Main Types of Engine with Great Detail: (Car Motors)

Types of Engine

When one is interested in a car, there are two essential parameters, the design and the types of engine. The aesthetics are indeed very important, we all want to find our car beautiful and appreciate its look. Then comes the engine, this set of cylinders and pistons connected to the crankshaft which transmits the power from the engine to the wheels via the transmission system. This is the heart of the car, it has a bearing on performance, driving pleasure, but also the consumption. In-line, flat or V engine. here is a small presentation of the different architectures of car engines.

Different Types of Engines

There are currently 4 types of motors, which differ in their modes of operation:

Thermal Engines

Thermal Engine of a Car

As mentioned above, there are two types of spark-ignition engines: gasoline and Diesel. Their difference does not come from the process (which is the same), but from the fuel: indeed, for one it is gasoline, and for the other, it is diesel fuel.

Diesel or gasoline, both emit pollutants such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen monoxides. Except that, in theory, petrol cars produce much more CO2 than diesel engines with a difference of 25 %-even with a filter. And we must not forget that diesel engines have the particularity of reducing diesel fuel consumption. So it’s less harmful to our environment.

But Diesel emits a lot of oxides and benzopyrenes: fine particulates (for more information click here), known carcinogens and suspected of being responsible for allergies, and cardiopulmonary diseases. So Diesel is much more harmful to humans.


The engine, as you know, keeps your car moving. The question is how ! Pistons, crankshafts, admission, explosion and cylinder capacity. Avatar tells you all about these obscure machines that make the heart of your car


The thermal engine, or combustion and ignition engine, is similar to a watertight box in which there are several tubes (Cylinder). Inside these tubes flow metal pistons driving the crankshaft (crank which allows the transmission of fuel combustion energy in mechanical energy). This way, your wheels turn and your vehicle can move forward!


4 stroke, 2 strokes, 3 strokes. no, we’re not talking about a waltz, we’re talking about a motor. And yes, your engine also works in time.


2 Strokes Engine

You will find the 2-stroke engine in your motorcycle, on your lawnmower but also some automobiles. In this two-stroke cycle, the pistons make only linear movements inside the cylinders.

The gas in your engine will be subjected to 4 steps. These 4 steps are done in 1 lap for 2 stroke engines. While these same steps are done every 2 laps for 4 stroke engines. That is, 2-stroke engines combine two steps per half-turn of the engine.


Four (4)Strokes Engine

Used in the automotive and aviation industries, 4-stroke engines run in cycles like the 2-stroke engine. These internal combustion engines (the mixture of air and fuel burns inside the cylinders) or explosion are subjected to 4 steps identical to those of the 2-stroke engine but in a longer time.


These 4 steps are

1- Admission

The intake valve allows a mixture of air and fuel to enter the cylinder. In the Diesel engine, only air enters the cylinder. The piston goes down into the cylinder. This movement causes a vacuum to draw the air-gasoline mixture into the combustion chamber.

Read More About: How Engine Works Step by Step

2- Compression

The intake valve closes and the piston goes up into the cylinder. This action compresses the gases inside the combustion chamber.

3- The explosion

The spark plug creates a spark that will ignite the compressed gases and cause an explosion. This action will bring the piston down.

4- Exhaust

The piston rises again, pushing the burnt gas towards the exhaust valve. This opens up to allow these gases to escape from the vehicle.

During this 4-step cycle, the exhaust valve is closed from Step 1 to step 3. The intake valve remains open only at the beginning of the first stage.


It is important to note that the cycle time of the steps is not only the difference between a 2 stroke and a 4 stroke motor. There are others:

1- In a 2 stroke engine, oil is mixed with gasoline and subsequently mixed with air. 4-stroke engines work differently, gasoline and oil never meet: gasoline is mixed with air.

2- The piston in a 2-stroke engine makes a single crankshaft turn while it makes 2 in the 4-stroke engine.

3- The wear level of a 2-stroke engine is higher than that of a 4-stroke engine.

4- The 2 stroke engine has very little engine braking.


Electric Motors

The most well-known technology to replace the spark ignition engine is the electric motor. Invented nearly a hundred years ago, the electric motor only becomes effective in our time, because modern methods allow extracting lithium more easily, allowing to make efficient batteries. However, electric cars are still less practical today (more expensive and less durable than those with a thermal engine).

Electric Motor: A type of Engine

Environmentalists like Madame DUFLOT recommend the use of electric cars. Nevertheless, it is quite understandable to opt for a thermal motor vehicle since it is still better suited for everyday use and costs much less. It is probably best to wait for the evolution and democratization of electric motors or to consider the purchase of a hybrid vehicle although it is necessary to put the price.

In the case of an electric vehicle, liquid fuel is no longer used. But electric energy stored in batteries located inside the vehicle is used.


In fact, the electric motor has many advantages, no emissions of polluting or greenhouse gases, cheaper energy, high efficiency (80 % compared to 30% for a conventional thermal engine), thus less waste of energy, economy at a standstill (red lights, traffic jams), energy recovery at braking (the motor can work in “reverse” and produce during decelerations an electric current that recharges the batteries).


Unfortunately, the disadvantages of the electric motor remain considerable today : the range of the batteries is extremely low (about 200km) for a maximum speed which is also insufficient (130km/h maximum), the weight of the onboard batteries is several hundred kilograms and the energy storage capacity of an electric vehicle is a hundred times less than that of a vehicle with a thermal motor (electricity is not stored (almost).

Moreover, this attractive solution can hardly be generalized at the national level because energy needs are too great.

The electric car is therefore of limited use because it would seem to fit only in areas such as the city where speed is restricted and travel time.

We believe, however, that the electric car will be used as a transition to an environmentally friendly engine with the same performance as the current thermal engine.


The Hybrid Engine

There is a compromise between the thermal engine and the electric motor: the hybrid engine.

The principle of the hybrid engine is to couple these two engines in one, so to actuate the wheels, we have two driving forces that are stressed in their optimum operating ranges. The result is a reduction in gasoline consumption and, consequently, in emissions of polluting and greenhouse gases. However, the hybrid car is not an electric car and the battery is not dimensioned for a large range.Hybrid Engine of a Vehicle

It would be a good idea to design a hybrid car with a battery that would run on the same range as the electric car today, in order to combine the qualities of an urban car with those of a road car.

However, despite certain advantages, the hybrid car cannot dispense with gasoline (or diesel) and therefore does not solve the problems related to global warming and the depletion of fossil reserves.

Read More About: List of Engine Components

Today, we believe that the hybrid car seems the best compromise given the current technology (low-efficiency electric car and expensive gasoline).

The Compressed Air Engine

The Compressed Air Engine

There is also another very little known engine, the compressed air motor (or air motor).

The compressed air motor works thanks to the compressed air expansion in the pistons which drives the wheels (same systems as the thermal motor).

The air motor has many advantages. In fact, it offers a high torque for a minimum volume and weight, its maintenance and manufacturing cost is relatively low, the storage of compressed air in cylinders is a priori free of any form of pollution, the tank offers a possibility of recharging more than 10,000 cycles, in theory, infinite : it does not wear out.

However, the compressed air Motor has a very low range and the cylinder must be charged with a compressor.

We, therefore, believe that the compressed air motor will not have a future in the car sector because it is too restrictive but can nevertheless develop in the public transport sector (tramway for example).

There is also a last alternative to the combustion engine: the hydrogen engine.

In the third part, we will, therefore, try to explain to you how it works and why we think that the hydrogen engine will one day be able to replace the thermal engine.


According to the arrangement of Cylinders

The most classic, the Inline Engine

Inline Engine: A type of Car Engine

This is probably the configuration that we find most often on our vehicles, especially the car’s entry. The reason for this is very simple, the in-line engine is the least complex, it requires fewer parts for its design, it is cheaper to manufacture than others and it is more economical in terms of maintenance. Its peculiarity is that the pistons/combustion chambers have perfectly aligned behind each other. And they are mounted perpendicular to the crankshaft. So it’s going to be longer but flatter than a V-engine. Due to its size, the in-line engine is reserved almost exclusively for cars with a maximum of 4 cylinders.


The characteristics of the engine V

V Engine

Even when one is not very interested in the automobile, one has already heard the expression “V6 engine”. The letter refers to The Shape of the engine, with two sets of pistons that form a V and the number to the number of pistons. Therefore this type of engine always has an even number of cylinders. Compared to the in-line engine, it is shorter, wider and offers a more compact shape that some manufacturers prefer to work on the center of gravity of the car. It is, however, a little more complex to manufacture and are found on high-end vehicles. It also incurs additional costs due to the fact that a V engine requires two exhaust lines starting from the engine block.


The VR engine, A Variation of the V Engine.

The VR Engine of Automobile

The letter R adjacent to the V signifies that the cylinder angle of an engine has been changed to V in order to reduce its dimensions. Also by bringing the pistons closer together, it is possible to use only one cylinder head per set of pistons. The most recent example is the Golf VR6, which housed a VR6 engine in a transverse position.


The W Engine, a kind of Double V Engine

The W Engine

These are powerful engines for high-performance vehicles. The W engine is, in fact, a Double V engine. as far as space is concerned, as you can imagine, there is no question of mounting a V12 on a small car.


The Flat Engine.

Have you ever heard of a boxer engine? It is, in fact, a flat engine with horizontal cylinders. It’s kind of like we took a V-engine and put it flatly. This configuration has the advantage of offering an excellent balance due to flat movements that generate fewer imbalances. It is no longer necessary to lest the crankshaft. Another advantage is that Flat engines are positioned lower and increase handling and handling. They are much wider and require a specific design. And we must not forget to point out that their more complex design makes them more expensive and more difficult to maintain.

The Flat Engine

What about the performance in all this?

If the available space under the hood is an important parameter in the choice of an engine for the manufacturer, especially for small cars, one cannot say that one architecture is better than another, all the circuits of the world have seen 4, 5, 6, 8 or 12 cylinders at very high speeds. It’s a bit like brands, there are Mercedes or Toyota enthusiasts and there are motorists who swear by the V6 or the Flat6


If you want to buy a vehicle or simply check the condition of your engine here are some tips to remember :

1- Check the oil gauge! An elevated level is harmful to your engine.

2- Check the rust on the expansion vase.

3- Check the cylinder head gasket, if it is defective you risk engine failure!


To avoid using your engine too quickly, avoid driving at low rpm too often. However, don’t try to shift your gears too fast ! Ideally, you should allow your engine time to warm up while driving slowly for a good ten minutes before you start to press the engine hard with sudden accelerations. Finally, be sure to respect your vehicle’s maintenance schedule by using quality products (especially for oil).

I Hope, you have understood different types of engine of vehicles. If you have any question in your mind please ask in the comment section. Thank you.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.