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Are you completely clueless when it comes to that big lump of metal, fuel, oil, explosions, electricity, gas and chemicals that's sitting under your hood? Does suck, squeeze, bang and blow sound risqué to you? It's okay, you can tell us. We can help. Or more accurately, a bloke named Jacob O'Neal can help. He put together this animated infographic to explain, in the simplest terms possible, how an engine works.

It runs through everything from the four-stroke cycle to the roles of fuel, oil and air in the engine. It then delves into the different systems that keep the engine running. The information is easy to handle, clearly explained, and is not at all overwhelming. You might not be able to explain precisely how to completely disassemble an engine after this overview, but at least you'll know what a water pump does. Take a look below for the full chart, or click on it to go over to O'Neal's page for the embiggened version.
How A Car Engine Works, by Jacob O'NealInfographic designed by Jacob O'Neal


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      360_AD
      • 1 Year Ago
      This would have been helpful to the knucklehead writers at CNN. http://jalopnik.com/how-much-can-cnn-get-wrong-about-f1-engines-physics-in-1111423405
      guinnessfanatic
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was out for brunch with a bunch of friends once and somehow engines came up. I mentioned the old 4 cycles, suck, squeeze, bang, blow thing to them, everybody laughed and nobody believed me. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
      dave and mary
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lady goes to a mechanic. "What's the problem lady?" "All I know is my car is blue."
      Peter
      • 4 Months Ago

      Hello, if you are interested in how things work, try 3D educational simulations. Now avaliable for phones and tablets: http://explain3d.com/ 

      Peter
      • 4 Months Ago

      Hello, if you are interested in how things work, try 3D educational simulations. Now avaliable for phones and tablets: http://explain3d.com/ 

      Toxic
      • 1 Year Ago
      ˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜˜▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ §▄▄▄▄▄▌(◕ ͜ʖ ͡◕)▐██.██ .██. ██ .██ .██ .██ .███▄▄▄▄∫∫ ███████████████████████████████████████ ˜▀(@)▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀▀(@)▀▀▀▀▀▀▘oo00O
      Aussie Aspie
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where's the boxer engine? All boxers are flat engines. All flat engines are not boxers.
      thomas.leopard
      • 1 Year Ago
      What is an atkinson cycle engine?
        jz78817
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thomas.leopard
        in a true atkinson cycle engine, the compression stroke is physically shorter than the power stroke. The improved expansion ratio gives you a few percent more efficiency. The "atkinson" cycle used in modern hybrid cars sort of simulates the atkinson cycle by closing the intake valve(s) later than on a conventional engine.
      Codeman
      • 1 Year Ago
      Getting an HTTP 403 error. :/
      methos1999
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wait, so let me get this straight; the info-graphic shows fuel injectors going straight into the cylinder, implying modern direct injection. But then in the electrical system it shows distributor with cap & rotor??? Is this supposed to represent modern engines or old engines - I don't care which, but just be consistent. Meanwhile, shows V twin, V6, V8... but in inline engines? tsk tsk
        Howardsfb
        • 1 Year Ago
        @methos1999
        I guess the inline is kind of implied as a type of engine because it is used for the example, and he mentions "Other Engine Configurations," although the term inline isn't mentioned.
      DavidGTX
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is awesome, I just wished it didn't say the coolant is green (implying that all coolant is green).
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