12th Street Auto Care Center is proud to be ASE and AAA certified. You can trust our mechanics to inspect, diagnose and repair or replace your vehicle’s engine. Remember, your engine is the heart of your car, truck, van or SUV. Without it, you can’t go anywhere or do anything. So, when you’re having engine troubles, don’t think twice. Stop by our auto shop where our specially trained technicians will do their best to save your engine. If the damage is too extensive, or if the engine is just too old, we’ll offer you an affordable replacement and extend financing options as well.
Your engine is more than just a complex system of metal and oil. There are several components that work together to ensure your vehicle is safe to travel in. If you’re not sure what your engine is, exactly, here’s a quick rundown.
Your engine has a long metal rod that runs along its length called the camshaft. The camshaft rotates in time with the motion of your engine’s pistons and with the firing of the spark plugs while your car is on and running. As the shaft rotates, the cams across its body press spring-loaded valves open or shut, which controls the intake and exhaust for your engine’s cylinders.
Your engine’s pistons are made of solid metal and they’re attached to the connecting rod. Your engine is powered by a series of chain reactions, one of which expands gas that is used to push the pistons up and down into and out of a hollow cylinder in the engine block. When the piston is in the cylinder, a piston ring seals the hole shut.
Manual transmission vehicles have flywheels, while automatic transmission cars use flex plates. A flywheel is a heavy metal disk attached to the crankshaft. It stores and releases energy quickly to help start your engine, keep it running smoothly by controlling vibrations, and helps stabilize balance. By keeping your engine running nice and smooth, it limits wear and tear on other parts of your driveline.
When your engine is running, there are a lot of combustions going on. That’s why your connecting rod was designed to be strong enough to handle stress caused by the combustion and piston movements. The small end of the rod connects to the piston and is held in place with a piston pin. The other end of the connecting rod is attached to the crankpin journal. These rods convert the up and down motions of the pistons into a rotational motion to help move the crankpin journal.
Your camshaft drive belt is also called a timing belt. This notched belt drives the camshaft from a sprocket on the end of the crankshaft. This makes the camshaft rotate at half the engine speed to time the piston’s motion. If the belt ever snaps, falls off or is damaged, your engine will stop working immediately.
Your crankshaft converts the vertical movement of your pistons into a rotational motion through the flywheel. The steel shafts also hold counterweights to help your engine move smoothly. The camshaft and crankshaft work together with the other engine components to keep your engine running at maximum efficiency without excess shaking, vibrating, wobbling or unnecessary motion.
The sump is a metal oil pan under your engine. It’s designed to collect all the engine oil that isn’t able to circulate through your engine. There’s a tube that sucks the oil into the engine when it’s running and returns whatever is unused after the engine has been shut off. While it may seem like the sump is a simple container, it actually serves another purpose.
When your car is in motion, airflow cools the pan, which in turn cools the oil within it. Some cars have cooling fins to help increase the sump’s surface area to cool oil faster, but ultimately, the sump’s second purpose is to help get that hot oil nice and cool.
Since there are so many components in your engine, you may experience unsettling signs that something is wrong. But not all engine problems are extremely expensive fixes, sometimes it’s just a simple belt replacement or you just need to provide more lubricating oil. Here are a few signs to look for that indicate something is wrong with one of your engine parts.
- Check Engine light appears on dash
- Loud sounds from under hood
- Vehicle doesn’t always start or hesitates after idling
- Unusual rattling or vibrations
- Drop in performance
If any of these symptoms appear, call 12th Street Auto Care Center right away. One of our certified technicians will check under the hood and take care of your problem. If you wait too long to have your engine checked, and continue to drive your vehicle, it may lead to more costly repairs, so always call 12th Street Auto Care Center the same day you notice something is wrong.
Napa Service Assistant
You don’t have to be an expert to know that preventive maintenance is the best way to make sure your vehicle is running properly. Use our interactive vehicle tool to learn about the maintenance and services your NAPA AutoCare Center can provide.