16 Different Types of Car Engines

Different Types of Car Engines
Photo by paulbr75

The engine is like the central processing unit of the vehicle. Due to their primary role in the car’s operational mechanism, these are regarded as the most expensive part of it.

This article details about different types of car engines available nowadays. These all vary based on their operation, design strokes, and cylinders, all of which have their own unique features.

Let’s explore these different types of car engines;

5 Design – Based Engines

1. Reciprocating Engines

A reciprocating engine is one of the different types of car engines that converts pressure into rotation by using a piston and cylinder.

The most common type of car engine is a reciprocating engine, which drives the axle and pistons inside cylinders utilizing the force of gas explosions. Adding extra pistons will increase your engine’s power.

2. HCCI Engine

A more effective hybrid engine that improves fuel efficiency while reducing hazardous emissions is the homogeneous charge compression engine (HCCI).

It includes components from both gasoline-powered and diesel engines. The drawback of these engines is that only prototypes are likely to be visible.

3. Wankel Engine

Comparatively speaking, a Wankel engine is smaller than a reciprocating engine. Many people refer to them as rotary engines because they rely on a circular motion rather than the pistons’ up-and-down action, making them work more smoothly. 

Although it frequently produces more power pulses per revolution than the reciprocating engine, which means it will consume more gasoline, the greater power makes it a favorite in racing cars.

The Wankel engine’s disadvantage is that it uses more fuel, making regular cars less likely to use it.

4. Hybrid Engine

A hybrid engine is also one of the different types of car engines that combines an electric motor with a conventional gasoline engine.

It is incredibly well-liked because it doesn’t need to be charged, considerably lowers air pollution, and offers sufficient power to get you where you need to go.

The trend toward hybrid engines in more recent car models is expected to last several years.

These engines have the disadvantage of frequently costing more than traditional gasoline versions because they still represent relatively new automotive technology.

5. Electric Engine

Electric motors are making people more concerned about the environment. These vehicles are more effective and do not produce the harmful greenhouse gases that fossil fuels do.

The drawback with these engines is that there aren’t many locations to charge them, and they’re still rather pricey. Another issue with the environment is dead batteries.

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3 Stroke – Based Engines

6. Two-Stroke Engine

In a two-stroke engine, a piston makes two strokes during a power cycle—one up and one down inside the cylinder—to produce one crankshaft rotation per unit of fuel burned.

A combustible stroke’s end and the compression stroke’s start are simultaneous events in this type of engine. In contrast to a four-stroke engine, the two-stroke engine has a high torque.

A two-stroke engine is one of the different types of car engines that have a straightforward design and were used in a few automobiles in the 1960s, including the Sonnett II.

Four-stroke engines are used in modern non-electric vehicles. Now, the two-stroke engine is generally used in lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other related devices.

There is a drawback to this engine in that it burns fuel and oil simultaneously, resulting in high emissions.

7. Four-Stroke Engine

One crankshaft revolution in a four-stroke engine requires four distinct piston strokes. A combustion chamber receives an air-fuel mixture from the intake stroke.

The power stroke compresses the mix to increase the energy released when the air-fuel mixture ignites. 

A spark plug ignites the mixture during the power stroke, pushing the piston out from the cylinder head and generating the power required to drive the vehicle. 

During the exhaust stroke, the fumes from the ignition are released. There is no oil burn, and there are fewer emissions because this sort of engine employs a separate system for lubrication. It’s the most popular engine used in cars because it’s better for the environment.

The drawback of four-stroke engines is that they are significantly bigger and heavier than two-stroke engines and do not produce as much power.

8. Six-Stroke Engine

It builds on the four-stroke concept to improve efficiency and lower emissions by adding two more strokes. It produces less heat, less noise, and fewer pollutants in the atmosphere while using less gas.

The six-stroke engine’s drawback is that it’s still in the development phase and not yet widely used in vehicles.

Number of Cylinders in Engines

9. Single Cylinder

There are different types of car engines, including single-cylinder and multi-cylinder engines. Many individuals base their engine choice on the number of cylinders it has. Only one cylinder is connected to the crankshaft in single-cylinder engines. 

Though they are lightweight, fuel-efficient, and compact, current cars only sometimes employ them. They frequently ride go-karts, dirt bikes, and motorbikes, among other compact vehicles.

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The single-cylinder engine’s drawback is that it cannot propel a massive vehicle hauling passengers.

10. Multi-Cylinder

Your typical gasoline- or diesel-powered car is a multi-cylinder car. With more cylinders, the engine will produce more power.

Eight-cylinder engines were widely used before we learned about gasoline engines’ environmental impact.

To reduce emissions, modern cars have reduced their cylinder count from eight to six or four. In spite of numerous technological advancements, these engines still emit a lot of harmful greenhouse gases.

Considering the Cylinder Arrangement

11. Inline Engine Cylinder

What does that mean if someone refers to an engine as inline? Well, it’s simply how the cylinders are aligned or shaped.

The cylinders of inline engines are positioned in a straight line, one after the other, together with the crankshaft’s length.

The inline-four engine comes in three variations and is the most widely used in the automobile sector because it is small, fuel-efficient, and provides a higher power-to-weight ratio than flat-six or eight engines.

The disadvantage is that aligning all the cylinders in a straight line will significantly lengthen it.

12. V Engine Cylinder

Today’s high-performance cars include the V-engine, a widespread engine configuration. When looking at the engine from the front, the arrangement of the cylinder banks—the space in which the pistons move—represents a V.

The ability to fit more cylinders in a smaller space distinguishes this arrangement from other engine designs. i.e., more power without sacrificing the car’s aesthetic appeal.

A straight engine is less susceptible to vibrations than a V Engine, and since they are built more intricately, they cost more to fix.

But more power is produced because each piston completes its power stroke more quickly in this layout.

V-engines are one of the different types of car engines and are popular with many manufacturers of high-performance vehicles, including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Mercedes-Benz, due to their smaller size and higher power output.

13. OPOC Engine

A unique feature of an OPOC engine is that it has two cylinders with pistons at either end. Without a cylinder head, there are no valves.

The opposed-cylinder, the opposed-piston engine has minimal bearing loads compared to conventional engines, which means less friction.

Additionally, it offers an excellent power-to-weight ratio due to its relatively compact size. The drawback of these engines is that they are relatively expensive.

14. W Engine

Anzani’s three-bank engine, the prototype for the W engine, was created in 1909 to power the Blériot XI across the English Channel.

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But Volkswagen was the company to put this engine into its first commercial application in the vehicle sector. 

Moreover, W-shaped engines are among the different types of car engines and are mostly found in the Bugatti Veyron.

The following are the three distinct configurations for the W-shaped engine:

  • Three cylinder banks share a single crankshaft in the first layout. It is frequently known as the broad arrow configuration because it is similar to the British wide arrow property mark.
  • The second is a four-bank cylinder engine with a shared crankshaft. This engine is sometimes called a “double-V.”
  • The third and final configuration includes an engine with two crankshafts and two banks of cylinders.

According to the Ignition Methods

15. Compression-Ignition Method

Compression ignition engines ignite gases or air at high temperatures through adiabatic compression, which increases combustion efficiency.

An ideal example of a compression ignition engine is a diesel engine, which operates by compressing air.

An internal combustion engine that runs on diesel fuel has many benefits over other types. Among them are improved thermodynamic efficiency and a lower parasitic load on the engine.

16. Spark Ignition Method

The most typical kind of ignition in passenger cars is spark ignition. In the four-stroke engine’s power cycle, spark plugs are used to generate a spark that ignites the fuel, which allows gasoline to be used. 

All petrol engines operate on the fundamental principle of spark ignition, in which a spark plug initiates the combustion of the air-fuel mixture.

Even though they are frequently referred to as “petrol engines,” spark-ignition engines can also work on autogas (LPG), methanol, bioethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, and nitromethane.

The drawback of the spark ignition approach is that you need a specific instrument to calibrate the plugs and ensure the spark is the proper size. The plugs require replacement every few years due to wear and tear.

Wrapping Up!

These different types of car engines are used in varying vehicles based on their power requirement. Some are ideal for commuting cars, while others fit well in crazy sports cars.

Other than electric vehicles, four-cylinder engines give you the highest gas mileage and emit the fewest pollutants. 

Still, if you need to tow trailers or have a big family to transport, you might want something with more power. Find the car with your desired engine type and enjoy a seamless journey for an extended period.

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