What type of car engine do I have?

Tuesday 1st March 2022

engine coolant or antifreeze

Understanding what engine your vehicle has is important for many motoring aspects, such as knowing which fuel it needs (petrol or diesel); helping assist to purchase new parts quicker and easier; and how much horsepower your engine is capable of.

In short, knowing how to find out what engine your vehicle has can be extremely helpful later down the line. So how do you learn what type of engine your car has?

How to find out my car’s engine size

The first place to start is with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Every car which has been registered in the UK will have its own unique vehicle identification number – which essentially acts like the vehicle’s blood type.

The VIN is made up of 17 digits - containing both letters and numbers – and is made up of three specific parts that provide specific information about the vehicle. After you have found your car’s VIN, you will still need to decipher what that VIN means. You can find out by looking it up on the VIN decoder UK – here, you can find out plenty of information about your car, including your car’s engine type, mileage history, owners history, damage check, plate changes and much more information. 

All types of car engines

Once you have your VIN code, you will then be able to find out the type of car engine you have – most likely, your car will have one of the following engine types:

Straight engines

With a straight engine, the cylinders are arranged in a manner that are parallel to the car from front to back. There are usually four to six cylinders, and power is provided by burning fuel in the cylinders and converting the energy released into motion. Straight engines are most likely found in models such as BMWs and Mercedes.

V engines

V engines have cylinders mounted on their sides at a 60° angle. The cylinders are made of two rows facing outwards, connected at the base, making a V shape. These engines feature several cylinders, especially compared to other engine varieties. This type of vehicle engine is typically found on the majority of vehicles.

Flat engines

A flat engine contains horizontally mounted cylinders with two rows that face outwards. Flat engines are less common and typically found on sports cars.

Inline engines

Inline engines have cylinders that are arranged side-by-side in an upright position across the engine bay, perpendicular to the car. An inline engine is designed to be smaller and more compact, meaning that other elements, such as the radiator, battery and cooling system, can be fitted easily around the sides. Inline engines are more commonly found on small family cars and hatchbacks.

Now that you know what car engine you have – you can check the type of car engine oil you need in our helpful blog. Or if you have any more car queries, do not hesitate to get in contact with our helpful team. 

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