What are the Main Automotive Engine Parts Name?

Most car owners know that the vehicle runs by the power from the engine, but they do not know the engine part’s names and their functions. It may be a bit difficult to remember all engine parts by name, but we shall make it easy for you.

The engine acts as the heart of your vehicle. It produces the energy used to move the vehicle by burning fuel. In this article, we will share an engine parts list and a short description of their tasks.

What Is an Automobile Engine?

The engine acts as the heart of the vehicle, and it makes the vehicle run. A vehicle cannot move without an engine, just like the human body cannot work without a heart. It transforms chemical energy into mechanical energy and helps a vehicle to run.

Engines are made with a robust structure that enables them to withstand their heavy workload. The type of engine used in a vehicle depends on the vehicle type, make, and model. Here are the engine types you shall come across.

Different Types of Engine

There are two main types of engines. One is the internal combustion engine, and the other one is the external combustion engine. Let us learn more about these engines below:

1. Internal Combustion Engine (IC Engine)

Vehicles with IC engines have the combustion of fuel take place in the engine. The fuel burns inside the cylinder, and it generates high pressure and temperature. This pressure helps to move the piston as well as the wheels.

IC engines get energy by burning fuel in a specialized area name a combustion chamber. IC engine parts name are valves, spark plug, piston, crankshaft, camshaft, and connecting rod, among others. It uses high volatile fuel such as diesel, petrol, or gas. The advantages of IC engines are:

  • Higher efficiency than E. C. Engine
  • It has a compact body and needs little space
  • Costs lower than E. C. engines
  • It easily starts even in cold weather

2. External Combustion Engine (EC Engine)

In an External Combustion Engine, the fuel combustion process happens outside the cylinder. This type of engine generates high heat, and this heat converts low boiling temperature fluid like water into steam.

This high-pressure steam rotates the turbine and makes the vehicle move. The main energy sources of this type of engine are gas or solid energy source. Mainly this type of engine is used in ships. The benefits of external combustion engines are:

  • Have a high starting torque
  • Can use cheaper fuels
  • It is more flexible

Types of IC Engine

The Internal Combustion engine is widely used in the automotive industry. Most vehicles these days use the IC engine. These engines are classified based on different factors, which include:

According To the Number of Strokes

  • Two-Stroke Engine: Two-stroke engines are mainly found in pumping sets or scooters. In this engine type, the piston moves inside the cylinder down and up just once. Two-stroke engines have higher torque than four-stroke engines.
  • Four-Stroke Engine: This engine type is used in trucks, cars, and bikes. In four-stroke engines, the piston moves up and down inside the cylinder twice during a single time fuel burn.

According to the Design of the Engine

  • Reciprocating Engine/ Piston Engine: In this engine type, the pressure generated by fuel combustion goes to the piston, and it helps to move the vehicle wheel.
  • Rotary Engine/ Wankle Engine: This engine was developed in 1957 by Wankle. In rotary engines, the pressure generated from burning the fuel goes to the rotor and makes the vehicle run.

According to Energy Sources

  • Diesel Run Engine: These types of engines use diesel as the main source of energy. Diesel-run engine is used in trucks, buses, and some types of cars too. You can learn more by checking the diesel engine parts name list PDF.
  • Petrol Run Engine: These are the engines that use petrol as the main source of energy. They are mainly used in sports cars, bikes, and luxury cars, among others.
  • Gas Run Engine: Gas run engines use LPG or CNG as the main source of energy. They are mostly used in light vehicles.
  • Electricity Run Engine: These engine types do not burn any fuel. It is the most eco-friendly engine since it uses electricity as the main source of energy and does not harm the environment.

According to the Ignition Method

  • Spark Ignition Engine (S. I. Engine): In this engine, fuel ignition starts with a spark, and the spark is generated inside the cylinder with the help of a spark plug.
  • Compression-Ignition Engine (C. E. Engine): This engine does not use the spark plug to ignite the fuel. During air compression, the temperature rises, and the fuel-burning process starts.

According to the Number of Cylinders

  • Single-Cylinder Engine: Single-cylinder engines have only one piston and one cylinder connected to the crankshaft.
  • Multi-Cylinder Engine: Multi-cylinder engines have more than one cylinders which is connected to the crankshaft.

According to Cylinder Alignment

  • In-Line Engine: Cylinders in these engines are aligned in a straight line one after another.
  • V Align Engine: V align engine contains one crankshaft and two-cylinder banks inclined at an angle less than 180 degrees.
  • Opposed Cylinder Engine: In this engine, there are two cylinder banks situated opposite each other on one crankshaft.
  • W Align Engine: This type of engine is almost the same as the V engine. The difference is, it has 3 cylinder banks.
  • Opposite Piston Engine: Opposite piston engines feature two pistons with cylinders and a combustion chamber located at the center of the pistons.
  • Radial Engine: Radial engines have a central crankshaft, and their pistons are positioned circularly. The pistons are connected to the crankshaft.

Read Also: SOHC vs. DOHC: Which Engine Is the Best?

Now, let us discuss some of the important engine parts and functions:

Important Engine Parts Name and Short Descriptions 

1. Engine Cylinder Block

The engine block holds the cylinders at their places perfectly. Internal combustion engines have a cylinder and a piston inside. The power generated by one cylinder is often not enough.

Therefore, manufacturers prefer multiple cylinders for a balanced and powerful engine. The cylinders are arranged with an engine cylinder block. More precisely, you can say the engine cylinder block is nothing but a structure that keeps the cylinders arranged.

Some major types of engine blocks are V Engine block, In-line engine block, etc. The engine block weight depends on the number of cylinders it is holding, and it varies from model to model. Engine blocks with four engine cylinders mainly weigh nearly 300 lbs.

2. Cylinder Head

What is a cylinder head? This is a common query among car owners. A cylinder head acts as housing of cylinder head parts like springs, lifter, combustion chamber, and cylinder head valves.

It is located at the top of the engine cylinder block. The cylinder head contains some passages which allow the fuel and air to flow inside the cylinder. These passages are known as tracts or ports.

The cylinder head also drives the coolant into the engine block. The gasket in the cylinder head prevents oil or water from leaking at the combustion chamber. Cylinder heads come in different types. They include:

  • Flathead Cylinder Head: This was the first type of cylinder head. They protect the cylinder block and do not contain any moving parts. The Flathead cylinder head does not allow efficient airflow, thus poor performance.
  • Overhead Valve Cylinder Head: The overhead-valve cylinder head is bigger than the flathead cylinder head. It has camshafts on top of it. It is also connected with a valve and pushrod to give smooth airflow.
  • Overhead Camshaft Cylinder Head: This cylinder head is the most advanced in its category. It provides better airflow and great engine performance.

3. Crank Shaft

This is a part of the engine that helps convert the piston linear motion into a rotary motion and deliver it to the wheel or the gearbox. The main crankshaft function is to transfer piston reciprocating motion to the drive shaft.

At the end of the crankshaft, there is a flywheel connected. This flywheel is called the energy reservoir. It receives piston energy at the time of power stroke and gives the energy back.

4. Camshaft

The camshaft is another important part of the engine. It is a major mechanical component part of internal combustion (I. C.) engines. The main task of the camshaft is to open and close exhaust and inlet valves at the right time. This engine component functions with the exact stroke and a specific sequence. It is driven by the crankshaft.

5. Piston

The piston is a part of pneumatic cylinders, gas compressors, reciprocating pumps, and reciprocating engines, which help run the vehicle.

6. Piston Ring

Piston rings are parts of the I. C. engine. It is a split ring and fits on a piston perfectly. You can see them better on the car engine parts diagram.

7. Engine Valve

The engine valves are located in the cylinder head. They play an important role in the engine. Their main task is to let the air in and out. The air in the cylinder helps to ignite the fuel.

Without fuel ignition, the piston will not move up and down, and thus the vehicle will not run smoothly. There are two types of engine valves. They are the intake engine valve and the exhaust valve.

8. Timing Chain

The main function of the timing chain is to keep the movement of components parallel to an engine. The timing chain is found on the top side of the engine and is attached to the camshaft. It features several lobes all over its length. As the camshaft spins, valves open and close with the help of the lobes. This process enables air and fuel into the combustion chamber simultaneously.

9. Oil Pump

An oil pump is an important component for both ordinary cars and heavy vehicles. This part is found in internal combustion engines. The oil pump circulates oil to the camshaft, sliding pistons, and the rotating bearings while keeping the oil under pressure. It helps in lubricating the bearings. It also helps in the cooling of the engine.

10. Oil Sump

The oil sump is located at the bottom of the piston below the crankshaft. The main task of the oil sump is to collect lubricants from the bottom. Piston-cylinder walls require continuous lubrication for great maintenance. Some oil evaporates as it runs around the cylinder walls freely.

11. Engine Oil Filter

An oil filter is a different type of filter. It is specifically designed to remove junks or contaminants from hydraulic oil, transmission oil, and engine oil. Oil filters are mainly used in hydraulic machinery. There are different types of oil filters, and they vary from vehicle to vehicle.

12. Engine Head Cover

The engine headcover is another important part of the vehicle. It closes the top of the cylinder and forms the combustion chamber. In most engines, the engine head gives passage or space for air and fuel. It also helps the exhaust to escape.

13. Turbocharger

The turbocharger is known as turbo. It is a device that allows compressed air to get into the combustion chamber. It increases the engine’s efficiency and power output. The turbochargers were known as turbosuperchargers while all induction devices were classified as a supercharger. There is very little difference between turbochargers and superchargers.

14. Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold acts as a collector. In automotive, exhaust manifolds collect exhaust gases from multiple cylinders and make them pass out through the exhaust pipe. Exhaust manifolds are made of stainless steel or cast iron.

15. Inlet Manifold

The inlet manifold is the opposite of the exhaust manifold. The exhaust manifold collects exhaust gas from cylinders and blows it through the exhaust pipe. On the other hand, the inlet manifold supplies air/fuel mixture to the cylinder. The primary function of this device is to distribute air/ fuel mixture to the intake ports evenly.

16. Carburetor

The carburetor is a major component of the internal combustion engine. Its main function is to mix the air and fuel in a specific ratio for an internal combustion engine. It ensures that the air and fuel mix at the right ratio.

17. Throttle Body

A throttle body is a part of the air intake system. Its main task is to control the amount of air going to the engine. We see throttle body only in fuel-injected engines. Inside the throttle body, there is a throttle plate, and it is the largest piece of the throttle body.

18. Radiator Fan

A motor vehicle radiator is a cooling device designed especially for the engine. It is a heat exchanger and is widely used for cooling I. C. Engines. It is also used in piston-engine aircraft, motorcycles, and other automobile engines.

19. Radiator

The Radiator acts as a heat exchanger. This engine part is used to transfer thermal energy from one material to another for heating or cooling purposes.

20. Thermostat

The thermostat is a component that monitors the temperature of a physical body and controls when required. It maintains the engine’s temperature within the right range. The thermostat remains closed and only opens when the engine exceeds the rated temperature.

21. Fuel Injector

The fuel injector is a major component of the internal combustion engine, and this is where fuel is first introduced. All diesel engines use fuel injection by their original design. Fuel injectors replaced the carburetor on the petrol run engine in the 1980s.

22. Different Types of Sensors

There are several sensors in automotive engines. Different sensors play different roles and tasks. Some of the most important sensors in automotive engines are:

23. Spark Plug

The spark plug delivers spark to ignite the compressed air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. These are the parts that make a vehicle start. Without the spark at the exact time, the vehicle will not start smoothly.

24. Flywheel

The flywheel is a mechanical device specially designed to store rotational energy. The energy is transferred by applying torque to the flywheel.

25. Turbo Intercooler

The turbo intercooler is an air cooling intake device. It serves a crucial task in the automobile engine. It is mainly found on supercharged and turbocharged engines. The main task of the turbo intercooler is to cool down compressed air with the turbo or supercharger.

26. Fuel Injection Pump

The fuel injection pump is mostly found in IC engines. Most vehicles with diesel engines have this component. It pushes diesel into the cylinders of a diesel-run engine.


Above are the engine parts name list and brief description. This information is important to help you understand how your car engine works. All these parts are important to the efficient performance of the engine. Failure of one component may cause the engine to stall or also fail to start.

Some of the common signs of failed engines are low engine power, check engine lights on, annoying noises, and odd odors. If you see these signs, the most prudent action is to visit an experienced mechanic for a check-up. Ignoring the signs may lead to more damages causing expensive repairs or replacements.

If you have any questions left in your mind or any suggestions for us, please leave a comment here or contact us directly. To read more articles like this one, take your time and visit our website.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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