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How does an engine work?

An internal combustion engine uses heat energy from burning fuel, and converts it into mechanical energy. Gasoline powered engines compress a fuel/air mixture within the engine cylinder and then ignites it. The burning of the mixture increases the cylinder pressure, which causes the piston within the cylinder to move. The piston moves the crankshaft, and through several interfaces, causes wheels on a vehicle to move.

What could be wrong with my engine?

Since so many different things can go wrong with an engine, it?s best to isolate the basic source of the problem first. Is it a fuel/air intake problem, ignition problem, or bad spark plugs? Using a decision-tree method through each system and subsystem may help to pinpoint the problem.

What are my options?

Unless the problem is easy to diagnose and repair, the vehicle will probably need to be taken to a local dealer or repair shop. There are numerous automotive websites that advertise auto repair services, and some offer mobile services. Other sites offer free DIY troubleshooting tips and repair instructions, while others sell service manuals and how-to books.


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