Prove You're an Engine Expert by Acing This Quiz


By: Robin Tyler

7 Min Quiz

Image: 1001nights / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Fancy yourself as a car buff? Think you know a little bit about car engines? Do you know you V8s from your Wankels, your electric motors from your hybrid powerplants and your crankshaft from your camshaft? Then, my friend, are in the right place to use all of that knowledge and ace this quiz!

So what's in store for you in "Prove You're an Engine Expert" quiz today? Well, not only do you need to know a little about the engines from various points in motoring history, but you also need to understand their inner workings, the parts that make them tick and the things that can go wrong with them. 

Expect questions regarding dashboard warning lights and what they mean to your engine, questions about specific engine parts, others about processes that happen within your car's engine and still more about some of the most famous engines ever produced. And even one or two trips down memory lane!

So make sure you take your time, go slowly through the 35 tough questions presented to you and use your gray matter to show us exactly why you are an expert engine aficionado. Good luck! Get ready, set, and go!

True or false? Oil acts as a flame retardant liquid to ensure a hot engine doesn't catch fire.

No, not at all! Oil is used in the engine to provide lubrication. You see, many metal parts move within each other, for example, think of the piston moving up and down in the cylinder. If the oil were not there to lubricate everything, metal would be grinding on metal, and the engine will quickly seize up.


What is the purpose of the air filter in your engine?

Air plays an integral part in the combustion process within the cylinders of an engine. But of course, this air cannot have dirt or other impurities in it. That is where the air filter comes in. It helps to make sure the air is clean before it enters the engine.


Which of these delivers fuel to the cylinders where it will be combusted together with air?

The carburetor is tasked with allowing air into the cylinder depending on how hard the accelerator is pressed. Depending on the speed of this air flow, the right amount of fuel is also allowed into the air stream and into the cylinder.


What was the first vehicle in the United States to use a V8 engine?

The first vehicle to be produced with a V8 engine in the United States was the Hewitt 5-seat Touring Car. Produced in 1907, the engine pushed out around 60 bhp and had a 4-inch bore and 4.5-inch stroke. Ford took until 1932 to introduce their first V8 and even today, it is sought after by hot rodders.


Air-cooled engines are not as popular as their water-cool counterparts. Which of these popular cars does have an air-cooled engine, however?

Has there ever been a car more iconic than the Volkswagen Beetle? Or a car produced for over 65 years like the Beetle was (the last rolled off the production line in 2003 in Mexico)? No, there probably hasn’t been and never will be. A true classic and powered by an air-cooled engine as well!


Which of these cars is powered by a boxer engine?

Subaru makes awesome performance cars noted for their incredible handling. So how does their off-roader fair? Well, it’s pretty awesome in fact. Not only good value for money, but the Outback also offers symmetrical all-wheel drive, excellent ground clearance and an impressive power plant. The vehicle is currently in its fifth generation and is powered by a boxer engine.


Do you know the name of the car that was the first to make use of a Wankel engine?

Produced in Germany by NSU Motorenwerke AG, the Spyder was in production from 1964 to 1967. Powered by a Wankel engine, it became the first car in the West to use this type of powerplant. It even has some Italian flair thanks to the Italian styling house Bertone, who shaped the body design.


Do you know which part connects the piston to the crankshaft?

The piston within the cylinder is connected to the crankshaft by the connecting rod. These rods are connected to the crankpin of the crankshaft and are made out of a variety of lightweight steels, including aluminum and titanium, among others.


True or false? When your vehicle is at standstill and the engine off, oil used to lubricate the engine is stored in the oil pan.

The oil pan, which is also called the sump, is a reservoir where oil is stored when the engine is not in motion. It is usually located at the bottom part of the engine. When the oil is changed, the pan is drained by removing a single nut and letting the used oil flow out. Oil should be changed often but consult the vehicle handbook to check the frequency.


Name the huge hunk of metal where the major parts of your engine are found, please.

The engine block is the lower section of the engine. It is cast out of metal and houses the crankshaft, pistons and cylinders. Although older engines saw the crankcase attached to the cylinder block, in modern engines, the cylinder block and crankcase are generally cast as one piece.


What important car part moves coolant through the engine when it starts to get too 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. A failed water pump can quickly lead to an engine overheating and should be fixed or replaced immediately.


One million units of this engine were built in the first year after its release in 1955. Which of these are we talking about?

The Chevrolet Small-Block V8 was first released in 1955, and by the end of that year, over a million had been built. Over 100 million have been made of this simple, yet effective and powerful engine and derivatives are still made today.


Air-cooled engines are often found in which of the following forms of transportation?

Motorcycles are a great example of a form of transport that makes use of air-cooled engines. And it makes complete sense as the engine is exposed and easily cooled while the motorcycle travels along. That's not to say that there haven't been water-cooled motorcycle engines, however. There have been plenty even in the beginning years of motoring.


When working on your engine, which tool would you use to tighten a bolt to just the right amount?

An auto shop must-have, a torque wrench will help you tighten bolts to just the right level. Torque wrenches can be relatively simple or very sophisticated. It all depends on how much money you would prefer to pay for one. Most will have a dial that you check as to when the optimum torque is reached while others can be set to apply a certain amount of tightening.


Of the options below, which is not an engine type?

The odd one out here is a Z engine. Nothing like that exists. A straight-6 engine has its six-cylinder in a straight line and can be called an inline engine. A V8 engine is a powerful engine that you will find in muscle cars and pickup trucks while the W16 is effectively two V8 engines and is used to power the Bugatti Veyron, a car capable of 400 km/h.


Which of these engines was used in the Ford F-Truck series from the 1960s?

Produced for 31 years between 1965 and 1996, the 300 I-6 from Ford was a stalwart of their F-truck series. So impressive was this engine that Ford used it in heavy-duty truck models as well. The 300 I-6 was a 4.9-liter capacity power unit.


Which of these best describes an inline engine?

Inline engines are easily distinguishable. Why? Well, as the name would suggest, the cylinders, and it can be anything from four to eight, for example, are arranged in a straight line. This is why they are also called straight engines and often described by the number of cylinders they have, like a straight six engine.


What is the name of the part through which gases that form as a result of the burning of the fuel/air mixture are released into the exhaust system?

An exhaust valve is found in the cylinder head. It is driven by the camshaft and releases exhaust gases after combustion. These gases then pass down the exhaust system, are cleaned by the catalytic converter to within emission protocols and eventually, leave the vehicle through the tailpipe.


If your car has an oil leak, what color fluid would you find under it?

If you find a brown spot of fluid under your car, then you know you have an oil leak. Rub a little on your finger and smell it. Oil has a very distinct smell. There are many reasons your car might be leaking oil, but generally, it's wear and tear on various gaskets and other seals. Always check that the oil pan bolt is tightened as well.


A car leaking oil will eventually ______?

If your car has an oil leak, it should be fixed as soon as possible. Why? Well, oil is the liquid that provides lubrication for the engine. Without it, tmetal will simply grind against metal and very quickly your engine will seize. And that will cost a pretty packet to fix.


Who produced the famous "Stovebolt" straight-six engine in 1929?

Chevrolet introduced the Stovebolt in 1929. It replaced the older straight-four engine and was used on a variety of Chevrolet vehicles. The engine was available as a 3.0-liter, 3.2-liter or a 3.4-liter unit. The engine was revamped many times but was in production until 1954.


Dashboard warning lights tell us of potential problems in our vehicles. What does a red can with a droplet mean?

As soon as the oil light starts blinking on your dashboard, you should immediately stop and have the oil level checked in your engine. Failure to do so could result in your engine ultimately seizing. Oil levels could be low as a result of a leak or in older cars.


Some Porsche models have horizontally opposed engines as their powerplants. What are these engines called?

A boxer engine, also known as a horizontally opposed engine, sees cylinders arranged on either side of a crankshaft. They are popular in many vehicles, not only Porsche. For example, the Japanese automaker, Subaru, has a host of models that use boxer engines. Others that use these engines include Toyota and Scion.


Hybrid cars are all the rage, especially with A-list celebs trying to save the world! Which of these was one of the first hybrids?

Believe it or not, the first hybrid car was built in 1899. Dubbed the Lohner-Porsche, it was designed by Ferdinand Porsche. This vehicle had a motor for each of its four wheels. These, in turn, were driven by battery powered engines. An onboard gas generator then charged the batteries.


Which Ford engine from the 1930s is still loved today and popular with hot rodders?

The Flathead V8 was a revelation by Ford in 1932. Quite simply put, at the time, there was nothing similar to it out there. Most importantly, it was cheap, which made it more accessible to people struggling through the Great Depression. Interestingly, this was the first V8 engine offered by Ford.


From the options below, can you pick out the biggest selling electric- engined car in the world?

An all-electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf went into production in 2010. Of course, perhaps the most important thing with such a car is the range. Today, a fully charged Leaf has a range of 107 miles with the larger 30 kWh battery. Perhaps more importantly, a flat battery can be charged to 80% within a mere 30 minutes. This is the best-selling electric car in the world.


A car engine needs a number of things to be able to start. Which of these is not one of them?

Car engines start due to three main factors: the right ratio of air to fuel mixture, compression, the combustion of the air/fuel mixture through a spark. Without those things, you can never hope to achieve propulsion. Of course, to actually move the car, a whole range of other things need to happen but those three are the most important.


Which Chrysler model from the 1950s is considered to be one of the first muscle cars? It even won the 1955 NASCAR Grand National thanks to its V8 engine.

Many muscle car aficionados call the Chrysler 300 the first muscle car. No matter if you agree or not, the 300, introduced in 1955 and produced until 1965, certainly had the cool factor. And it was a racer as its win at the 1955 NASCAR Grand National proves.


True or false? In a gas-powered internal combustion engine, the combustion of the air/fuel fixture is through a spark provided by a glow plug.

A spark is needed to combust the air/fuel mixture following the compression stroke in an engine, but it is provided by a spark plug and not a glow plug. The spark itself is electricity generated by the coil and sent down the high tension leads to the spark plug. A glow plug is used in diesel engines to warm the engine enough to ensure the diesel is burnt properly when the vehicle starts.


Which of these turn the engine over, helping it to start?

When you turn the key in your ignition, the starter motor engages. It turns the engine over, starting it. Often, if the car won't start and tests determine the battery is not the problem, the next thing to check is whether the starter motor is working correctly.


Rotary engines can also be called another name. What is it?

A Wankel engine is essentially a rotary engine with all parts rotating in the same direction. It's named after Felix Wankel, the man who invented it. The first car to use such an engine was the NSU Spyder in 1964.


One of the most powerful engines in the world, the W16 is found in which of these cars?

One of the handful of cars to hit 400km/h, the Veyron was first introduced by Bugatti in 2005. It is powered by an 8.0-liter W16 quad-turbo engine which produces over 1,100 bhp. This engine is quad-turbocharged and is the only engine of its kind now manufactured in the world. It is a product of Volkswagen.


A car engine has a number of cylinders depending on the engine size. Within these cylinders, a part moves up and down. What is that part called?

The piston moves within the cylinder, and this transfers the energy created by combustion of the fuel/air mixture to the crankshaft through the piston rod. The crankshaft turns, which will help move the car forward.


Gas is transmitted along this to the engine. Which of these below are we talking about?

The fuel line connects the gas tank of a vehicle with the engine. It is tasked with bringing gasoline from the tank where it is stored to the engine when it is started and running. The gasoline is passed through a filter to remove any impurities in it. Impurities, if not removed, can damage the engine leading to costly repairs.


True or false? The radiator and water pump form part of the cooling system on your vehicle.

Yes, they do, well in a water-cooled engine, that is! The radiator is where the coolant is stored, ready to be used when needed. When the engine is getting hot, the water pump circulates the coolant around the engine, helping to absorb and transfer heat away from it and cooling it down. This process is repeated as necessary.


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