A car’s engine is more than a jumble of wires, metal, and tubes. Engines are the heart of your vehicle where fuel and air combust, creating energy to push the pistons that move the car. Understanding what’s beneath the hood of your vehicle can help you follow the conversation when your mechanic tells you an engine repair is needed.

4 Essential Parts of a Car’s Engine

1. Pistons

Pistons are encased in the cylinder block and move up and down whenever internal combustion occurs. Pistons are connected to the crankshaft, which connects to rubber belts and the camshaft, all of which deliver power to a car’s wheels.

2. Cylinder Block

engine-repair-kalispell-mtThe cylinder block is the core of every engine, and it houses the pistons that put everything in motion. Automobiles have more than one cylinder, and four, six, and eight cylinders are the most common.

The more cylinders inside the cylinder block, the more power a car has. For example, most sports cars have six-cylinder engines for faster performance. 

3. Spark Plugs

Spark plugs ignite the fuel so that combustion happens inside the engine. These small insulated plugs are housed inside the cylinder head. There are the same number of spark plugs as cylinders; for example, if a car has six cylinders, it has six spark plugs.

Their spark is timed to occur precisely as the piston pushes the fuel and air mixture together. Worn spark plugs are a common cause for engine repairs. 

4. Valves

The engine has an intake and exhaust valve. The intake valve lets fuel and air inside to mix, and the exhaust valve pushes exhaust fumes out of the engine. Both valves are closed when combustion takes place. 


The auto technicians at Kalispell Alignment & Auto Repair in Kalispell, MT, specialize in car repairs of all types and can diagnose engine problems. Whether you need an engine repair or replacement, their skilled mechanics are ASE®-certified and have more than 25 years of experience. Call (406) 755-0234 to make an appointment. Learn more about their car diagnostics and services online.