Car Engine Parts: What They Do and How They Work


When you drive your car, you may take for granted the incredible effort that went into designing and building it. While a car engine is nothing like the human heart or brain, both of which accomplish amazing things with relatively little outside help, it still takes a lot to keep an engine running. And while some parts of your engine are pretty obvious (the pistons, cylinders, etc.), others aren’t so visible—like timing belts or water pumps. So today we’re going to walk through all the major components of an internal combustion engine so that you can get a better understanding of how they work together:

Car Engine Parts: What They Do and How They Work

Crank Pulley

The crank pulley, also called a flywheel, is a key component of your engine. It’s a large, heavy wheel that sits on top of the crankshaft and spins with it as you drive. The crank pulley supports other parts of your car’s engine by transferring power from its center to those other components.

As its name suggests, this part has three main jobs:

  • It applies force to turn the crankshaft at high speeds. This allows an internal combustion engine (ICE) to generate enough power for movement and acceleration; without this force applied in just the right way at just the right time during each revolution of its rotating parts, nothing would happen!
  • It stores kinetic energy generated by these rotations so they can be reused later on down the line when needed again–this helps save on fuel costs by reducing friction between moving parts inside your engine compartment so less energy needs expended overall throughout every single revolution made by any given component therein under normal operating conditions…

Timing Belt

Timing belts are the most common type of engine timing device. They synchronize the movement of valves and camshafts in order to ensure that your engine runs smoothly.

Timing belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles or so (and every 30 years). If you notice any cracks or fraying around the edges of your belt, it’s time for a replacement!

To check whether or not your timing belt needs replacing:

  • Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks or fraying around its edges (if there are any). If there aren’t any visible signs of damage then move on to step 2 below before attempting to replace anything yourself!

Water Pump

The water pump is a crucial part of your car’s cooling system. It pumps coolant through the engine and radiator, which helps keep temperatures down by circulating heat away from internal components. The water pump is located on the coolant side of the engine, between two other major parts: thermostat housing and timing belt cover (or timing chain cover).

If this part fails to work properly, it can cause overheating in your vehicle because there isn’t enough coolant flowing through it or its related systems to keep things at an ideal temperature range. You’ll notice symptoms like steam coming out from under hood vents when you start up in hot weather; this indicates that something isn’t working right with either your radiator cap or hoses–or maybe both! If you suspect problems with either one (or both), check out our guide to fixing leaks here


The alternator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. It does this by spinning a magnet inside of coils of wire, creating an electromotive force (EMF) and producing electricity. The car’s engine drives the alternator with its rotation, which charges the battery and keeps your car running on all four wheels.

The alternator can be replaced as an individual part or in a kit with other parts like pulleys and brackets if they break or wear out due to age or overuse.

Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is a part of the engine that directs exhaust gases away from the cylinders. It’s located on the cylinder head and made of cast iron or aluminum. The manifold is connected to the head with bolts, which allow you to remove it if necessary (for example, if you need to replace broken gaskets).

The job of an exhaust manifold is simple: take hot air and burn it in one place so that it doesn’t fill up with smoke inside your car!

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are responsible for igniting your fuel-air mixture, which is the key to getting your engine up and running. There are two types of spark plugs: the original, and the modern platinum tipped plug.

The original type has been around since they were invented in 1866 by Thomas Edison (the man behind other great inventions like light bulbs). This type of spark plug has a copper core inside it with an insulator made from porcelain or glass encasing it all together in a metal shell that screws onto your engine’s cylinder head (where air enters). The porcelain insulator can crack over time due to heat exposure; this causes poor performance from your car’s engine because less electricity flows through it when there are cracks in its casing. This type of spark plug also doesn’t last nearly as long as its modern counterpart does–you may need to replace these every year or so depending on how often you drive around town!

On top of all this bad news about older technology being less efficient than newer versions available today…there’s another thing holding back those who choose not upgrade: price! You see, while both types use platinum tips at their ends where electricity travels through them before reaching combustion chambers within each cylinder block below–the difference lies within materials used throughout construction process itself (which accounts for huge discrepancy between prices).

Knowing what each part of your engine does is important to understanding how it works.

Knowing what each part of your engine does is important to understanding how it works. The following are some of the most important parts and their functions:

  • Engine block- This is the main housing for all of the other parts in your car’s engine, including cylinders and pistons. It also houses oil filters and coolant lines which transport fluids throughout your vehicle’s body.
  • Cylinder head- This part contains valves that regulate air flow into and out of each cylinder, along with spark plugs that ignite fuel within those cylinders during combustion (i.e., explosion).
  • Crankshaft- This long metal shaft connects rods between pistons so they can move up and down as needed during operation (more on this later). It rotates at around 1 revolution per second when running smoothly; if this speed changes significantly from normal operation then it could indicate serious problems such as broken bearings or worn gears inside this component!


In this article, we’ve covered the basics of car engine parts. You should now be able to identify each part on your engine and how it works.