Automotive Information Flash Card Set 452843

Cards 10
Topics Actuators, Air-Fuel Mixture, Combustion Chamber, Crankshaft, Ignition Coil, Ignition Timing, Power Stroke, Radiator, Sensors, Transmission

Study Guide


Actuators receive signals from the powertrain control module and carry out adjustments needed based on the data the PCM received from the sensors.

Air-Fuel Mixture

The stoichiometric ratio defines the proper ratio of air to fuel necessary so that an engine burns all fuel with no excess air. For gasoline fuel, the stoichiometric ratio is about 14.7:1 or for every one gram of fuel, 14.7 grams of air are required. Too much air results in a lean air-fuel mixture that burns more slowly and hotter while too much fuel results in a rich mixture that burns quicker and cooler.

Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is located in the cylinder head and contains the combustion of the air-fuel mixture. This mixture is delivered by an intake valve and the waste gases from combustion are removed from the combustion chamber by the exhaust valve.


The crankshaft converts the reciprocating motion of the piston into the rotational motion that's used to power the vehicle and its components.

Ignition Coil

The ignition coil is a high-voltage transformer made up of two coils of wire. The primary coil winding is the low-voltage winding and has relatively few turns of heavy wire. The secondary coil winding is the high-voltage winding that surrounds the primary and is made up of thousands of turns of fine wire. Current flows from the battery through the primary coil winding which creates a changing magnetic field inside the secondary coil. This induces a very high-voltage current in the secondary coil which it feeds to the distributor.

Ignition Timing

Ignition timing defines the point in time at the end of the compression stroke that the spark plug fires. Measured in number of degrees before top dead center (BTDC), the exact point that the spark plugs initiate combustion varies depending on the speed of the engine. The timing is advanced (the spark plugs fire a few more degrees BTDC) when the engine is running faster and retarded when it's running slower.

Power Stroke

During the power stroke, just before the piston reaches top dead center, the spark plug fires and ignites the compressed air-fuel mixture. The resulting expansion due to combustion pushes the piston back down the cylinder toward bottom dead center.


The radiator is responsible for tranferring heat from the coolant to the outside air. Radiator hoses transfer coolant to and from the engine to the radiator and a radiator cap maintains pressure in the cooling system to increase the boiling point of the coolant mixture and thus allow it to absorb more heat.


Sensors provide the data necessary for the vehicle's computer to make decisions and monitor everything from simple vehicle information like tire pressure to complexities like the chemical content of an engine's exhaust.


The transmission provides the appropriate power to vehicle wheels to maintain a given speed. The engine and the transmission have to be disconnected to shift gears and a manual transmission requires the driver to manually manage this disconnection (using a clutch) and to manually shift gears. An automatic transmission is essentially an automatic gear shifter and handles this process without driver input.