50 Little-Known Facts About Engines

Engines are in everything. There’s an engine in your car, sure. But there’s engines in trains, planes, bikes and even unconventional things like an air conditioning unit. The engine has revolutionized what it means to be alive in the 21st century. And we are BIG FANS of anything that has an engine. You must be, too. So here are some fantastic photos accompanied by even cooler engines. We hope you are entertained but more importantly, we hope you are educated.

50. The world record for removing and replacing a car engine is 42 seconds, set in 1985 on a Ford Escort. 42 seconds! You couldn’t get up to get another beer and be back in 42 seconds. Imagine replacing an entire engine…that’s crazy. It takes some of us a week to do that task – assuming we’ve got the know-how to begin with. Not every engine can be that simple though, as you’re about to find out. From cars to trucks to trains to jets, we’ve got 50 of the best engine facts about all of the engines out there. Enjoy!

49. America’s first steam engine locomotive designed to carry passengers lost in a race to a horse-drawn train in 1830.


48. The power of one jet engine is equivalent to 28 Formula-1 race cars.


47. The power of a top fuel 10,000HP dragster race car’s engine is equivalent to 22 standard Corvette engine.


46. General Electric’s GE90-115B is currently the biggest engine in the world. It has a diameter of over 10.5 feet and 11,500 pounds of thrust to power the massive Boeing 777s.

45. James Watt invented the term horsepower as a marketing ploy for his engines. Although many scientists agree his estimates of horsepower were overrated, the term stuck and his engine led to the first steam engine locomotive in 1804.

44. The formula for Horespower is: 1 HP = power needed to lift 550 lbs. 1 foot in the air in 1 second.

43. Real horses actually only produce about .7HP, based on the official calculation for horsepower.

42. A standard compact car typically carries an engine with about 150HP, equaling to the power created by 214 horses. This motorcycle kicks out about 700 horsepower in comparison. What an engine!

41. Jet engine maintenance is structured around hours flown, whereas car engine maintenance is structured around distance driven.

40. A typical hangar used for engine maintenance on passenger jets is the size of six football fields, or roughly 130,000 sq. feet.

39. The highest revving engine inside of a production car is in the 2008 Ariel Atom 500. It reached 10,500 RPM.

38. The Indy Car Series switched engine manufacturers to Honda in 2006. Since then, there have been 0 Indy Car engine failures.

37. A jet engine can be replaced in 24 hours, if a backup is on hand. An engine that needs to repaired and replaced has a timeline of nearly two months.

thrust controller on a military fighter jet engine

36. The four common types of car engines are Straight, Inline, V and Flat. These refer to the cylinder layouts in the engine.

35. Engine cylinder quantities range from twin-cylinder to 8+ cylinder. Twin-cylinder engines aren’t common and are used in small cars like Fiat’s. 8+ cylinder engines are common in supercars or race cars.

34. Driving on cold days diminishes your fuel economy because it takes so long for the engine to reach normal operating temperature.

33. This might be one of those crazy facts you never knew about jet engines. A typical passenger jet engine costs roughly $12 million – $35 million. An entire Boeing 737 passenger jet costs about $102 million.

32. A typical car engine costs roughly $2,500 – $4,000. The newest engines in top-of-the-line Dodge Challenger and Chargers cost around $19,000. How much do you think this 4400 horsepower Cummins engine would cost?

31. The four strokes of the four-stroke engine are intake stroke, compression stroke, combustion stroke, and exhaust stroke.

30. 1957 is that first time a car engine had a computer component. The 1957 AMC Rambler Rebel had the first electronic fuel injection system (EFI) designed for a production car.

29. The first steam-engine-powered automobile that was capable of transporting humans was created in 1769 by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. Engine have advanced so much since 1769 that almost anything can serve as oil; even WD-40. Truly, if you’re in a bind and have a gallon of WD-40 nearby – your car will run for about a half an hour. What happens after that isn’t our fault…

28. Rolls Royce, Ltd. wasn’t originally a car company, their predominant venture in the early 1900s was airplane engines. They caused a bit of a stir in the 1940s when Rolls Royce sold their ‘Nene’ engine to the Russians, who eventually reverse-engineered it to power their premier fighter jets in WWII.

27. In 1916, the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago invented a car that had both an internal combustion engine and an electic motor. It was called a hybrid. Sound familiar?

26. Your car consumes 1.6 ounces of gas for every one minute it idles.

25. Your car consumes .5 ounces of gas on start-up. If you’re going to idle for more than 30 seconds, it is more fuel efficient to turn off and restart your car.

24. A Boeing 707 aircraft, with a take-off weight of 172,500 pounds, set on a 6-degree angle of climb requires approximately 78,100 pounds of jet engine thrust. The four engines on a Boeing 707 each can supply 22,000 pounds of thrust.

23. A man named Francois Isaac de Rivaz designed the first car powered by an internal combustion engine that ran on gasoline in 1808.

22. Cold air is thicker and denser than warm air, affecting aerodynamic drag on your vehicle. Your car works harder to perform normally in the cold.

21. Karl Benz put a four-stroke engine between the rear wheels of an automobile in 1886, and cars have taken on that general idea ever since. It was the first automobile that generated its own power.

20. A jet engine consists of over 40,000 parts. The largest of which is the air intake duct, which can measure up to 18 feet in diameter and 12 feet long in some of the largest engines.

19. The four-stroke engine is also named the Otto Cycle, after it’s inventor Nikolaus Otto who invented it in 1867.

18. A car engine operates around 190-220 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to boil water.

17. A jet engine operates around 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit which is hot enough to melt gold.

16. The largest production engine is the 512 cubic inch, 8.4L engine inside the 2013 Dodge SRT Viper V10.

15. The smallest production engine in any car is the 38.1 cubic inch, .6L engine inside the 2008 Tata Nano.

14. One Boeing 777 passenger jet has over double the amount of horsepower than the Titanic, despite being about a quarter of the size.

13. Most, if not all, of today’s cars utilize an internal combustion engine. The gasoline is burned inside the engine in thousands of short bursts to power the car forward.

12. Rauch & Lang produced electric engines from 1905 to 1920, when they switched to gas combustion engines because of low gas prices.

11. The most powerful naturally aspirated engine is the 849hp, V12 engine inside the 2013 Ferrari FXX-K.

10. Beer and engines go way back. Before it reached locomotives or cars, one of the first steam engines was put to use on a barley mill at Whitbread brewery in England. It increased production by over 50 percent.

9. NASCAR engines are required to be outfitted in at least 500 production cars before they can be raced. Granted, they have many special modifications, but the engines are essentially the same.

8. The average school bus has an engine with 220-300HP and about 550 pounds of torque. The highest rated torque in a standard pickup is the Ford F-150, which has 470 pounds of torque.

7. 40 percent of all ‘Check Engine’ warning lights are caused from faulty oxygen sensors.

6. The first Ford cars that were ever produced actually featured Dodge engines.

5. The engine in the BMW M5 is so quiet that fake noises are played throughout the interior of the car to remind its driver of performance levels.

4. The Pratt & Whitney J58, two of which powered the fastest aircraft of all time (SR-71 Blackbird), weighed 6,000 pounds.

3. In the 1960s, some racers in the Indianapolis 500 combined a turboshaft helicopter engine with a four-wheel drive transmission. They didn’t last long before being outlawed.

2. A top-secret group of General Electric engineers built the first American jet engine in 1942. The Bell XP-59A, officially the first American jet plane, took off from Lake Muroc in California on October 1, 1942.

1. A gas engine is only 20 percent efficient. Meaning about 80 percent of the gas is lost due to friction, noise, engine functions or exits the car via exhaust.

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