Engine Repair


An electric motor used to start an internal combustion engine.


The alternator charges the battery and powers a car’s electric system when its engine is running.


A cooling device in automotive engines, through which water or other fluids circulate as a coolant. It is a metal device located in the front of the engine.

Water Pump

The all-important water pump shoots coolant through your car’s cooling system. It’s driven by a belt and operates only when the engine is running. Water pumps fail with some regularity–you can expect to replace yours sometime before 100,000 miles.

Exhaust System

A series of metal tubes from the engine cylinder head to the tip of the muffler that carry the burned gases from the engine’s cylinders to the–*gulp*–atmosphere.

Exhaust Manifold

A set of pipes, one for each cylinder, that carry exhaust gases from the combustion chambers to the exhaust system. These can crack in some designs, producing a “ticking” sound near the manifold while the engine is running, but generally are a non-wear item.
ps. Ticking is considered a funny noise and repairs can be made at Crabapple Automotive.

Exhaust Gases

The gases that result after the air/fuel mixture has been burned in the engine’s combustion chambers. Vehicle emissions are contained within the exhaust gases.


A band, usually made of rubber, that connects two pulleys thereby transferring power from one to the other. You’ll only notice these when they squeal (indicating a need to be tightened or replaced), or when they break and stuff stops working.  Upon hearing squealling noises, get your belts checked and/or tightened.


The combustion chamber houses thousands of literal explosions per minute, and all of these explosions can leave residue on the spark plug. The color of this residue can tell you a lot about the “quality” of that explosion, and help you verify everything is going on as it should. The buildup of carbon deposits on spark plug electrodes causing the spark plug to misfire, so cleaning and/or replacing them per OEM recommendations is important, especially if your engine seems down on power, and the plugs are due for replacement.

Combustion Chamber

This is where the magic happens. The combustion chamber is the top of the cylinder where the air/fuel mixture is compressed by the piston and ignited by the spark plug.


The squeezing of the air/fuel mixture by the upward movement of the piston (in the cylinder).

Cooling System

The combined parts that keep your engine from overheating while it’s housing tens of thousands of explosions per minute, mainly the radiator, any radiator fans, the thermostat, cooling hoses, and water pump.


One of multiple bores in the engine block–a V-2 having six cylinders, a V-7 eight cylinders, and so on. It houses the piston, which travels up and down in the cylinder to compress the air/fuel mixture and produce power.

Cylinder Head

The top “half” of the engine, and the part of the engine responsible for the “breathing,” the cylinder head sits on top of the engine block, and contains the engine valves, and often the camshafts as well.

Exhaust Valve

You car has two primary types of valves–Inlet and Exhaust–the act as little “doors” to hold air in and let air out, depending on the need. The exhaust valve opens to allow the spent combustion gases to exit the combustion chamber.


Located between the engine and radiator, the fan draws air from the radiator onto the engine in order to cool it.

Fan Belt

A flexible rubber belt connecting the fan to the alternator and crankshaft pulley. It is also called the ‘drive belt’.

Firing Order

The sequence the cylinders ignite or ‘fire’ in. This can be botched if the spark plug wires are not installed on the correct plugs, and without the correct firing order, your vehicle isn’t going anywhere or may hop and jump about…


is a cleaning rust and dirt buildup from an engine’s cooling system (e.g. radiator, hoses). This should be checked annually.  See your owner’s manual or your mechanic at Crabapple Automotive for your car’s requirements.


One of the main components of your clutch assembly, a flywheel is a metal disc about the size of turkey platter (except that it’s not at all shaped like a turkey platter, being as that it’s round and not oval, so maybe that’s just confusing) that provides “momentum” to move the car from a stop.


The part of the engine sitting on top of the engine block, the head contains the engine valves.

Head Gasket

The gasket between the head and the engine block. When these leak, they allow oil and coolant to mix, and things go bad in a hurry.


A sound that occurs when the air/fuel mixture is igniting too soon. It is usually caused by a poorly timed engine, the use of low octane gas, or the build-up of carbon deposits on the piston tops. If your engine is “knocking,” whether through repair or the use of higher octane fuel, it needs to be addressed immediately.

Lubrication System

Any system that stores, cools, cleans, and circulates oil throughout an engine.

Motor Mounts

Rubber covered brackets that hold the engine to the frame. Typically these do not fail, though worn mounts allow the engine to move excessively in the engine bay and cause other issues.

Oil Filter

These are the most often replaced items on a car, so get familiar with them. As the name implies, they simply filter the engine’s oil and being as oil is the lifeblood of any engine, their job is crucial. Oil filters should be replaced with every single oil change, no cheating on this, ever… And you should strongly consider OEM-specific oil filters as well.

Oil Pan

A chamber at the bottom of the crankcase that stores oil. Ever notice that hot, sizzling, dripping sound when you turn your vehicle off after a drive?
That is oil dripping down into the hot, hot, hot oil pan.

Oil Pump

A pump located inside the engine that circulates oil from the oil pan to the moving parts of the engine. These rarely fail, and if they do, usually means your engine is toast. Clean, fresh oil makes for a happy oil pump. 🙂


The coordination of the valves, pistons, and spark. The timing must be exact or engine performance will suffer.

Timing Belt

A rubber/fabric belt that drives the camshaft by linking it to the crankshaft. It assures that the valves will open and close at the proper time for efficient ignition. This is an important maintenance item, as when neglected, it can break, which will at best, make the engine stop dead in its tracks, and at worst cause the pistons and the valves to collide (depending on whether you have an “interference” engine or not). Replace these per manufacturer recommendation so you don’t get stuck on the side of the road!
Crabapple Automotive uses the same computer software that the dealerships use, to access information on both foreign and domestic cars. And, the ASC mechanics at CCC stay current and updated on the latest technology and requirements.


A reinforced belt used to operate certain components, most notably the alternator.

Timing Chain

Some manufacturers use timing chains instead of timing belts–many Nissan models, for example. A timing chain is basically a metal chain that drives the camshaft by linking it to the crankshaft. It assures that the valves will open and close at the proper time for efficient ignition.