What keeps a car engine running?

This blog post will answer the question, ‘What keeps a car engine running?’, and cover topics like various factors affecting the average lifespan of a car engine, different parts that allow a car engine to run, and how does every part help in reaching peak engine performance within the lifespan.

What keeps a car engine running?

These are the following aspects that keep a car engine running:

  • The engine oil needs to be changed on a regular basis as doing so prevents the engine oil from getting contaminated by dust, debris, and gunk buildup.
  • Keeping the coolant levels in check is another practice that helps in keeping an engine running as it promotes the cooling of the engine by allowing heat to escape.
  • Checking and cleaning air filters also helps in making the engine run longer as it prevents dirt, debris, etc from entering the combustion chamber and disrupting it.
  • Regularly checking for oil or coolant leak puddles under the car is a good practice for helping the car engine run.
  • It is also important to check the timing belts and chains, as they are crucial for running components like the water pump and also for ensuring optimum engine timing.
  • The fuel filter needs to be cleaned on a regular basis 
  • Defective spark plugs and faulty distributor caps need to be replaced immediately to ensure proper ignition of the air-fuel mixture.

Various factors affecting the average lifespan of a car engine

These are the following factors that govern the average lifespan of a car engine:

  • Depends on the material used to manufacture the car engine
  • Car engines can either be made of aluminum or iron
  • Iron engine blocks are more durable and have better longevity as they have resistive properties against the immense heat generated by a car engine
  • The longevity of a car engine also depends on the area of residence
  • Car engines do not last long in hilly regions as the engine undergoes immense heat and stress due to traversing over rough terrain on a regular basis
  • Another important factor governing the average lifespan of the engine is the way a car is driven
  • Car engines do not last for long if they are rashly driven or maintained poorly as the engines undergo severe wear and tear due to rough driving and they do not get repaired if the maintenance is poor

Different parts that allow the car engine to run

The following are the different components that allow a car engine to run and meet its optimal performance requirements:

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

How does every part help in reaching peak engine performance during the lifespan?

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.

Research has shown the different ways to extend the lifespan of a car engine.

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

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How to avoid a blown car engine?


This blog post answered the question, ‘What keeps a car engine running?’

We came across the various factors that affect the average lifespan of a car engine. Furthermore, the different parts of a car engine and how each of them helps attain peak engine performance during the lifespan of the engine have also been discussed. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What keeps a car engine running?

What is the average life of a car engine?

The average life of a car engine is around 10 years or roughly 200000 miles.

Do engines last forever?

Modern-day car engines are manufactured in such a way that they last at least 100000 miles and more. Although the lifespan of the engine is heavily dependent on the way it is driven and the frequency of maintenance being done.

At what speed is an engine most efficient?

A car engine is most efficient at a speed range of 55-65 miles per hour, and an increase in speed causes the fuel efficiency to rapidly decrease.