Can You Name the Engine Part from Three Hints?



By: Steven Symes

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The leg bone's connected to the hip bone.... oops, sorry, wrong quiz.. The radiator's connected to the engine block... or is it? 

The modern gasoline-driven automobile is made up of approximately 3,000 different parts (though the electric ones have only 20, which is why they are so much cheaper to run). Each of these parts work together to make your car function at the top of its game. Lucky for you, we've only included 35 car parts in this quiz, and they are all part of the engine. The engine, of course, is the part of your car that makes the whole vehicle go vroom, and the largest car engine has as many as 14,000 parts. The average is thankfully lower, with only a few hundred, but as we all know, there are some parts that are more critical than others - and definitely more well known. 

We don't expect you to be able to name each nut and bolt for this quiz, but we will expect you to be able to identify some of the more common engine parts When you're finished, you will never look at engines the same way again. Take this quiz to find out how much you really know about what's under your cars' hood.

It adds that special spark. It sits in a well. It can become fouled.

The spark plug puts the spark right in the cylinders, igniting the air and fuel mixture. Without spark plugs, your engine wouldn't produce any power, and your car would just sit.


It delivers the explosive stuff into the cylinders, if it's the direct kind. It has a fine nozzle. It's the final part of the gas delivery system.

Your fuel injectors are what deliver the gas to the cylinders, making them the final component in a chain of parts, at least in a direct injection setup. More modern engines use such a setup, because it boosts efficiency and power.


This is how your engine breathes. Some people get a higher-flow version to boost performance. You need a filter that you change or clean regularly for this part.

All cars have an air intake, although some have unique designs and placements. Without one, you won't get the oxygen necessary to combust fuel. Going with an air intake that speeds up the flow can impact performance for the better, especially when combined with other modifications.


This controls valve movements. It has several lobes. This part rotates constantly.

As the camshafts spin, the lobes control when and how much the intake and exhaust valves move. Many tuners will install performance camshafts with more aggressive lobes as a somewhat easy way to get more power from their current engine setup.


This creates a tight seal. This part is super thin. Blowing one of these can lead to compression problems.

Your engine needs a tight seal to run correctly, and gaskets close up gaps between metallic parts since they're soft. Blowing a head gasket can create all kinds of problems with your car, and should be fixed before too long or you risk even bigger issues.


This is the largest part of an engine. You could say this is the central area. Most of the other components go inside this, or bolt to it.

As the main part of the engine, the cylinder block is kind of like the body that houses all sorts of components. It also contains the cylinders, or the chambers were combustion takes place, as well as the water jacket for cooling, and the crankshaft.


This part compresses the air and fuel mixture. This part is cylinder-shaped. Lightning McQueen had a trophy shaped like this.

The piston moves up and down in each cylinder, putting pressure on the air and fuel so it's ready for the spark that ignites everything. After combustion, the piston travels downward again, getting ready to move up and compress the next batch of air and fuel.


This sits on top of the cylinder block. Without this component, your cylinders wouldn't be sealed. The camshafts and valves sit in this part.

Engines with an inline cylinder configuration have only one cylinder head, but a V formation means the engine has two, one for each cylinder bank. The flow of air, fuel, and exhaust gases in and out of the cylinders is controlled through the cylinder head.


This attaches to the piston on one end. On the other end, it attaches to the crank shaft. One opening is bigger than the other.

While the crankshaft determines how the pistons move, it's the connecting rod that ties the two together. For that reason, the opening on the bottom is larger, to accommodate the crankshaft, while the top opening is smaller. These must be incredibly durable, otherwise you're facing a big repair.


This sits in the bottom of the cylinder block. It constantly rotates. The flywheel connects to this part.

Ultimately, the part of the engine that sends all twisting motion to the flywheel, and in turn the transmission, is the crankshaft. This part isn't one smooth shaft, but instead is divided into sections, corresponding to the motion of the pistons themselves.


This sits on the bottom of the cylinder block. It contains the engine's oil. You could say it looks like a big pan.

All oil from the engine ends up in the sump at one point or another. It acts as the collector for the majority of the oil when the engine is shut off, since it sits at the bottom of the engine block, where gravity naturally pulls the oil.


This sits in the cylinder head. It controls the flow of exhaust or air/fuel. When all of these close, combustion should take place.

While the camshaft controls the valves, the valves control the flow of gas, air, and exhaust into and out of the cylinders. When closed, the valves create an air-tight seal nothing can get around.


This is only present in engines with the camshaft in the bottom of the cylinder head. The rocker arm and camshaft control this part. This part regulates how the valves open.

While more common in older engines, the push rod is necessary to control how and when the valves in the cylinder head open and close. Essentially, it creates a connection between the camshaft and valve.


This bolts directly to the cylinder head. It transports exhaust gases. This starts as many branches, then converges into one.

Without the exhaust manifold, your engine would spew exhaust fumes all over in the engine bay. In other words, the exhaust manifold is a necessary part for the safe operation of your car, because breathing that stuff is dangerous.


This component bolts to the cylinder head. Without direct injection, this is where the air and fuel mix. Fuel injectors plug into it.

If your car doesn't have direct fuel injection, the intake manifold is where the special mixture of air and fuel happens, before it flows into the cylinders through the intake valves. The object is to get the ideal mix of air and fuel.


This creates a tight seal. This component has a round shape. It fits onto the piston.

Not only do piston rings seal the air and fuel mixture, plus exhaust gases inside the cylinder, they cut down on friction between the piston and the cylinder wall. The ring must sit inside some grooves that are part of the piston's side.


This is a spindle. It fits inside the piston. Without this, the piston and connecting rod wouldn't work well together.

Sometimes called a gudgeon pin, this shaft runs horizontally through the piston. It actually secures the connection between the piston and connecting rod


This has three "faces". Essentially, this part takes the place of three pistons. It also is triangular in shape.

While some things are similar in a rotary engine, the rotor is one of those that's different. On each face of the rotor is a pocket, which accommodates the air and fuel mixture inside the engine combustion chamber. The rotor spins around, using each of its faces to aid in the combustion process.


Rotors fit over one of these. This is kind of like a crankshaft for rotary engines. It contains several lobes.

As the rotor moves around in the housing or combustion chamber, the movement puts torque on the output shaft, so it spins too. This creates a smooth, continuous motion, and in turn the even power delivery that makes rotary engines so legendary.


This part has a threaded section. It is typically long and slender. It heats diesel fuel.

Without glow plugs, you might not be able to start a diesel engine, especially when it's cold outside. Not only do they warm up the diesel, this component can also positively impact engine performance well after, making it a critical part.


This protects the valves. It sits on the top of the cylinder head. A gasket seals this part to the rest of the engine.

Some engines require regular or semi-regular valve adjustments. To make the job easier for mechanics, and to keep the cost of valve adjustments down, engineers design the engine with valve covers. These come off pretty easily, giving you immediate access to all the valves underneath.


This cleans the oil. You must replace this along with the oil. Often, this part looks like a can.

The oil in your engine picks up all kinds of stuff, including metal shavings, deposits, and more. Without a filter, the oil wouldn't protect against wear and tear on the engine as well, plus it wouldn't be as effective in helping to cool the engine, making oil filters vital.


This fits over one end of the spark plug. It attaches to the distributor on the other end. They come in different lengths, according to cylinder order.

Without ignition wires, there's no way to get the electrical current to the spark plugs. To maintain the cylinder compression, these wires have rubber boots that fit over the top of the spark plug wells, which you must ensure are sealed tightly.


This sits in the air intake. It removes dust from the air. Without this part, all kinds of contaminants could enter the intake manifold.

The air filter in your car's intake is an essential engine part. It keeps debris from entering the engine, which is why you need to swap it out periodically. Some performance intakes have a cleanable filter, which you may or may not need to oil afterward.


This helps drive accessories attached to the engine. You must change this part out somewhat regularly. A lot of people wear something their pants, which as the same name.

Because the belts are usually made of rubber, they don't last forever. Being exposed to the air, plus extreme temperatures under the hood means the belts will start to crack, and may even fray at the edges. Once your belts start to show these signs of wear, you should swap them out immediately.


This is mounted to the side or front of your engine. It helps move the belts. It looks like a wheel.

Sometimes, people think the belts on their car are wearing out, when in reality the pulleys are going out. Many experts recommend swapping out the pulleys along with the belts, since you're going to the trouble of taking things apart in that area, and usually pulleys fail not too long after the belts do.


This is built into the cylinder block. This part helps manage engine temperature. It runs through strategic areas, transporting coolant.

As the coolant flows through the water jacket, it heats up. That coolant then flows through the hoses to the radiator, where it cools off, before being sent back to the engine to do it all over again. Without the water jacket, your engine would overheat and not be nearly as reliable.


This part keeps the engine in place. It helps absorb engine vibrations. Some are designed to break in an accident.

Without engine mounts, your engine wouldn't really be attache to your car, so they're pretty essential. Not only that, different ones have designs that absorb vibrations, so you don't feel the engine running as you're sitting at a stop light, which makes for a more comfortable ride.


This regulates how much air flows into the engine. It contains a throttle plate. Newer cars don't have these.

Basically, a carburetor is like a tube, with the throttle plate to regulate airflow to the engine. in addition, the carburetor also includes a fuel jet, so the two mix together before flowing into the cylinders. This analog design was ditched in favor of fuel injection.


This is a sensor. It measures oxygen levels. It plugs into the air intake.

One of the big advantages with electronic fuel injection is that the system monitors factors such as oxygen density in the air, and adjusts how much fuel goes into the mix. The O2 sensor is key in the process, helping the engine to run more efficiently.


This keeps the crankshaft in the same spot. It keeps all crankshaft motion rotating, not going anywhere else. It also keeps the connecting rod from pulling free from the crankshaft.

The main bearings are what literally make the crankshaft go around, even as the connecting rods push down. They also prevent the forces from the flywheel, clutch, and transmission from making the crankshaft move in any other direction.


This pushes oil around. It uses pressure to get the oil flowing. If this goes out, your engine could be ruined.

The oil pump does exactly what its name indicates: it pumps the oil throughout the engine. Since the oil sits in the sump at the bottom of the engine, it needs something to create the pressure necessary to get the oil all the way to the camshafts, and do it consistently.


This is an electronic device. It monitors the crankshaft only. It can tell just how quickly the crankshaft is turning at any moment.

All information from the crank sensor goes to the ECU or engine control unit. It's able to adjust fuel injection, ignition, and air intake for optimal efficiency and power.


All air passes through this. It regulates airflow. When you press on the accelerator, it really controls this part.

Modern engines rely on many sensors, including the crank sensor or crankshaft position sensor to run correctly. This means better fuel economy, improved output throughout the RPM range, and greater reliability.


This constantly monitors for detonation. It really measures vibrations in the engine. Usually, it's in the lower portion of the engine block.

Since detonation is such a violent reaction, the knock sensor only needs to measure vibrations to tell when any spark knock happens. Even though in many cars this sensor is in the lower portion of the block, some have knock sensors in the intake manifold or the upper portion of the cylinders.


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