Understanding Types of Automobile Engines

Understanding types of automobile engines: 

Being an automobile enthusiast we all have a great interest in this field of engineering which is better is known as the automobile engineering. But the most important thing I will focus here is the different types of automobile engines..

Often when it comes to buying cars we get  confused with the engine types . Mainly car engines are described based on two attributes:

1) Engine layouts

2) Cylinder configurations

Engine Layouts & Cylinder configuration:

Engine layout is the engine placement  in which place of the vehicle the engine is placed inside mostly engine are placed front providing effective cooling to the engine and offers it to run efficiently and on the other hand cylinder configuration is the arrangement of cylinders on the crankshaft.

Commonly found engine layouts in today’s car are mainly;

  • Straight or inline engine.
  • Boxer engine
  • Rotary engine
  • V type engine
  • VR and W engine

 Straight or inline engine:

Talking  about the the inline or straight engine  these are the most common type of engine. Mainly in this type of engine cylinders are arranged in a straight line above crankshaft. The common thing about the inline engine is all most all of it has four cylinders. Straight or inline engine layout system is beneficial for reducing mechanical complexity ( mechanical complexity is related to designing ) having simplicity in it’s easier to maintain and also it fits easily in any engine bay ( space inside the vehicle for engine ). Another important fact had to come up with one cylinder head is that there are few moving parts than engines with multiple cylinder heads. As a result sparkplug job and valve train access task gets easier. But to talk regarding difficulties is that it will rarely exceed 2.5-3 litres. besides high centered gravity ( the center of any vehicle is the point that adds up the vehicle’s mass at one central point) more than that it requires balancing shafts to cancel vibration.

Boxer Engine:

Because of the contribution in handling and stability it’s safe. It’s a special type of flat engine in which cylinders split into two even banks around the central crankshaft. The engine is balanced as a result it doesn’t require expensive and complicated balancers. Having horizontal arrangement it gives a low center of gravity which results in improved power transmission. Because of the spread out design the power delivery is smooth more than that it gets quickly cooled by simple air cooling.

In case of the disadvantages the spread out design can make maintenance  difficult besides often cylinder heads are pushed up against the walls of the engine bay moreover it don’t fit well into typical engine bays.

Rotary engine:

This engine might look complicated but doesn’t have many parts like piston engines. Let’s have a little description about it’s components;

  • Rotor: Three-sided components with concave sides in it spins on a couple of gears which are attached to a shaft at the center of the housing.
  • Housing: It’s main body where it’s oval shape is designed to maximize the displacement of the engine which allows the rotor to spin around it’s edges.

The actions of the rotary engine are smooth which leads to smoother and refined feel around the road. Counterweights on the outside of rotary housing are designed to dampen vibration and contribute to smooth performance. As it have fewer parts than conventional engine it improves reliability and maintenance more affordable. Moreover rotary engines are slower with a single movement in one direction which means that

their parts are under less strain and improve long term reliability.


Now regarding the disadvantages:

  •  low compression ratio ( The compression ratio is the ratio of the volume of the cylinder and its head space ) & significant amount of unburnt fuel that exist at the end of the combustion cycle make poor fuel economy and emissions.
  •  These engines have the problems with oil leakage as a result frequent maintenance is required. The engine structure although looks simple but many people don’t know how to work on the engine as a result of simple engine breakdown it requires to be taken to the specialist.

V-type engine:

These type of engine are compact and light weight when compared to inline engines incase of increasing number of cylinders. This type of engines are arranged in V- structure over the crankshaft. V-type engines allows to fit into a wide variety of vehicles where space is an issue for example motorcycle. But difficulties with this type of engine is that if the cylinder are not correctly aligned the engine becomes imbalanced which leads to mechanical stress and vibration.

 VR & W engines: 

This type of  engines are typically used in high-performance or heavy-duty vehicles which were developed by the Volkswagen. It uses similar principles like V-type engines but the distance between the two rows of cylinder are very narrow as a result they can be squeezed together in one block. The W configuration joins two banks of VR engine at their base.

The advantages and disadvantages of this type engine are infact similar to the V-type engines.



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