Everything you need to know about your car engine

Combustion is what allows the modern car to move from point A to point B. It’s a simple enough process but most people still don’t know how your average engines for sale really work. To the lay man, an engine is just a jumble of pipes and car parts that make your car go forward. In actual fact it’s a very simple thing to wrap your head around.


If you don’t know the difference between a petrol and diesel engines for sale then you are in luck as we are about to demystify the engine of a car.

What is a car engine?

An engine works off of the internal combustion principal which is essentially when you take an energetic liquid like petrol or diesel and ignite it to create a tiny controlled explosion which creates pressure in a closed system, in this case inside the engine. This pressure is dues to the rapidly expanding gas that the explosion creates and results in your car moving in a given direction. Hundreds of these tiny explosions take place every minute within the car engine.


How does a car engine work?

Modern engines for sale work off of a four stroke principal whereby petrol or diesel is converted into motion. This process is also know at the Otto Cycle. This works with a device called a piston that is connected to a crankshaft by a connecting rod. The piston starts at the top of the intake valve which is where the petrol or diesel enters the engine. The combustive liquid moves into the cylinder (where the piston is housed) as the piston starts lowering down due to the motion of the camshaft when you turn on the engine. This is called an intake stroke. As the piston moves back up again it compresses this air and fuel mixture. At that very moment clever engine timing makes your spark plug emit a spark which ignites the fuel and creates an explosion. The process then begins again.


These cylinders can be arranged in few different ways and in different configurations to give different benefits. In a car you will either find an inline, V or flat, rotary cylinder configuration. A V6 motor for example had 6 cylinders that are arranged in a V shape.

Different engine configurations

We will now go through the different kinds of engine builds, how they work and what the advantages and disadvantages are of using these engine configurations.

V Style Engines

This is the most popular car engine configuration and this is where you have two collections of cylinders that are positioned at 90 degrees and connected to the crankshaft where the “V” shape meets in the center.

You can get a V6, V8 and a V12. This is either a collection 3, 4 or 6 cylinders on either side of the “V” shape.


Image Source: Wikipedia.

The advantages here are a very compact motor that have very good displacement and a rigid design. The cons are that the engine has a high center of gravity, many moving parts and every time you add a cylinder head to an engine, the complexity and costs go up dramatically.

Inline engines

Inline engines have all of their cylinders lined up in a single straight row. There is a full 360 degree rotation of the piston in this configuration.

Inline engines for sale are also compact but the main advantage here is that they are lightweight and the forces are balanced inside the motor so you don’t have to further reinforce the engine bay. These engines are also very easy to fix. The issues are that the inline engines can become very big and are unbalanced.

Flat engines

Flat car engines for sale are similar to a V shape in the sense that there are two collections of cylinders. The difference is that here they face 180 degree from each other instead of the 90 degrees in the V shape.

Flat engines are well balanced and have a very low center of gravity for increased handling. Flat engines are however very wide and very complex engines.


Rotary Engines

This configuration is used in a lot in aircrafts but there are a few car engines that use this design. A radial or rotary engine has a single crankshaft that “floats” in the center of pistons that move in a star pattern from the crankshaft.

Rotary engines for sale use the least moving parts as they don’t use pistons, this means the engines are simple. You also have much less chance of the engine failing due to the limited parts used. The biggest issue is that there are very few mechanics that know how to fix a rotary engine.


How to clean your engine

You now know a lot more about you engine, if you feel like taking a crack at keeping it looking good then we will explain the entire cleaning process. Cleaning up reconditioned engines is also a great way to save some money. Keeping them clean will prolong their lives. Let’s looks at the specific car parts in the engine that we will be polishing up.


Differences between Petrol and Diesel Engines for sale

Both petrol and diesel engines for sale work by converting any chemical energy from a fuel form into an energy form, in this case its forward motion, by igniting the fuel. The major difference is the way that this chemical energy source is ignited.

A petrol engine will:

  1. Take in petrol fuel and mix it with air in the engine
  2. The piston rises and compresses the air and fuel
  3. The air and fuel mixture is then ignited by the spark plug
  4. The pressure from the explosion is sent though the engine and the left overs are pushed through the exhaust system.

Diesel engine will:

  1. Take in only air
  2. Piston rises and compresses air which is heated inside the chamber
  3. Diesel is injected into the process here at exactly the right time which is then ignited and pushed though the engine.
  4. The pressure from the explosion is sent though the engine and the left overs are pushed through the exhaust system.

As you can see, the fuel is used in different parts of the combustion process and this is why it’s very important to use the right fuel or the right engine. Diesel engines don’t use a spark plug and rely on the high compression temperatures within the engine to ignite the fuel.

How to clean your car engine


  1. First you have to cover all of the delicate electrical car parts like the alternator, engine computer, relay boxes and the distributor with plastic shopping bags. Remove the loose dirt from the engine by using compressed air or a vacuum cleaner with a small hose extension.
  2. Use a good engine cleaner now and coat the entire engine. Make sure you get into the nooks and crannies as this is where most of the dirt and grease will collect. Then let it soak for about 30 minutes.
  3. Prep the engine block by using some Turps and compressed air to clean it. Put a tray or a piece of paper under the table you are working on to catch the fall detritus. Make sure you wear a face mask so you don’t breath in the vapors. Now clean all the bores with a paper towel and Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). Keep running the towel though the bores until they come out clean. You can leave the ATF on the block as it will prevent further rust and make sure you keep the engine block covered up with a plastic bag so no more debris gets inside of it.
  4. Now it’s time to clean the car parts. Let’s start off with the aluminium. Take a small wire brush and some rust remover then brush the engine car spares pieces, the exposed the raw aluminium. Then scrub the parts with a 3M scotch brite pad that has been soaked in rust remover. Make sure you are gentile with the air-condition lines as they are very fragile.
    For the plastic you need a stiff bristle brush, a sponge and soapy water. Rinse the cleaned parts with clear water and dry with a paper towel or your compressed air.
    For any problem areas you can use some brake cleaner, this will get almost anything off of the dirty car engine.
  5. The engine should now be spotless but if not, repeat the cleaning process until its completely free of dirt. Once you are satisfied then you can rinse the whole engine with water and let it dry completely before you start the engine. It’s best to leave the engine overnight in a cool and humid place.

Image Source: Wikipedia.

With everything from car parts to engines for sale, www.JunkMail.co.za is the place to shop. With a range of accessories and spares to choose from, you are sure to find what you are looking for on the Junk Mail website.

Bruce Ungersbock

Bruce is an SEO guy that has his eye on the prize and traffic on his mind. A lover of good music and a connoisseur of all things awesome.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × 5 =