Our Best Engine Quiz



By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Marin Tomas/Moment/Gettyimages

About This Quiz

A car's engine is seriously important to you to get from destination A to B! When something goes wrong with it, your car is useless and it's a case of having it fixed or relying on some other form of transport! And things can go wrong quickly. Why? Well, car engines consist of thousands of parts, all working in unison to transfer the power the engine makes into energy that makes your vehicle move in a straight line.

If you think about it, it is simply incredible that engineers managed to figure this all out in the previous century! Thankfully they did, otherwise we would be still cleaning up horse manure outside our houses!  The thing is, all those working parts not only need to work in perfect harmony to make an engine run, but they must also do so efficiently as well. An engine that isn't running properly is just going to cost you money somewhere down the line.

So just how much do you know about the internal combustion engine and car engines, in particular? Do you know your exhaust manifolds from your mufflers, your oil pump from your fuel pump or your spark plug from your glow plug? Let's put you to the ultimate engine test!

Good luck!

When working on your engine, where would you drain the oil from?

Attached to the bottom of the engine, the oil pan is the reservoir where oil is kept when the engine is not running. To drain old oil from your engine, simply loosen a special bolt and drain the oil to dipsose of later.


Which of these provide the spark that causes combustion in your engine?

Essentially, spark plugs are the most important factor in a vehicle starting. They provide the spark that ignites the air-fuel mixture which starts the motor and keeps it running.


Who patented a two-stroke gasoline engine in 1879?

Karl Benz not only was responsible for the first car in 1885, he also produced a reliable two-stroke gasoline engine that made it possible in 1879.


What is another name for a rotary engine?

A rotary engine is very different to a conventional engine. For the main part it has no pistons. These are replace by rounded rotors. The combustion process causes these rotors to turn, which in turn generates power.


From the list below, name the man who created the first V8 engine.

The first V8 engine was invented in 1902 by Léon Levavasseur. V8 engines were initially used in boats and aircraft but eventually moved on to the automobile.


What is the first stroke an engine takes on startup?

The intake stroke is the first one taken by a running engine. Here a pressure vacuum sucks the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder, where it will be combusted.


The modern motor vehicle is only possible thanks to which of these below?

Without the internal combustion engine, cars would not exist today as we know them. Sure there are other engine types, but it's the internal combustion engine that has powered vehicles for the last 130 years.


Pistons are connected to the crankshaft with which of these below?

All pistons are secured to the crankshaft via a connecting rod. This allows the piston to move the crankshaft after the power stroke.


Cylinders within an engine can be arranged in a numbers of ways. The three most common are inline, flat and _____?

Each arrangement has its own unique pros and cons, but cylinders arranged in a V are certainly the most powerful. In fact, Volkswagen put two banks of V engines together to create an even more powerful W engine for the Bugatti Veyron.


What burns within the engine to keep the combustion process going and the engine running?

The air/gasoline mixture is ignited by the spark from the spark plug prompting the combustion necessary to keep the engine running.


Can you identify the part that moves coolant through the engine when it's hot?

A water pump moves coolant from the radiator through the engine where the excess heat is transferred to it. It then returns to the radiator.


Which two engine parts are linked by a timing belt to ensure they keep the valves and pistons in sync?

A timing belt is crucial to ensure the engine fires correctly by keeping valves and pistons in sync.


An overhead cam engine will have a camshaft in which position?

Overhead cam engines have a camshaft situated above the valves. This is the most common type of layout in engines.


Which of these is not an engine type?

The odd one out here is a Z engine. Nothing like that exists. A Wankel engine is also called a rotary engine. We all know what a V engine is, for example a V8, and a W engine is two V engines in line.


The engine stroke where the gases formed by combustion are allowed to leave the engine is known as the ______ stroke.

Once the fuel/air mixture has been burnt up, it produces gases, These are removed from the engine via the exhaust system through the exhaust stroke.


Gases that form as a result of the burning of the fuel/air mixture are released into the exhaust system through which of these below?

An exhaust valve is found in the cylinder head. It is driven by the camshaft and releases exhaust gases after combustion.


Major parts of the engine are found here, including the piston, crankshaft and cylinders. What are we talking about?

Cast out of metal, the engine block houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders. The engine block is also sometimes called the cylinder block.


What is the name of the protective piece bolted to the cylinder head?

The valve cover is bolted onto the cylinder head. It acts as a protective lid to the inner workings of the engine.


A piston stroke is a linear motion which is changed into a rotational motion by which car part?

The crankshaft changes the linear motion of the piston stroke into a rotational one, which turns the driveshaft and makes a vehicle move.


The amount of air/fuel mixture taken into the engine is controlled by which of these below?

Driven by the camshaft, the intake valve is located in the cylinder head. It has the job of letting in the right amount of air/fuel mixture into the cylinder.


What do valves do in an engine?

Valves must open to let the gas/air mixture into the cylinder and then close to allow combustion to happen. Finally, they open to release the gases that are left over after the combustion process.


Can you identify the part that helps keep impurities out of the lubricant that moves around the engine?

Oil keeps all the moving parts of an engine lubricated. An oil filter helps to remove impurities in the oil that might damage the engine.


What part of your engine charges the battery while the car is moving?

Not only does an alternator charge your battery, but​ it also powers most of the electrical systems on a vehicle. If it is faulty, your battery will quickly run flat.


If cylinders are arranged in a straight line, it is commonly called a/an _________ engine?

The most common configuration for the cylinders in an engine is inline. These can be 2-, 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder engines.


Which stroke of the engine transfers force to the crankshaft?

The power stroke is the third of four in a running engine. Once compression has taken place and the air/fuel mix has combusted, the power created by this is transferred to the crankshaft, which then turns.


What is the purpose of the oil that travels around your engine while the car is running?

There are many metal parts within the engine. These need lubrication which motor oil provides, ensuring that they do not wear out quickly.


Can you name the engine part that ensures the air coming into the engine is clean?

The air entering your car's engine needs to be clean. This is the air filter's job. Depending on the roads you drive on, it should be replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, more often if you drive on dusty, unpaved roads.


What does your car radiator do?

A radiator dissipates the heat that engine coolant carries from the engine into it. It then circulates the now-cooler engine coolant back into the engine to do the same again.


In what part of the engine are pistons found?

Pistons are housed within the cylinder, where they form a tight fit. Here they move up and down in the cylinder.


Unwanted crankshaft vibrations are stopped by which of these below?

The balance shaft is a counterweighted engine shaft. It offsets unwanted crankshaft vibrations that would cause untold problems over time and make your ride thoroughly unpleasant.


By what other name is a horizontally opposed engine known?

A boxer engine, or horizontally opposed engine, sees cylinders arranged on either side of a crankshaft.


Which of these is an engine type available in modern vehicles?

Horizontally opposed engines appear in many vehicle types, including motorcycles. They are often called flat engines, as well.


Name the part that turns the engine over during the startup process.

When you turn the key in your ignition, the starter motor engages. It turns the engine over, starting it.


Without this vital engine part, your car is not starting. Can you name it?

If your car's engine is turning over sluggishly when starting, or nothing happens except for a ticking sound, it's likely your battery is the problem. That is always the first place to check.


Name the engine stroke that squashes the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder, allowing it to combust.

The compression stroke sees the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder compressed enough to allow it to combust when the spark plug sparks.


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