What are the parts of a car engine?

This blog post will answer the question, ‘What are the parts of a car engine’ and cover topics like what role does each part play, types of car engine layouts, types of engine cylinder configurations, and most common types of fuel used in engines.

What are the parts of a car engine?

A typical car engine is made up of the following parts:

  • Engine block
  • Combustion chamber
  • Cylinder head
  • Crankshaft
  • Camshaft
  • Piston(s)
  • Timing chain
  • Valvetrain
  • Valves
  • Rocker arms
  • Pushrods
  • Fuel injectors
  • Spark plugs

What role does each part play?

Every part making up the engine is crucial for its functioning and a small defect in any of them will hamper the overall performance of the car.

Engine block

The engine block acts as a housing for the pistons, crankshaft, camshaft, and cylinders depending on the vehicle. It is usually made up of aluminum or iron. Helps in creating a passage for water and oil to help cool down the engine and lubricate it.

Combustion chamber

Area of energy conversion during the combustion process. This is where the air-fuel mixture is ignited by the application of electricity from a spark plug and pressure from pistons.

Cylinder head

Its connection to the engine is done via connecting bolts and is sealed using a head gasket. It contains components like valves, pushrods, rocker arms, camshafts, etc.


It is mounted at the base of the engine box and is connected to the pistons via connecting rods. Its main role is to help move the pistons up and down with respect to the operating engine speed.


It is either mounted in the engine block or inside the cylinder head. It is responsible for controlling the timing of valves that need to open for letting in the air during the intake stroke and close for letting exhaust gases out during the exhaust stroke.


They are cylindrical in shape and have a flat head as the top surface. Its primary role is to convert the energy from combustion and transfer it to the crankshaft that helps to propel the car.

Timing chain

They act as the medium of connecting the crankshaft and the camshaft and ensure the engine timing is optimal. Their structure includes a heavy-duty rubber equipped with a set of cogs that grips on the crankshaft and camshaft.


The valvetrain is responsible for controlling the movement of the valves. It also acts as a housing for the valves, pushrods, rocker arms, lift rods, etc., and joins the cylinder head.


They are made up of intake and exhaust valves. The intake valves help the air-fuel mixture to enter the combustion chamber during intake strokes and the exhaust valve helps push out the unwanted gases at the end of the combustion process.

Rocker arms

The rocker arms along with the cams apply pressure on the two valves to either let in the air into the chamber or push out the exhaust gases.


For engines where the camshaft does not come in contact with the rocker arms, pushrods are deployed and are used to operate the valve system.

Fuel injectors

They are responsible for letting in fuel into the combustion chamber to be mixed with air and burned to produce energy.

Spark plugs

They are responsible for providing the spark necessary to burn the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber that helps in producing energy to push the piston down.

Types of car engine layouts

These are the following car engine layouts that are common in the market.

Straight engine

In this type of engine, the cylinders are arranged in a straight manner and parallel to the car from the front to the rear. These are prevalent in powerful cars like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Inline Engine

This type of layout includes the cylinders placed adjacent to each other and in an upright manner. They are spread out across the engine bay and are perpendicular to the car, thus forming a small and compact kind of engine. This is common in small family cars and hatchbacks.

V Engine

In this type of engine layout, the cylinders are aligned in a V shape when viewed from the front. The cylinders are aligned in a manner that they form a 60-degree angle.

They are mainly prevalent in high-performance vehicles like supercars and other luxury vehicles.

Flat Engine

In this type of layout, the cylinders are mounted in a horizontal manner with two of its rows protruding outwards. They help in maintaining a low center of gravity that helps in achieving better vehicle handling.

Types of engine cylinder configurations

These are the following ways an engine can be configured based on the number of cylinders it houses.

  • Twin-cylinder (Fiat Twin Air)
  • Three-cylinder (Ford Focus)
  • Four-cylinder(Small to mid-range cars)
  • Five-cylinder(Volvo)
  • Six-cylinder(Sports cars)
  • Eight-cylinders and more(V8,V10,V12)

Most common types of fuel used in engines

These are the most common types of fuel used in car engines:

  • Gasoline
  • Diesel
  • Bio-diesel
  • Ethanol

Research shows the various engine parts along with a pictorial representation to understand their roles better.


This blog post addressed the question, ‘What are the parts of a car engine?’.

We obtained a complete breakdown of the anatomy of a car engine and the various layouts an engine can have. Furthermore, we discovered various engine configurations based on the number of cylinders and the most common types of fuel used in car engines. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are the parts of a car engine?

What parts come with a new engine?

A new engine comes with parts like a crankshaft, camshaft, valves, pistons, connecting rods, etc.

What is the top of the engine called?

The top of the engine is referred to as the cylinder head and the lower section of the engine is called the engine block.

What are the parts of a piston?

The piston is comprised of the following parts:

  • Piston head
  • Piston rings
  • Piston pin
  • Piston pin bore
  • Piston skirt