Modern engine systems literally drive much of the world forward. The engines we are familiar with are a result of innovation and refinement over a long period of time. All the way back in 1698, British inventor Thomas Savery patented a machine designed to draw water from flooded mines using the pressure of steam. Using the same technology, steam engines were soon after introduced to the world. A steam engine is a thermal engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The pressure of steam pushes a piston back and forth inside a cylinder and is ultimately converted into a rotational force that can move large objects. 

Drawing upon similar principles of physics, the first internal gasoline combustion engine was patented by Karl Benz in 1879, bringing automobiles to the masses. Today, more than 250 million highway transportation vehicles in the United States rely on such engines. But how exactly do combustion engines work? What other types of engines do we see today? Here are some insights from your auto repair experts at Master Muffler.

Internal Combustion Engines

Combustion means to burn, therefore, the driving force of these engines is spark and flame. Without getting into the complexities of different strokes, the basics are as follows: 

  • Fuel and air are pulled into a cylinder, the power units of the engine. Most cars have either four, six or eight cylinders.
  • A piston within the cylinder moves upward compressing the fuel-air mixture creating pressure and heat.
  • Spark plugs then create a spark that ignites the fuel-air mixture. This ignition causes a small explosion within the closed cylinder.
  • The pressure from this explosion and the gasses created, push the piston downward
  • Once the pressure is reduced, the piston moves back up and pushes exhaust gasses out of the cylinder through a valve
  • The piston moves back into place and the process repeat. The collective energy created within each cylinder causes the vehicle to move.

Though the science is relatively simple, engines are complex systems that require maintenance and care. Whether you are driving a diesel combustion engine or a gasoline combustion engine, the maintenance requirements are much the same. If you suspect you may have engine problems in your vehicle, bring your car into your nearest Master Muffler and we’ll check it out.

Electric Engines

We often think that electric vehicles came long after combustion engines, but that actually isn’t the case. The first crude electric vehicle was invented before the first gasoline-powered car in 1832. However, due to technology at the time, these machines were not powerful enough to yield nearly as much output as combustion engines. It wasn’t until the world became aware of the environmental implications of combustion engines that the technology really began to advance. 

Electric engines are fairly simple. They use, you guessed it, electricity to power a small motor that turns the wheels and propels the car forward. Due to vast strides in technology, electric cars have reached a point of incredible performance and efficiency, able to be charged in your garage. Today, there are millions of electric cars on the road.

Hybrid Engines

The first hybrid engine was invented in the late 1990s by Austrian engineer, Ferdinand Porsche. Sound familiar? This engine took the power of a combustion engine and an electric engine and combined them. The result was a system that used less gas while still running efficiently. When driving a vehicle with a hybrid engine at times the engine is powered fully by electricity, sometimes by gasoline alone, and sometimes by both. The two components work in tandem to move your car forward.

Now that you know a little more about car engines, perhaps you’ll have a bit more appreciation for your car. It’s a remarkable machine. As auto repair experts in Utah and Idaho, we are here to help make sure your vehicle keeps you safe and on the road for as long as possible. If you are in need of auto care, come pay us a visit at Master Muffler.