Beginners guide to engine terms

Autos & TrucksRepairs

  • Author Tony Richard
  • Published September 6, 2020
  • Word count 615

Metal spraying and refurbishment

Damaged metal doesn’t always result in the need to buy a whole new engine. With modern technology, even hopeless pieces can become revived and as good as new. Not only can the metal look revolutionised, but it’s working order can be dramatically improved.

Engine parts

You may need new parts because your old ones just aren’t doing the job anymore. Or you want to refurbish a specific engine for a different purpose or vehicle. Either way, engine parts can be altered to essentially create a whole new engine, as a whole. That is, you kept older parts and added new parts, which make for a different engine.

There’s no need to worry about the expense of purchasing a whole new engine, when you can rejig your current engine.

Piston rings

If you’re new to the engine game, you may be wondering what a piston ring actually is. Well, a piston ring is essentially a split ring made of metal which is designed to assist with a number of functions. These include sealing the combustion chamber, balancing the amount of oil between the cylinder and piston, improving heat transfer as well as regulating the engine oil.

Each piston ring is specialised for different purposes and similar to most products, there are different levels of quality available.

Cylinder blocks

As the name suggests, a cylinder block holds the cylinder as well as coolant passages and cylinder sleeves.

The purpose of the cylinder is to allow a space through which the piston can travel. The piston moves towards the energy created by the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

With air-cooled engines, cylinder walls are exposed to airflow, so that the engine can be cooled, and not overheat.

As you can see, each engine part has crucial elements needed to be in working order for the engine to work efficiently.


A crankshaft probably sounds like an unfamiliar territory. It is, in simple terms, a moving part of the internal combustion engine, otherwise known as the ICE.

Primarily, its function is to ensure the piston moves in a rotational direction as opposed to linear. Connecting rods are what join the crankshaft to the piston.

The crankshaft wears down over a period of time, and when the space between the crank and the bearings isn’t quite up to scratch, oil pressure will decrease and lubricity lessens. Fortunately, your local diesel reconditioning specialists can grind it down for you.

Chemical cleaning

Another back-to-basics element of engines is the need for chemical cleaning. To sum it up, oil moves around within the engine - pair this with the existence of heat and you’ve got yourself a build up of carbon deposit. This deposit can affect the flow of oil inside the engine. So, the best way to diminish this is by cleaning the engine, and experts advise chemical cleaning for this.

Engine crack testing

While this may seem dodgy at first, crack testing is simply testing undertaken to check if any parts have cracks. When engine parts crack, it has flow on negative effects. For instance, when an engine block cracks, you’ll consequently have low engine compression and then a lock of combustion pressure. The negative impacts are a poorly performing engine, and a rough idle, which may need to be replaced.

Now you know general engine terms and purposes, we’d recommend you learn signs of faulty parts.

From there, if something doesn't seem right with your engine, it’s not your job to instantly know what’s wrong and how to fix it. Diesel reconditioning specialists can check your engine and establish the next steps.

Tony likes to write about machinery, diesel engine and DIY tips. Learn more about diesel engine here

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