Counting cylinders
The core of the engine is the cylinder, with the piston moving up and down inside the cylinder. The engine described above has one cylinder. That is typical of most lawn mowers, but most cars have more than one cylinder (four, six and eight cylinders are common). In a multi-cylinder engine, the cylinders usually are arranged in one of three ways: inline, V or flat (also known as horizontally opposed or boxer), as shown in the following figures.


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Figure 2. Inline - The cylinders are arranged in a line in a single bank.


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Figure 3. V - The cylinders are arranged in two banks set at an angle to one another.


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Figure 4. Flat - The cylinders are arranged in two banks on opposite sides of the engine.

Different configurations have different advantages and disadvantages in terms of smoothness, manufacturing-cost and shape characteristics. These advantages and disadvantages make them more suitable for certain vehicles.