How Do Gasoline Cars Work? What Those With Auto Careers Should Know

As the substance that fuels engines, cars literally cannot run properly without gasoline. Cars that run on gasoline not only use an internal combustion engine, but one ignited by sparks from a spark plug rather than compression — which is more often found in diesel-fuelled vehicles. 

However, the process of gasoline cars involves far more than just this, and its various steps are worth knowing for any auto professional. So, what really happens when gasoline enters a vehicle?

Here’s what you need to know about gasoline cars, and how they work.

How Gasoline is Injected, and How its Combustion System is Ignited

With gasoline-powered vehicles, an air/fuel mixture goes into the combustion chamber, after which a spark plug ignites it. It is then introduced to the chamber through a fuel injection system. 

In fact, there are many different areas of the car that fuel travels through before that. These include the tank (where gasoline is stored), fuel pump (which pumps fuel into the injection system), fuel line (which takes the fuel from the pump and delivers it to the system), and fuel filler (the nozzle which helps fill the fuel tank). 

First, the fuel is injected directly into the tank, before the pump brings it into the fuel line. The gas subsequently goes through a fuel filter to prevent clogging by removing waste, before fuel injectors — which combine air with fuel — deliver it into pistons.

Fuel injectors are where air mixes with fuel

After the Fueling is Done, Which Parts are Next in the Process?

Anyone pursuing auto careers should also understand that gasoline also goes through a four-stroke cycle process within the engine. This part of the process begins with the intake stroke, which is where fuel and air combine. This is when the intake valves open, as the combination goes into the cylinder. 

After the piston descends within the cylinder, the compression stroke happens when the piston re-ascends. The air/fuel mixture then becomes compressed, which is ignited by the spark plug during the power stroke phase, eliciting combustion. 

The exhaust valves open during the exhaust stroke, which pushes the combustion gases out as the piston is descending. These gases go through exhaust pipes and are then converted into substances like nitrogen and carbon dioxide, before finally being released into the atmosphere.

What Auto Mechanic Training Students Should Know About Octane Ratings

With most cars, there will be four levels of octane ratings when you choose the type of gas to fuel up with: 87 (a “regular” octane level), 89, 91, and 93 (typically known as premium), with 87 being the most commonly recommended level. These ratings represent the fuel’s resistance to pressure reactions such as knocking, and how likely it is to spontaneously combust when enough pressure creates heat. 

This is important for automotive school students to know, because different types of vehicles work best with different octane ratings. You will need a high-performance engine to be able to have a 91 or 93 octane level, as it won’t improve the longevity or performance of other vehicle engines.

Different cars work best with different octane ratings

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