What Is a Crankshaft on a Car?

A crankshaft on a car is one of the major components of the engine that powers the drivewheels. The pistons create power in the engine using an up and down, or reciprocating, motion, and the crankshaft converts this to a circular or rotational motion.

Engines are able to propel a car into motion by transforming the energy of the mini explosions inside the cylinders and translating this to rotational energy which turns the wheels of the car. The major component responsible for this task is the crankshaft of a car. The crankshaft usually sits at the bottom of the engine block. Attached to the crankshaft with rods are the pistons. As the pressure rises in the cylinders from the combustion, the pistons move upwards. As the crankshaft rotates, the pistons are pushed downward so the cycle can start over again with the next explosion. Pistons are connected to the crankshaft to ensure that their movement is regulated and that they move with the crankshaft.

The crankshaft and pistons work in unison with another component of the engine called a camshaft. The main responsibility for the camshaft is to open and close the intake and exhaust valves in order to create combustion.