Auto Information Study Guide 1 for McGraw-Hill's ASVAB
Practice problems for this study guide can be found at:
The automobile questions that appear on the ASVAB measure how much you understand about automobile components and systems, and how much you know about maintaining and repairing them. The questions may ask you to describe the function of a particular part, to tell what might be causing a given problem, or to explain how to repair a given malfunction. You won't necessarily be asked to explain why auto parts function as they do, but you will be asked what to do and how to do it when a part needs maintenance or repair. If you own a car and maintain it yourself, you may already be familiar with many of the topics covered on the test. You may also have learned about cars by watching or helping family members or friends maintain an automobile, or by working in a garage yourself.
On the paper-and-pencil version of the ASVAB, automobile questions are one part of the Auto and Shop Information test. On the CAT-ASVAB, they form a separate test of their own.
Whichever ASVAB version you take, you'll have only about a minute to answer each automobile question, so you'll have to work fast if you want to get a good score. That's why it pays to spend time studying the test topics and tackling plenty of sample ASVAB automobile questions.
The topic review that follows will help prepare you to answer ASVAB automobile questions. It describes each of the major systems of today's automobiles and reviews the functions of all the most important automobile parts.
The engine is the heart of an automobile. Cars use an internal-combustion engine, meaning that the fuel is burned inside the engine. (Steam engines are "external-combustion engines" that burn fuel outside the engine; steam is piped to a turbine that creates the rotary motion.) All car engines, including diesel engines, use the Otto cycle, named for Nicholas Otto, the German who invented the four-stroke gasoline engine in the 1870s.
Here is an overview of what happens inside an Otto-cycle engine: A mix of fuel and air is brought inside a closed space, called a cylinder. The mix is compressed and then explodes. The explosion moves a piston, which rotates the crankshaft. The crankshaft is connected through the drive train to the driving wheels, which move the car. Waste heat from the explosions is removed by the cooling system.
Cylinders are located in the large, cast-iron engine block. Cylinders are laid out in a straight line or a V shape. Straight-line engines usually have four cylinders. For a six- or eight-cylinder engine, the V design (called a V-6 or V-8) saves space.
Cylinder and Piston
The cylinder is the heart of the internal combustion engine, since it's where combustion takes place. The cylinder is a finely machined chamber that holds a piston as it slides up and down. Thin rings called piston rings seal the gap between the cylinder and the piston, containing the explosions and increasing efficiency.
- If the piston rings wear, oil can enter the cylinder. Burning oil makes blue smoke and cuts power output. When an engine starts to burn oil, a major repair called an engine overhaul is needed.
- Changing the oil regularly is the best way to prevent excess wear to piston rings.
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