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Car & Truck Pistons, Rings, Rods, & Parts

Present-day cars are very advanced machines, but they still work the same way as the cars of the early 20th century. They are powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) which drive the wheels. Car and truck pistons, rings, rods, and other parts are internal engine parts which are necessary for the engine to make power.

How do engines create power?

A cylinder is a basic component of an engine’s power creation. A piston, with the help of piston rings and connecting rods, moves up and down in the cylinder during the combustion cycle to create compression necessary to ignite the fuel. First, the piston moves down to allow for intake of air and fuel into the cylinder. Then, with the valves closed, the piston moves up in the compression stroke. Next, gasoline or diesel is ignited by the spark plug firing in the power stroke, and the piston moves down. Finally, the resulting exhaust gases are pushed out by the piston moving back up in the cylinder with the exhaust valves open. This cycle is repeated over and over many times a minute to create the power necessary to drive the car’s wheels.

What do all these internal engine parts do?

An engine is a complex machine with a large number of moving components. However, each one is essential, each one performs its functions, and they all fit to make the engine work. Here are the functions of each of these engine components:

  • Cylinder: A cylinder is the main working module of a reciprocating engine. The entire combustion cycle happens in the cylinder.
  • Piston: A piston is the main actor inside the cylinder. The downward movement of the piston creates the suction needed for the intake of air and fuel, the compression needed to ignite the fuel, the resulting the power cycle movement of the crank, and the action needed to expel the gases in the exhaust stroke.
  • Piston Rings: A piston ring is a split ring that seals the piston to the cylinder bore and allows for the pressure conditions necessary for all the stages of the combustion cycle. In an ICE engine, each piston has more than one piston ring to allow for better sealing, heat transfer, distribution of engine oil on the bore wall, and retention of engine oil in the crankcase.
  • Rods: A connecting rod is a shaft which attaches the piston to the crankshaft allowing for the transfer of reciprocating motion of the piston to the rotating motion of the crankshaft.
  • Crankshaft: A crank is a spinning shaft which does the work of converting the reciprocating motion of the piston, via the connecting rod, into rotational motion. The crank outputs engine power to the transmission.