency.

The top and second rings are responsible for pressing firmly against the cylinder wall and sealing the combustion chamber, keeping combustion gases in and oil out.

The oil ring scrapes the oil off the cylinder wall on the way down and carries it back into the oil pan. Since an extremely thin film of oil lubricates the ring/cylinder wall interface, it is normal for some oil to burn off during combustion.

18. Gudgeon Pin

A gudgeon pin, also known as a wrist pin, is an important part of a car engine. It creates a connection between the connecting rod and the piston. Gudgeon pins can also be used with connecting rods and wheels or cranks.

19. Flywheel

The flywheel in your car is a vital part of the drivetrain that does wonders for the power delivery from the engine. It resembles a large, heavy disc that is connected to the end of the crankshaft and interacts with the clutch disc to engage the drive to the wheels.

The flywheel provides mass for rotational inertia to keep your car’s engine running. Otherwise, the engine will stall when you let your foot off the accelerator. It balances the engine. A flywheel is specifically weighted to the car’s crankshaft to smooth out the rough feeling caused by even a slight imbalance.

20. Head gasket

A head gasket serves as a seal between the engine block and cylinder head, preventing engine fluid leaks and pressure losses.

The head gasket is an important part of a car engine, which plays a crucial role in sealing the engine’s combustion chamber so that your car can build the appropriate compression that is needed to maintain your engine power. It also keeps coolant or oil from leaking anywhere else, preventing your engine from overheating and catching fire.

21. Cylinder Liner

It is a cylinder that is fitted to the engine block to form the cylinder and is one critical function part that forms the engine interior. The cylinder liner is a sleeve in which the piston of an engine reciprocates.

During use, the cylinder liner is subject to wear from the rubbing action of the piston rings and piston skirt. This wear is minimized by the thin oil film which coats the cylinder walls and also by a layer of glaze that naturally forms as the engine is run in.

22. Crank Case

The crankcase is the “body” that holds all of the other engine parts together. It’s the largest part of the engine, but must be designed to be both strong and light. To keep the weight low, the brothers used aluminum to make the crankcase. The crankcase is located in between the engine block and the oil pan. It allows the crankshaft to spin, producing the torque necessary to power the engine.

23. Engine Distributor

A distributor is an enclosed rotating switch used in spark-ignition internal combustion engines that have mechanically timed ignition. The distributor’s main function is to route high voltage current from the ignition coil to the spark plugs in the correct firing order, and for the correct amount of time.

24. Oil Filter

The oil filter helps remove contaminants from your car engine’s oil that can accumulate over time as the oil keeps your engine clean. Clean motor oil is important because if the oil were left unfiltered for a period of time, it could become saturated with tiny, hard particles that can wear surfaces in your engine.

25. Water Pump

A water pump is a vital part of your car, truck, or SUV’s cooling system. Its primary purpose is to continually circulate coolant from the radiator to the vehicle’s engine block to prevent overheating. Modern water pumps are much more robust, but there is still a chance they could fail after many years or miles.

Car Engine Parts Names with Diagram

The list of Car Engine parts Name:

  • Engine block
  • Piston
  • Cylinder Head
  • Crank Shaft
  • Camshaft
  • Timing belt
  • Engine Valves
  • Oil Pan
  • Combustion chamber
  • Intake manifold
  • Exhaust manifold
  • Intake and Exhaust valves
  • Spark Plugs
  • Connecting Rod
  • Piston Ring
  • Gudgeon pin
  • Cam
  • Flywheels
  • Head gasket
  • Cylinder Liner
  • Crank Case
  • Distributor
  • Distributor o ring
  • Cylinder headcover
  • Rubber grommet
  • Camshaft pulley
  • Oil filter
  • Water pump
  • Timing belt drive pulley
  • Oil pan drain bolt
  • Turbocharger and supercharger
  • Starter motor
Car Engine Parts Diagram consist of  different parts of a car engine such as the engine block (cylinder block), the combustion chamber, the cylinder head, pistons, the crankshaft, the camshaft, the timing chain, the valve train, valves, rocker arms, pushrods/lifters, fuel injectors, and spark plugs.
Car engine parts names with diagram

Watch the video below to learn more about the Basic parts of a car engine with Diagrams and Functions:


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