Other Problems
Many other things can go wrong. For example:
  • If the battery is dead, you cannot turn over the engine to start it.
  • If the bearings that allow the crankshaft to turn freely are worn out, the crankshaft cannot turn so the engine cannot run.
  • If the valves do not open and close at the right time or at all, air cannot get in and exhaust cannot get out, so the engine cannot run.
  • If someone sticks a potato up your tailpipe, exhaust cannot exit the cylinder so the engine will not run.
  • If you run out of oil, the piston cannot move up and down freely in the cylinder, and the engine will seize.
In a properly running engine, all of these factors are within tolerance.

As you can see, an engine has a number of systems that help it do its job of converting fuel into motion. Most of these subsystems can be implemented using different technologies, and better technologies can improve the performance of the engine. Let's look at all of the different subsystems used in modern engines in the following sections.