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Small engines power many different types of equipment, from lawnmowers and other outdoor products to cars and small vehicles. To keep them running efficiently, you must understand exactly what they are and how they work.
What Is a Small Engine?
A small engine is defined as an engine that produces less than 25 horsepower. Generally speaking, the larger the engine, the greater the horsepower.
Small engines are typically 2-stroke or 4-stroke components that power outdoor equipment like lawnmowers, tractors and generators as well as small vehicles like dirt bikes and mopeds.
How Does a Small Engine Work?
Power from 2-stroke and 4-stroke models is generated in much the same way. The steps in a 4-stoke process include:
- Intake stroke: Fuel and air enter the engine through the carburetor and are mixed together. The intake valve between the combustion chamber and the carburetor then opens to allow the fuel-air mixture to be forced into the cylinder bore while the pistons move downward.
- Compression stroke: When the piston gets to the bottom center, the intake valve closes and the piston returns to the top of the cylinder bore. During this stroke, the fuel-air mixture is compressed between the cylinder head and the piston.
- Power stroke: When the piston gets to the top, it's ready to ignite the fuel. The spark plug enables high voltage that is discharged into the combustion chamber. The spark creates heat that ignites the gases and forces the piston back down in the cylinder bore.
- Exhaust stroke: When the piston gets to the bottom center again, the exhaust valve opens. The pistons travel back up the cylinder bore and force the spent combustion gases through the exhaust. Once the pistons reach the top, the exhaust valve closes, the intake valve opens and the 4-stroke process begins again.
A 2-stroke engine performs all the same steps but in only two piston strokes.
Different Types of Small Engines
Small engines are categorized by their engine process, which means there are two types: 2-stroke and 4-stroke. Both types may be powered by gasoline or diesel fuel.
Examples of equipment powered by 2-stroke engines include:
- Leaf blowers
- Small outboard motors
Examples of equipment powered by 4-stroke engines include:
Contact PrimeSource for Your Small Engine Services
At PrimeSource, we offer small engine repair as well as small engine parts to help home and business owners in North Carolina keep their small engines in top condition and extend their lifespan.
As a single-source provider, we focus on exceptional customer service, and our technicians and sales staff bring many years of experience to the table. Contact us today to learn more about our small engine services.