The Ultimate Car Engine Quiz


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Monty Rakusen/Cultura/gettyimages

About This Quiz

Your car engine is made up of many, many parts. If one fails, chances are that your car is not moving! So how does it all work? Well, the engine provides the power. This is fed through the transmission, either manual or automatic, to the differential which, in turn, will turn the wheels of the car. Sounds simple enough but it isn't, really. How those engineers worked this all out all those years ago still boggles the mind, don't you think? All those parts have to work in perfect harmony. Pistons moving, valves opening at the right time, spark plugs firing at the right instance, gases moved out of the engine. One little problem and the engine might still run, but not efficiently.

So let's get onto the task at hand. In this quiz, you will be given a description of a car part and a brief idea of what it does in the engine. From that, you will have to identify it from four choices. Seems simple enough, right? Well, some are pretty simple, but what about the inner workings? Do you know all the parts that help make an engine run or the supporting parts, without which the engine wouldn't even start?
Up for the challenge? Good! Let's see how you do!

Boosting your engine with nitrous oxide will improve engine ______?

Nitrous oxide when heated will split. One of the products of this is oxygen, which when fed into the engine provides more power. Nitrous oxide is commonly known as NOS in the racing world.


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 and prevents dirt from entering the engine, for example.


From the options below, name the parts of the engine which open and close in a certain sequence.

The valves within an engine open and close in sequence. They do this to let the air and fuel mixture in. Then they seal to allow combustion to take place. Finally, they open to let the gas produced, out.


Which part of the engine is tasked with igniting the fuel/air mixture after the compression stroke?

The spark produced by the spark plug is the catalyst that ignites the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder after the compression stroke. This results in the next stroke, the power stroke. Note that a four-cylinder car will have four spark plugs each firing at the right time.


What part of an engine removes impurities from lubricant?

The moving parts of an engine are lubricated by oil. An oil filter helps to remove impurities in the oil that might damage the engine.


What part of the engine moves up and down within the cylinder?

The movement of the piston within the cylinder helps to compress the fuel/air mixture and then produces the power to turn the crankshaft once that is combusted.


Which stroke in the engine cycle helps to squash the fuel/air mixture, making combustion even more powerful?

The compression stroke in an engine sees the piston move within the cylinder to compress the fuel/air mixture let in by the intake stroke. This allows more energy to release on ignition.


Can you name the part of the ignition system that makes sure the spark plugs fire in the right order?

Part of the ignition system, the distributor fires the spark plugs in the correct order. It is connected to them by high tension leads.


The engine block is the biggest part of the engine. What else can it be called?

The engine block is also known as the cylinder block. Cast from metal, it houses all the major engine components including valves, cylinders and pistons, for example.


Which of these parts not only charges the car battery while driving but supplies the necessary electricity to run systems?

If your car's alternator is not working properly, you soon will have battery problems. And thanks to the alternator, you can listen to all your favorite hits on the radio, turn on lights and power your electric windows up and down!


Which liquid serves as a lubricant for all internal engine parts?

Oil is needed right through the internals of an engine to lubricate. Without it, metal will grind on metal. An engine that has no oil in it will quickly seize.


Oil, an engine lubricant, is stored here while the engine is not running.

Found at the bottom of the cylinder block, the oil pan serves as the oil reservoir. A hole in this will soon leave you with a seized engine, a big mess and an even bigger repair bill.


What part on your car must confirm to strict regulations when it comes to engine emissions?

The exhaust emissions on all modern vehicles are controlled by the catalytic converter. This should always be replaced when the sensors indicate on your dashboard.


Although Cadillac was the first American car maker to introduce V8 engines for some of their models in 1914, which popular brand waited till 1932?

Incredibly, Ford waited until 1932 to introduce their first V8 engine. This was called the Flathead V8 and was produced by the company until 1953.


Can you name the engine stroke that lets the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder?

The intake stroke is the first one an engine takes when started. It allows the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder where it is compressed, combusted and the gases produced are removed.


True or false? Properly inflating the tires on your car can improve the overall fuel efficiency of your engine.

That is in fact true! But why? Well, properly inflated tires mean less friction on the road. And that simple fact means a car will use less fuel.


The cooling system in a car consists of which of these parts?

The radiator holds the coolant which is pushed through the engine by the water pump to cool it down when needed. Another part of the cooling system on your engine is the thermostat.


Gases formed by the combustion process are expelled from the engine and leave your car through which part?

The car's tailpipe is the final piece of the exhaust system. All gases produced by the combustion process within the engine leave the car through here.


Can you name the part of your engine which determines when coolant is moved from the radiator for cooling purposes?

A thermostat ensures that coolant is only pumped from the radiator once the engine has warmed up sufficiently. If it malfunctions, you'll soon find yourself with steam coming out from under the hood!


Unwanted crankshaft vibrations are stopped by this engine shaft which is counter weighted. What is it called?

The balance shaft is a counterweighted engine shaft. It offsets unwanted crankshaft vibrations.


In modern engines, fuel is delivered to the engine through fuel injection. In older engines, what part did the job?

It was the job of the carburetor to meter the flow of air and gas into the engine. Carburetors were activated as soon as the throttle was pushed.


Since the Benz Patent Motorwagen drove for the first time in 1885, most vehicles have been powered by the ________ combustion engine? What word is missing?

Although electric and even steam engines were around driving cars at the turn of the 20th century, the internal combustion engine held out to win the race. Of course, hybrid and electric engines are now starting to give it a real run for its money, and in the next 100 years it's possible that it might be phased out completely.


Who invented the turbocharger?

In 1905 Alfred Buchi, a Swiss engineer, invented the turbocharger. He did this because believing that gasoline engines were not powerful enough, he wanted a way to deliver more power. And performance freaks have been happy ever since!


A piston stroke is a linear motion. Which part transfers it into a rotational motion?

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


How many cars did Cadillac sell in its first year of producing the V8 engine option?

The V8-engined Cadillac model was an instant hit in 1914 when introduced. In fact, 13,000 units were sold in the first year of production, which is a pretty significant amount!


During what stroke of the engine can it lose power?

During the exhaust stroke of the engine, it can lose power due to something called back pressure. Here, power is lost as the exhaust stroke meets the pressure produced in the stroke process.


Pistons are held in place in the cylinder through which of these below?

The piston pin clip keeps the piston pin in place within the cylinder. To make sure it remains secure, it is connected on both sides.


Can you name the part of your engine that allows the fuel/air mixture into each cylinder?

The air intake manifold allows the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder of the engine where it will combust, prompting the engine to run. It does this by evenly distributing the air/fuel mixture to the intake ports.


Although many contributed, who is attributed with inventing the internal combustion engine?

Nikolaus Otto is the man credited with the invention of the internal combustion engine as we know it, in other words an engine that ran on gasoline. His version, called the Otto engine, was invented in 1867.


For a car to run efficiently, what is the gas to air ratio that should enter the cylinder?

A car engine running at peak efficiency needs a ratio of 14.7 parts gasoline to 1 part air. Any more gasoline and it will be running rich; any less and it will be running lean.


Adding a supercharger to an engine will improve its power output by how much?

One of the ways car lovers improve their engine performance is by adding a supercharger. This will give a 50% increase in power, certainly not to be sniffed at!


Which American auto manufacturer was the first to introduce a V8 engine?

Although V8 engines had been installed in cars before, the first American company to use a V8 engine was Cadillac in 1914. Others soon followed including Oldsmobile in 1916 and Chevrolet in 1917.


A supercharger that has been added to an engine spins at massive amount of rpm's. Just how fast?

A supercharger spins at an impressive 50,000 revs per minute. No wonder it adds 50% more power to an engine! Bet you want one for you car now as well ...


Who is credited with the first vehicle considered to be a modern car?

Karl Benz introduced the Benz Patent Autowagen to the world in 1895. It was effectively a carriage with an engine and no horse and even steered using a tiller. But historians credit Benz's creation as the first modern car.


Which of the options below is the first vehicle built by Henry Ford?

Henry Ford's first car was the Quadricycle, which he first built in 1896. Over the next four years, Ford produced another three. Running on ethanol, it produced 4 horsepower.


Explore More Quizzes

About Autoversed

Welcome to Autoversed: your online auto destination. If you consider a vehicle more than just means of transportation; if you treat your ride with love and care; if, even after years of driving, the feeling of accelerating hard on the open road still gets you revved up – you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re a daily commuter looking for a reliable ride, a car enthusiast thinking about your next hot rod, or a parent who needs to get the kids from A to Z, Autoversed has something for you. We’ve got the lowdown on hot exotic rides, pricy luxury vehicles, eco-friendly green machines, rugged off-roaders, and more. Come take a look!