How Internal Combustion Engines Work

car-engine-machineHave you ever been cruising down the road wondering how the engine in your car works? How the car can take a liquid such as gasoline and convert it into movement, propelling you down the road at speeds triple of what a horse could gallop at. Well, there is a detailed process of moving components that allow that to happen. If you look under the hood of your car you’re likely to have a piston driven internal combustion engine, although there are other engines such as rotary engines, hydrogen fuel cell engines, and electric engines. These piston engines are made up of anywhere from 1 to 16 cylinders although your car most likely has 4, 6, or 8 cylinders, in a straight, flat, or V shaped configuration. These cylinders are drilled into a steel engine block to make way for a plunger like device called a piston. This piston is designed to tightly fit in the cylinder to maximize power. The piston is driven up and down with the help of the rotation of the crankshaft. The four strokes of the piston are as follows

  1. Intake- This is where the piston starts at the top of its stroke and goes down, with the intake valve letting in the fuel air mixture into the cylinder to start this process
  2. Compression- The piston starts here at the bottom of its stroke and heads up pushing the molecules of oxygen and octane closer together optimizing the mixture for combustion. As the piston almost reaches the top of its stroke the spark plug sends out a little bolt of electricity that will ignite the fuel once the piston reaches the top of its stroke
  3. Power- BOOM! This is where the fuel air mixture is ignited and creates the power machines-pistonsnecessary to drive the piston back down and rotate the camshaft for the other pistons to continue their role in the power making process
  4. Exhaust- Finally, after the oxygen and octane is converted into carbon dioxide and water vapor, the exhaust valve is opened where the gas in the cylinder rushes out to be propelled out of the exhaust. The cylinder during all of this rises to the top ready to start the process all over again

automobile-machinesAll of this power from combustion is sent to the cars transmission which controls how much power is sent to the drive wheels through the use of gears controlled either manually with a clutch or automatically with a torque converter and the cars on board computer. The correct amount of power is sent to spin the drive shaft which then spins the differential to allow the drive wheels to be turned at different speeds. For example, when you go around a corner the outside wheels must turn faster than the inside wheels because they have a greater distance to travel. As you can see the process to combust liquid gasoline and transfer that to the drive wheels is quite complex and is truly a feat of engineering that makes you admire the fact that some of these engines are reliably making 600+ hp. And to think all of this is possible because of the power of machines!

The Importance of Machines to Auto Mechanics

auto-mechanic-machinesAs we have established throughout many of our posts, machines whether they are big, small or simple are used daily to help make our lives and jobs a lot easier.  In every profession machines are used to aid in work and to get big, small and huge jobs done. Whether you are a plumber, printing newspapers, hauling big equipment, harvesting crops or simply opening your garage door, machines are utilized in almost every aspect of every day life.  Coupled with technological advances and the refinement of the 6 simple machines that were first invented and introduced machines just keep getting better and better as time goes on. Our post today is focused on the importance of machines in auto mechainc shops. Why? Because in order to keep our vehicles in tip top shape and perfroming optimally, mechanics require the use of certain machines in the scope of their work as well.  We thought it would be interesting to go over some of the most important machines found in  an auto mechanic shop and what their particular uses actually are. I spoke with a freind of mine who is an auto mechanic and asked what he considered the top 5 machines in his shop to be and what he sees as being most valuable to his business.



  • Engine Hoist- This machine helps repair, rebuild and replace engines and is a must have should you be doing engine work that requires the emoval of the engine.  You will want to make sure that you have the right size hoist for the types of engines you plan on servicing.
  • Brake Lathe- This machine makes any brake service you do faster, more efficeint and profitable.  You can alsways send out rotors and drums to be resurfaced, however for quicker turn around time and to save money on having to pay a thrid party this machine is a great investment
  • Strut Compressor- This machine is a must have for working on struts or suspension systems.  Having one in your shop can add to the spectrum of your service capabilities
  • Transmission Jack- Definitely a must have for transmission jobs and will help to make the procss so much easier. Yiu need to make sure you have one for all sizes and weights of transmissions to ensure proper saftey.
  • Vehicle Lifts- Needed to raise vehicles to the proper height so that the mechanic is able to work on the vehicle correctly.  Don’t forget to check out saftey features, requirments and accessories when looking to purchase a vehicle lift.  Remember it’s baring the weight of the entire vehicle so you want to make sure to utilize this machine properly.

All in all there are many machines that make mechanic jobs easier and a lot safer forvehicle-lift-machine the auto mechanic.  Without machines to utilize many would not be able to perform services without the help of another person or in a decent amount of time.  This just goes to show the importance of machines and how they make so many different professions and jobs easier to perfrom and safely at that. Never under estimate the value of machines! As always, before operating ANY type of machine make sure that you are not only experienced but know the different saftey measures nd precautions.