03 Jul Types of Car Engines – Everything You Wanted to Know
Buying a car can be one of the most hectic situations one can find themselves in. An average person does not have in-depth knowledge about engines. In fact, the average person doesn’t typically know much at all from a description like “2.3-liter, Inline V6”. In addition, words like “hybrid” can mean many different things, and possibly not what you think. Let’s examine some of the most common engine descriptions and find out more about them.
Let’s start at the last part of the engine description, first. This is the “V6” part. You will see this number in a wide variety of ways. It may be a V6, V8, four-cylinder, etc. When you see something like this, it’s important to understand that it’s telling you two different things. First of all, it’s telling you the engine shape: a vee. Just like the letter, if you were to look at the engine from the side (or the end, depending on the engine, see Inline below), the engine would be in a sort of V-shape, meaning the cylinders are pointed up and out on each side of the main engine block. Typically, when an engine has only four-cylinders, they will all be on one-side of the engine block, therefore negating the use of the V.
The number after the V is telling you how many cylinders the engine has. The cylinder is the space where fuel is burned and the piston is pressed in and out, moving the engine, which, in turn, moves the car. Before hybrids and things like EcoBoost technology, the rule of thumb was: more cylinders, more gas. As an example, a four-cylinder engine would use about half as much gas an eight-cylinder engine.
Now, let’s examine the “2.3-liter” part of a description. Engines are measured by displacement. Displacement is the total volume all of the cylinders inside an engine can hold. This number is calculated and usually rounded off to the nearest tenth. This measurement can also be done in cubic centimeters, and is then referred to as cc’s.
Next, we’ll look at the term “inline”. Inline simply refers to how the cylinders on an engine are arranged. Inline cylinders are in line with the front of the car, making them perpendicular to the length of the car. This arrangement is probably most popular, as it is the method typically used in most small to mid-size cars. The other option is a straight arrangement. A straight engine goes parallel to the length of the car, making it perpendicular to the front of the car. This is typically found in more expensive sports cars.
Finally, there are all of the different version of hybrid you will find. By definition, hybrid is just a regular gas engine built with an electronic component. This can come in a variety of different ways. While one car may only drive electric unless the battery needs recharging, then it switches to gas, others use a tandem component, allowing for electric propulsion and fuel burning to happen simultaneously.
There’s no right or wrong car for everybody. There’s only the right car for you. Using what you’ve just learned, maybe you can find something that fit’s you just right.