Cars moving foward

What makes your car move forward?

When you do it long enough, driving almost becomes second nature - but most of us know very little about how our cars work. The whole process is a tad too complicated for a single blog post, so I figured I’d start with the very basics – what makes the wheels go round?

In a nut shell, there’s a series of mini explosions going on inside your engine. These mini explosions happen inside a cylinder and create a downward force that pushes on what’s called a piston. Think of a piston like a bike pedal – when you push down on the pedal with your foot, the wheels turn and the bike moves forward; when mini explosions push down on the piston, the wheels turn and the car moves forward. If you want to move faster on your bike, you have to pedal harder. When you’re driving, there’s a ton of mini explosions happening every second – the faster you want to drive, the faster your pistons need to move up and down, meaning the mini explosions will have to happen even faster.

So what’s causing these mini explosions? That weird-smelling stuff that cripples your bank account every few hundred miles – gasoline! The highly flammable nature of gasoline makes it perfect for engines and Hollywood action films (I think Transformers is a movie about explosions, I could be wrong though). Most common cars have 4 cylinders (in each cylinder is one piston) but more powerful cars have 6 cylinders, 8 cylinders, and more. That’s where those often-heard terms ‘V6’ and ‘V8’ come from – they’re referencing how many cylinders are in the car’s engine.

So, next time you’re driving to the mall to buy a last minute birthday gift for your loved one because that thing you tried to make didn’t turn out like the picture AT ALL…..think of your pistons moving up and down pedaling your car forward.

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