Engine Block: Function, Components, and Price

The engine block is a vital part of any combustion vehicle, playing a crucial role in its operations.

The robust component houses several vital parts that harmoniously convert combustion energy into motion.

From cylinders to pistons and a crankshaft to an engine head, each element plays a specific role in engine mechanics.

Keep reading to explore the essential role played by the engine block as well as its key components.


What are an Engine’s Core Components?

All engines are divided into 3 fixed parts:

  1. Cylinder head: where the valves, camshaft, combustion chamber and spark plugs are located;
  2. Engine block: which houses the cylinders and is where the combustible air mixture is pumped into, compressed, and burned;
  3. Engine crankcase: which sits on the underside of the engine and stores the engine oil.


What is the Engine Block?

Also known as a cylinder block, this is the central component of a car’s engine, which supports all other engine components.

That is why, if there are any anomalies in this element, the engine will only work sometimes or may even stop working.


What is the Role Played by the Engine Block?

The engine block performs several essential functions in internal combustion engine operations, the main of which are:

  • Providing mechanical support to all internal components;
  • Efficiently dissipating heat, avoiding the engine overheating;
  • Allowing for the circulation of coolant to control engine temperature;
  • Allowing lubricating oil to pass through to moving components such as pistons and the crankshaft;
  • Keeping additional components in place, such as the ignition system and alternator.


What are the Components in an Engine Block? 

The main components are:

  • Intake and exhaust valves;
  • Connecting rod: connects the pistons to the crankshaft, transforming linear motion to rotary motion;
  • Water and oil passages: internal channels that allow for the circulation of coolant and lubricating oil;
  • Oil drain plugs: vents at the bottom of the block that allow for easy oil drainage during oil changes;
  • Crankshaft: rotating part that converts the linear motion of the pistons into rotary motion. It is connected to the pistons via the connecting rods;
  • Pistons: the pistons move up and down or horizontally (boxer engines) inside each cylinder in response to combustion. These movements are transmitted to the crankshaft through the connecting rods.


What is the Temperature of the Engine Block?

For the engine to run smoothly, the optimum temperature is between 80°C and 100°C.

Engine blocks generally don’t have a predetermined limit set on their service life, and in most cases, you won’t need to replace them during a vehicle’s useful life.

However, the durability of an engine block depends on factors such as driving style (especially if the engine is exposed to adverse operating conditions) and environmental and road conditions.



What are the Signs of Engine Block Failure?

If you notice any of the following signs, it is recommended that you inspect your engine block to try to determine a diagnosis:

  • The engine loses power;
  • Insufficient oil;
  • Water inside the engine;
  • The vehicle does not reach the maximum speed;
  • Engine ignition failure.


What Causes Engine Block Damage?

This component is often exposed to intense mechanical loads. As such, it is common for engines to overheat, leading to them becoming deformed and the appearance of protrusions.

Insufficient oil and the bearings overheating often lead to the lower part of the component breaking down and damage to the crankshaft.

As for holes appearing, this happens due to the sharp changes in temperature taking place inside the component due to the fluid inside the cooling system freezing, aggressive overheating, and excessive loads on it.


How Do You Inspect Your Engine Block?

Inspecting your engine block to see if there is a hole in it, for example, involves doing a visual and physical assessment to identify any potential problems.

This process includes cleaning its surface, carrying out a visual verification of any cracks, leaks, and oxidation, measuring the component and carrying out a physical inspection, any possible non-destructive testing, and checking oil and coolant.

To avoid severe damage to your engine, it is recommended that this check be done by professional mechanics only.



What Do You Do if the Engine Block is Broken?

If this happens, the best course of action is to take your vehicle to a specialised repair garage as soon as possible.

When you do so, the mechanic will indicate the possible solutions to your problem, which will generally include:

  • Replacing the component;
  • Welding any cracks in the engine block;
  • Getting a new engine if replacing the engine block is too expensive.

If it’s been a while since you last looked under the hood of your car, dust or oil has likely soiled the block.

Moisture and dry air, together with this residue, can make aluminium and other metals prone to corrosion and oxidation (rust) in the engine block.


How Do You Remove Rust from the Engine Block?

Many problems relating to engine rust have a simple solution. The first one is to simply clean the engine block, which doesn’t necessarily mean removing it from the vehicle:

  1. Clean all residue off the engine block using a brush, cleaning agent, and hot water;
  2. Smooth out any corrosion on the aluminium parts of the block using a piece of coarse sandpaper. Rub in small circles and apply firm pressure for best results.
  3. Wipe the aluminium dust with a damp cloth once you’ve finished;
  4. Apply a coat of metal polish with a cloth to achieve the desired finish.


 Top Tips for Engine Block Maintenance

To extend the service life of this component, you must:

  • Regularly change the oil;
  • Regularly check the ignition system;
  • Maintain the cooling system in good condition;
  • Regularly clean the engine, including its internal components.


How Much Does an Engine Block Cost?

The price of an engine block varies depending on the brand and type of cylinder block.

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