Engine Parts Name and Their Functions

Just as your body cannot function without a heart, a vehicle cannot function without an engine. Every car owner needs to understand various engine parts’ names and functions. The main purpose of an engine is to convert energy from the fuel using a spark to create power for the vehicle to move.

The engine is a complicated mechanism, and it constitutes several internal components. The components work simultaneously to keep the vehicle moving. All these parts need to be in good condition for the engine to work perfectly.

In this article, we shall discuss the various parts of the car engine and how they function. Getting to know your engine parts and functions helps you know when any parts fail or have an issue.

Engine Parts Name

Engine Parts Name and Short Descriptions

An engine transforms heat from burning gas into power, making it propel the vehicle. This chain of reaction is set in motion by a spark. The spark ignites the mixture of compressed air and petrol vapor in a sealed cylinder causing it to burn rapidly. This process is called internal combustion.

A vehicle engine uses a four-stroke combustion cycle. They include the intake cycle, compression cycle, combustion cycle, and exhaust cycle. These strokes are repeated over and over again when the vehicle is on the move. That is how the engine works. Now here are the engine parts name list and their descriptions:

1. Engine Block

An engine block is a major component and the backbone of a vehicle engine. In most cases, it is made of iron or aluminum. One of its purposes is to house the crankshaft, piston, and in some cases, the camshaft. On top of this, it features various machine surfaces.

An engine block has machine holes known as cylinders. An engine can have four to sixteen cylinders, depending on its size. The cylinders have different configurations such as flat, inline, boxer, W, or V-shaped. The combustion process takes place in the engine block.

2. Pistons and Rings

Pistons are cylindrical containers featuring a flat surface at the top. After the combustion process, the pistons transfer the energy to the crankshaft. The transferred energy is what makes the vehicle move.

As the spark plugs fire, pistons move up and down, compressing the air and fuel mixture.  In every crankshaft’s revolution, the pistons will move twice. Therefore, if the engine rotates at 3000 RPM, the pistons travel down and up 6000 times per minute.

The reciprocating energy is then changed to rotary motion and then conveyed through the driveshaft to the wheels, making them spin. Pistons have piston rings for proper sealing and oil control.  Pistons of most vehicles today are coated with a friction-proof material enabling them to last longer.

3. Cylinder Head

A cylinder head seals the head gasket preventing the loss of gasses. It is attached at the top of the engine block. It is connected to the engine using cylinder head bolts. The head gasket is sealed in between the two components. Sometimes if you note black or white smoke coming from the exhaust, it could be due to blown head gasket issues.

The cylinder head has elements that include camshafts, rocker arms, pushrods, lifters, valves, and valve springs. These elements on the cylinder heads help control the air inflow passages to the cylinders during the intake stroke and gas exhaust during the exhaust stroke.

4. Camshaft

The camshaft is a rotating part in the engine, mostly made of metal. It is located in the cylinder head or within the engine block. Camshafts of most modern vehicles are located in the cylinder head, and it is also known as Single Overhead Camshaft (SOHC) or Dual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC).

This engine component is supported by bearings that are lubricated with oil for durability. The purpose of the camshaft is to regulate the timing of opening and closing of the valves. It also takes rotary motion from the engine and converts it to down and up movement.

This movement controls the lifter’s movement, thus moving the valves, rockers, and pushrods. Some signs of a damaged camshaft are reduced gas mileage, frequent engine stumbles, slow acceleration, and reduced engine power.

5. Crankshaft

The crankshaft is the moving part of the ICE, also known as the Internal Combustion Engine. It is situated on the lower area of the engine block and rides in crankshaft journals. It is finely machined and balanced and connects with the piston through the connecting rod.

The crankshaft takes the down and up movement of the piston and converts the energy from reciprocal motion to rotation. This part of the engine rotates at the same speed as the engine.

A crankshaft has various parts. You can understand them better from car engine parts diagram. It has the part that rotates inside the bearing known as a journal. Crankshaft journal is of two types which are the connecting rod journals and main bearing journals. The main bearing journal forms the crankshaft rotation axis.

Connecting rod journals are at the end of the connecting rods and help in running the pistons. Broken crankshafts make the engine stop working. In most cases, the crankshaft wears out due to extended use. Some signs of a broken crankshaft are vehicle stalling, difficulty getting the vehicle, or vibrations from the engine.

6. Timing Belt/ Timing Chain

You find a timing chain or belt right inside the front of the engine. A timing belt and a timing chain are made with different materials, but they serve the same purpose. Chains are stronger and durable, while belts are lighter, cheaper, and quieter.

The timing belts/chains allow the engine to operate. They connect the crankshaft to the camshaft and play a major role in controlling the valves and pistons in the engine. The belts are made with reinforced rubber bands featuring notches or teeth on the inner side.

The teeth help them precisely synchronize the closing and opening of valves in the engine during the intake, compressing, combustion, and exhaust phases. Timing chains last throughout the engine lifetime, but a timing belt will need to be replaced after some time.

7. Oil Pan

.An engine oil pan is also known as a sump. The engine parts name with pictures gives you a better understanding. It is a metal dish covering the bottom of the engine block. Its main purpose is to hold the oil that is not circulating around the engine. It features a pick-up tube that sways in and sucks up oil, and once the oil is used, it drops back to the oil pan.

On top of storing oil, this sump also plays a major role in cooling up the oil. When a vehicle is moving, air flows under the sump and carries away the heat from the oil in the pan. You can boost the airflow using bodywork for directing airflow around the oil pan.

You can also use some cooling fins around the sump to increase its surface area. Most oil pans are made with aluminum or steel and can hold four to six quarts of oil subject to the engine size.

There is a dipstick that extends to the air pan, which helps measure the level of oil in the reservoir. The oil pan has a drain plug at the bottom that you remove when you want to drain the oil. Oil leakages are common in engines, and oil pans are among the sources of most oil leaks.

8. Valves

Valves are components of the internal combustion engine. They restrict or allow gas or fluid flow to and from the combustion cylinders or chambers during engine operation.

The inlet valves allow mixture in the engine cylinders, while outlet valves allow the spent gases to escape. Their precise opening and closing allow the engine to work perfectly at all speeds.

9. Intake Manifold

The intake manifold in a petrol engine supplies air and fuel mixture to the combustion chamber. This engine part is commented on to the intake valves. In diesel engines, the intake manifold provides air to the engine.

The intake or inlet manifold has an aluminum or iron tube. Some of the manifolds in today’s vehicle are chrome plated or powder coated. The carburetor is mounted at the center of the intake manifold. It, therefore, carries fresh charge from the carburetor to inlet valve ports.

The intake manifold is made with a design that allows air-fuel charge to reach the engine cylinders easily. Modern inlet manifolds are heated to help in the vaporization of gasoline, thus preventing the collection and condensation of fuel.

A leaking intake manifold reduces the performance of the engine. A crack or hole in the inlet manifold makes it suck air from the surrounding. This is because ambient air pressure around the engine is more than the air pressure in the manifold.

An intake manifold leak leads to too much air getting to the cylinder and reduces the amount of gasoline. This leads to decreased efficiency of the combustion chamber. One sign of a leaking intake manifold is sluggish acceleration.

10. Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is located inside the engine cylinder. This is where the air and fuel mixture is ignited. As the pistons compress air and fuel mixture, it makes contact with spark plugs. The spark plug burns the mixture to energy and pushes it out of the combustion chamber.

A combustion chamber is defined by the piston’s location, size, and position in the engine cylinder. A cylinder’s inner diameter is known as a bore. VBDC is the volume at the bottom dead center. It is the volume taken between the piston face and cylinder head when located furthest from each other.

Volume at the Top Dead Center is abbreviated as VTDC. It is the volume taken between the cylinder head and piston face when they are closest to each other. This distance between the cylinder head and piston face at VTDC is called clearance.

A stroke is a distance the pistons travel between VBDC and VTDC. One of the most important factors that affect the engine’s cycle theoretical efficiency is the compression ratio.

11. Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is connected to the engine and the exhaust system. Its work is to collect exhaust emissions from the engine. It receives mixtures of burnt air and fuel from different cylinders in the engine. On top of this exhaust manifold features a high temperature which completely burns any incomplete burnt or unused gasses.

The exhaust manifold also houses oxygen sensors in the exhaust system. Oxygen sensors check the oxygen amount getting in the system. This helps the fuel injection system to decrease or increase the oxygen amount in the air and fuel mixture being used to power the engine.

12. Spark Plug

Spark plugs are small parts of the engine, but they play quite an important part. This is the part that turns gasoline into energy. They provide sparks that ignite the fuel and air mixture, creating an explosion that makes the engine produce power. It is regarded to be the shortest living part of a gasoline engine.

Spark plugs are made with high-quality and durable materials. This enables them to withstand explosions and high temperatures in the combustion chamber. After some years of use, spark plugs weaken and wear out, thus reducing engine efficiency.

13. Gasket

The gasket is sealed between the cylinder head and engine block sealing in the internal combustion. It prevents the oil and coolant from mixing as they move from the engine block to the cylinder head.

14. Connecting Rods

Most connecting rods are made with forged steel for durability. They connect the pistons to the crankshaft. It also covers the pistons rotating motion to the rotation speed of the crank.

The connecting rod has two ends which are a big end and a small end. The small end is joined to the piston head using a gudgeon pin. The big end is joined with the crankshaft using a crankpin.

V-type engines feature opposite cylinders. These two cylinders are vibrated, making the two connecting rods work together in every crank throw.

15. Fly Wheel

Engine torque is not uniform and keeps on fluctuating. If a car moves at fluctuating power, it causes discomfort to the rider and reduces the life of different engine parts. This is what an engine needs a fly wheel.

A fly wheel is located on the camshaft. When the value is high, the flywheel stores the torque and releases it during low-value cycle operation. We can simply say that it works like a torque buffer.


The purpose of a vehicle engine converts fuel and air to mechanical energy. The above engine parts names and descriptions give you an idea of how the system looks and how it works. All these parts work together for your vehicle to work perfectly. Some of the things that can cause problems to the engine are worn out or broken rods, damaged pistons, cracked engine block, and poor compression.


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