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Written By: Vito Sanchez on January 4, 2013 No Comment


For many people, raising the hood of their car is essentially a foray into the unknown. Traditional vehicle engines are classified as internal combustion engines and include the following components:

Cylinder Block
The main component of an engine, the block houses the cylinders and their pistons in the upper section; the lower section is comprised of the crankcase, which supports the crankshaft. Cylinder blocks are typically made of either cast iron or aluminum, which is lighter in weight.
Cylinder Head
The cylinder head forms the top of the combustion chamber and is bolted atop the block. In the combustion chamber, the gasoline combines with pressurized air and is ignited by a spark from a spark plug.
Connecting Rods
These mechanisms connect the pistons to the crankshaft.

Throws are offset areas in the crankcase where the reciprocating motion of the pistons is converted into the rotary motion that will propel the vehicle.
Pistons and Piston Rings
Pistons transfer energy to the crankshaft via the connecting rods. The piston rings provide a tight seal which maintains heat and pressure in the piston and prevents oil from entering the combustion chamber.

Mounted on the rear of the crankshaft, the flywheel is the link between the crankshaft and the transmission via the clutch assembly.

Valves, Intake and Exhaust
These control the flow of the intake and exhaust from the combustion chamber and are specifically called intake valves and exhaust valves. Generally, intake valves are larger than the exhaust valves due to the increased pressure that forces a charge into the cylinder. Correct valve timing is essential to the proper operation of an internal combustion engine.

Made of various materials such as cork, rubber, metal or alloy, gaskets should be used once and then discarded. Head gaskets in particular should never be reused since they contain the combustion pressure within the block and the cylinder head.

Camshaft and Lobes
A separate camshaft drives each valve and the distributor. A cam lobe opens a valve for a specific amount of time and then closes it.

Timing Chain or Belt
The timing belt or chain drives the camshaft and the water pump.

The crankshaft rotates in the crankcase, facilitated by the main bearings located in the crankcase.

Located throughout the engine, bearings provide support and protection for rotating parts, allowing them to move without obstruction.

Water Pump
This essential component circulates the coolant or water from the radiator through the engine as one component of the engine cooling system. If the timing chain or belt is not properly tensioned, the water pump will not properly circulate water or coolant and the engine can overheat.

Multi-vaned and finned, the radiator is the water or coolant reservoir for the engine.

Spark Plugs and Plug Wires
Although not specifically a component of the engine block, spark plugs and wires are essential to the function of an internal combustion engine since the spark plugs supply the spark that ignites the air/gasoline mixture in the combustion chamber.

Carburetor or Fuel Injection System
The carburetor or fuel injection combines the air/gasoline mixture in the proper ratio before it is sent to the combustion chamber.

Oil System
Engine oil is essential to keep moving parts properly lubricated and prevent the engine from overheating. Oil is kept in the oil pan, circulated throughout the engine by the oil pump and kept free of debris by the oil filter.

The composite parts of the sophisticated technology in an internal combustion engine work best when all its components are properly maintained. Keeping all the systems in proper operation will ensure maximum safety and longevity of this incredible machine.


This article was written by Vito Sanchez on behalf of Auto USA, your number one choice for an Arlington car dealer. Check out their website to see what they can do for you!

Written By: admin on August 3, 2012 No Comment

Radiator fluid keeps your car at a safe temperature so it can run smoothly and efficiently. When the engine is running it produces heat. Fluids flow through the radiator system to prevent that heat getting to the engine. It’s important that the engine doesn’t overheat but you also don’t want it to freeze. In cold weather conditions the fluids prevent water in the radiator system from freezing. It’s all about regulating a perfect temperature.

If the temperature is just right, everything should run smoothly. Unfortunately, car radiator problems happen often, and what is worse, it is difficult to be aware of these problems. The key here then, is prevention. It doesn’t take much; just regular service and maintenance should stave off worries of a misguided engine temperature.

Checking a Vehicle's Coolant

In order to properly check the coolant in your car you need to follow some instructions.

First and foremost see if the liquid reaches the “Full” line on the side of the coolant reservoir. If it's full, the levels are good. In case it isn't, open the bottle and add a 50/50 mix of water and coolant, until it reaches the “Full” line. In some cases you will need to add water in the reservoir, as some coolants are premixed; however, you have to check the bottle first.

The color of the coolant can be red, green, blue, or yellow. If the liquid has no color or has things floating around in it, you will need to add new coolant.

Another important thing to check is the surface of the coolant and if it looks oily. If it does, take your car to the mechanic, as soon as possible to check if there is an internal head gasket leak.

Radiator hoses are also important. For those who don't know - they're the big hoses that go into the top and come out of the bottom of the radiator. If you notice that they're cracked, leaking or squishy that means it's time for a replacement.


*Some vehicle coolant recovery systems have a radiator pressure cap instead of a normal cap. Also some older cars don’t have a coolant reservoir. If you happen to own such car, you have to open the cap on the radiator in order to check and add coolant.

*You mustn't add coolant to a hot engine! If you do that the fluids and steam could spurt out and burn you. Make sure you remember this.

Author works for dmv.com, a resource for the Department of Motor Vehicles

Written By: admin on August 6, 2009 2 Comments
Illustration of a 4-Cylinder Engine Timing Belt

Illustration of a 4-Cylinder Engine Timing Belt

Replacing your car's timing belt is not an easy task.  It probably requires a full weekend to remove all the parts and then reinstall them back again if you are a beginner.  If you have your factory car service manual handy, you should probably always follow it at the first time as it does often point out the details and tips on how to perform certain procedures.

So why do people replace their timing belt?  The purpose of a timing belt is to provide a flexible connection between the camshaft and crankshaft to keep the valves opening and closing in phase with the movement of the pistons.  When you car hits every 60,000 miles, it generally requires you replacing the timing belt.

You should always plan on changing your timing belt whenever you are accessible to the timing belt for other jobs, such as replacing water pump.

If your timing belt is worn or damaged, it can cause your engine to run rough or even not running at all if it's broken.  A worn belt can decrease your power and lower your car's mileage.  When a timing belt is broken, it can be catastrophic for the engine.

The condition of the belt is not easily seen as it is always covered in order to protect flying objects that might cause a damage to the belt, therefore you should always inspect your timing belt whenever you are accessible to the area or replace it at recommended intervals specified on your factory car service manual.

Lastly, if you are not comfortable replacing it yourself, you should seek your local shop to do the job for you.  If you want to learn how to replace your own timing belt, you should follow the  prodcedures specified on your factor car service manual.

Written By: admin on July 24, 2009 One Comment

Your car's air filter is an important component part to your car's air intake system, because it is through the air filter that the engine breathes.  Your car's engine needs a mixture of air and fuel in order to spark and make the engine run.  All of the air enters the system need go through your air filter first.

The purpose of an air filter is to FILTER out dirt and other foreign particles from the air to your engine's intake system.  Preventing these foreign particles such as dirt into your system is crucial.  A dirty air filter can possibly damage your car's engine and hurt your car's performance such as gas mileage.

Changing your own air filter is very easy, and it is generally pretty cheap to buy one.  You should change your car's air filter at least once a year.  If you live in an area with dirt roads or air pollution, the air filter would need to be changed regularly.

The exact location of the filter is different in various cars.  When you plan to change your air filter yourself, you need to look for a large plastic cube leading away from the top of the engine.  The tube should connect to a large container box that may be square or round shaped, that's your air filter box.  All you need to do is to access to the air filter box and have the top comes off in order to replace it.

Below shows you a brief video on how to change your own air filter.  If you still have difficulties to access to the air filter box or you still need specific directions on how to access to your air filter, you can consider purchasing a factory service manual for your car to guide you through it so you can replace it with confidence.

Written By: admin on May 18, 2009 No Comment

What does coolant do?
Coolant, also called radiator fluid, it keeps your engine temperatures stable under all climate extremes and driving conditions.  Because your engine can produce high level of heat when it is running and the fluid flowing through the radiator system can help to draw some of the heat away from your engine so it doesn't over heat and it also prevents the water in the radiator from freezing under colder weather.

Generally you should complete your coolant flush and change for every 24,000 miles or two years because there is a life span of chemicals in the radiator fluid.  Follow your factory service manual or maintenance manual for better radiator fluid change procedures.

Watch the video below on how to change your car's radiator fluid as a reference.

Written By: admin on May 4, 2009 No Comment

Written By: admin on April 25, 2009 One Comment

Written By: admin on April 25, 2009 No Comment

spark-plugReplacing a spark plug is one of of the task on your car tune-up checklist.  It is a high voltage bridge for electricity. When the electricity crosses the "bridge" (which is actually a gap between two contact points) inside your engine, the spark it makes ignites the gas vapors, which makes the engine running.

So how do you know when you need new spark plugs?

  • Getting low gas mileage - If the spark plugs are worn down and corroded by burns and carbon deposits, they will hurt your engine performance and efficiency, resulting in low gas mileage. This is usually the first thing you should look at when you start getting poor gas mileage.
  • Getting hard starting or rough idling - Worn or corroded spark plugs can be a factor to this. However, fuel injectors being dirty can also be attributed to this problem. Spark plug is often the first thing you should look at.
  • Time between last spark plugs change - Check your owner's manual or factory service manual for the correct time or mileage when it comes to spark plugs replacement. If you don't know when your spark plugs last time changed, you can pull out the plugs and check for wears and/or any carbon deposits.

Refer to your owner's manual or factory service manual for better procedures on how to replace your spark plugs. In most cars, changing the spark plugs is easy and fast. Before you start, make sure you have the following tools ready:

  • Ratchet wrench
  • 12-in socket extension
  • Spark plug socket for your car

The following video is here to guide you through the process:

Written By: admin on April 17, 2009 No Comment

Typically, you should change your radiator fluid or engine coolant twice a year to prevent buildup of silt in your coolant system. The video below shows you how to change your radiator fluid.

Written By: admin on April 16, 2009 No Comment

Changing Engine oil is perhaps one of the most important car maintenance on your checklist.  Fresh and clean engine oil can ensure your engine run smoothly.  When you change your engine oil, it's also important that you replace your oil filter as well.  Most people choose to take their car to the local shop for oil change.  However, changing your own engine oil is very simple, and you can save a little bit of more money if you choose do it yourself.  If you have a car jack and couple of simple tools, you are ready to change your own engine oil.  Make sure you buy the correct engine oil weight and oil filter for your car's engine.  If you do not know which type of oil and oil filter to buy, you can often refer to your car's owner's manual or factory service manual to get the specification.  If you don't have either manuals, you can also call your local car manufacture or stores like Schucks for the same information.  Watch the video below to learn more on how to change your engine oil:

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