Understanding Your Car

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By AdFeatures | Monday, October 29, 2012, 08:02


As an expensive piece of equipment, owning a car is quite a responsibility. They need regular checks and a lot of care to stay running as smoothly and safely as they should so it is good to know a little bit about how your vehicle works.

When taking your car to a garage to get it repaired by a professional you should have a basic understanding of the fault and what is needed to rectify it. This will ensure you achieve good value for money and are aware of exactly what you’re paying for. This knowledge can also enable you to purchase your own car parts in order to carry out small, minor repairs yourself – something which saves both time and money.

The Car Engine

The engine of your car is much more than a confusing jumble of tubes, metals and wires. The main function of an engine is to convert petrol fuel into usable energy which drives motion through the process of combustion. This is why they bear the label of “internal combustion engine” due to the burning process which goes on inside it.

What is happening to make the car move is that, when ignited, the petrol releases a huge amount of energy as expanding gas. These tiny explosions happen hundreds of times a minute, creating enough energy to propel your car forwards.

Most cars use something known as a four-stroke combustion cycle to convert the petrol into movement. This was created by German inventor Nikolaus (Nicolaus) Otto in 1867. The four strokes referred to are the intake stroke, the compression stroke, the combustion stroke and the exhaust stroke.

How This Works

In the engine there is a piston which transfers the force generated by the aforementioned expanding gas via a rod to the crankshaft. This revolves and as the engine goes through this cycle four things happen:

1. An intake valve opens and the piston moves down. This lets the cylinder in the engine fill itself with air and petrol. This is the intake stroke in which only a drop of fuel is needed to mix with the air and get the process going.

2. Next is the compression stroke in which the piston moves back up. In doing so, the mixture of air and fuel is compressed which gives the gives produces a lot more power.

3. When the piston has reached the top, the spark plug creates a spark which ignites the fuel. The fuel then explodes which pushes the piston down. This is the combustion stroke.

4. Last is the exhaust stroke. When the piston reaches its lowest point it hits the exhaust valve which opens and lets the exhaust fumes leave the cylinder out of your car's tailpipe or exhaust pipe. Now the engine is ready to begin the cycle again by taking in a new 'breath' or air and gas.

Why Knowledge Is Important

Knowledge of these processes can help you to diagnose potential faults with your vehicle and identify if it is not working as efficiently as it should. Be spotting the signs early, any repairs you have completed will be more preventative than corrective and this means they are likely to be quicker and cheaper – great news for motorists given the current financial situation.



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