In this guide, we will cover everything from a car engine to the transmission and drivetrain to give you an idea on how a car functions.


In simple words, a car’s engine is generally an internal combustion engine in which, as the name implies combustion takes place internally. Now, there are many different types of internal combustion engines, such as gas turbines, diesel engines, two-stroke engines, rotary engines, and HEMI engines. But since most cars usually run on petrol nowadays, the focus of this article will be on gasoline engines. So, how does the engine use internal combustion to create energy?

Well, the principle of any reciprocating internal combustion engine is to put a little high-energy fuel, such as gasoline in a small enclosed space and ignite it. The ignition causes an incredible amount of energy to be produced in the form of an expanding gas, which thus powers your vehicle. Now, your engine uses what is called a ‘four-stroke combustion cycle’ to convert energy into gasoline and then motion.
These four strokes include intake stroke, compression stroke, combustion stroke, and exhaust stroke. Engine components include the crankshaft, rod bearings, connecting rod, pistons, exhaust port, exhaust valve, spark plugs, oil sump, oil pump, engine block, coolant, head, intake port, intake valve, valve cover, and camshaft.

When you start your vehicle, the pistons move to the top, allowing the intake valve to open. Then, the piston moves back down, allowing the engine to absorb a cylinder full of gasoline and air. This is the intake stroke doing its job of mixing gasoline and air for combustion. Next, the piston moves back up to compress this gasoline/air mixture.

The compression process makes the mixture more powerful and as soon as the piston reaches the top of its stroke, the spark plug emits a tiny spark to ignite the gasoline. The gasoline charge then causes the cylinder to release energy, thus driving the piston down. As soon as the piston hits the bottom, the exhaust valves then open, allowing the heat to be emitted from the tailpipe. The engine keeps repeating this process approximately hundreds of times per minute, thus producing enough energy to get your vehicle into motion.