Although laymen often use the words "motor" and "engine" interchangeably, from a technical point of view, an engine uses fuel to create heat that it converts into motion, while a motor uses electricity to produce motion. Historically, an engine is technically any machine that converts energy into force, such as a catapult, according to Reference.com.Continue Reading
An automobile generally has one engine but several motors. Examples of motors in a car include the starter, wiper motor, fuel pump and heater fan motor. The engine burns fuel, typically gasoline, to propel the vehicle forward. As the engine turns, it also powers the generator that charges the battery, which provides the power required for the various motors in the vehicle. However, the engine remains the prime mover of the vehicle as it drives.
Wikipedia attributes the confusion between motors to the early days of the automobile. To distinguish the new internal combustion engine from the older steam engine, the name "motorcar" became popular for the vehicle.
Karl Benz created the first successful automobile. Its invention added to the interest in lightweight yet powerful engines. The gasoline, four-stroke Otto cycle engine grew to become the most successful for use in the passenger automobile. Diesel engines, offering more power, became popular for larger trucks and buses. Greater fuel efficiency has increased the popularity of the turbo diesel engine in smaller vehicles.Learn more about Car Parts & Maintenance
Symptoms of a bad ignition module are sudden engine stalling or power loss while the car is in motion, engine stuttering accompanied by a smell of gasoline and an inability to restart the engine following a stall. Decreased gas mileage is also a sign of a compromised ignition module.Full Answer >
A starter relay, or starter solenoid, works by completing the circuit that brings electric current from a vehicle's battery to the starter motor of the engine. The starter relay can typically be located by following the red wire from the battery to the relay.Full Answer >
Changing a windshield wiper motor requires using a voltage tester to check its spark and hand tools to remove the unit off of its mounting inside the engine compartment. The mounting location of the wiper motor varies depending on the type of vehicle.Full Answer >
A car or car's engine may vibrate while idling for various reasons, including that the motor or transmission mounts have a problem. When a car is stopped at a red light or turned on in park, a noticeable vibration may occur that signals damaged or broken transmission mounts.Full Answer >