Whether you’re a car enthusiast or someone who goes to a mechanic to put air in your tires, you probably know that the engine is the heart of your car. Turning the gas that you pump into your car into power, the engine acts like your body when you eat food and it turns it into energy. You don’t necessarily need to know the ins and outs of how your engine works, but when you bring your car into a repair shop and the mechanic starts talking about fuel injectors and intake manifolds, it helps to understand the basics.

At Clarke’s European auto repair shop, located in Vancouver, WA, we pride ourselves on customer service that goes above and beyond. If you bring in your Audi, BMW, Volvo, Mercedes, or Volvo for engine repair, replacement, valve work, or engine leaks, we will help you understand exactly what is going on with your vehicle.

Basics of How an Engine Works

First, when you press the gas pedal, air enters into the engine through a throttle plate. The air then travels through the intake manifold on to each cylinder. This is where the gas comes into play. Fuel is added to the air stream by the fuel injection system.

Within the cylinders of the engine, the compression process takes places.

  • An intake valve opens allowing a fuel/air mixture into the cylinder.
  • A piston inside of each cylinder is moving up and down.
  • The combination of the piston moving up and compressing the air/fuel mixture and a spark plug igniting the mixture creates an expansion of vapor.
  • This push of vapor forces the piston to move down inside the cylinder and causes the crankshaft to turn, which allows the vehicle to move.
  • The compressed gas is then let out through the exhaust valve.
  • The head gasket and internal gaskets work to support the intake and exhaust manifold, water pumps, keeps debris from entering the engine, and maintains consistent inner pressure.

This complex system of moving parts including pistons, valves, and camshafts is essential in keeping your European car healthy. To prevent problems from occurring, here are some maintenance tips to follow.

  • Change the oil regularly. This is one of the most important things you can do for your engine and the moving parts. Oil helps to keep the moving parts lubricated and protects them from overheating. Without oil, or going too long without changing it could lead to serious and permanent damage to the engine.
  • Protect the cooling system, including the radiator, thermostat, water pump, and coolant. You can easily check the level of the coolant fluid by lifting up the hood and looking for a clear tank with green or orange liquid in it.
  • Watch our for oil leaks. You can either smell oil or antifreeze or look under the car to make sure there aren’t any puddles left on the pavement.
  • Change spark plugs and wires. Most manufacturers recommend that the spark plugs and wires are changed every 30,000 miles. This simple procedure will help keep your engine firing and even keep your gas mileage up.

Schedule a consultation or an appointment today at Clarke’s European auto repair shop if you are experiencing engine difficulties or have any questions.