Have you ever opened the hood of your car and wondered what was going on in there? A car engine can look like a big confusing jumble of metal, tubes and wires to the uninitiated. You might want to know what's going on in there simply out of curiosity. After all, you ride in your car every day -- wouldn't it be nice to know how it works? Or maybe you are tired of going to the mechanic and hearing things that are totally meaningless to you and then paying $750 for whatever that stuff means. Or perhaps you are buying a new car, and you hear funny words like "3.0 liter V-6" and "dual overhead cams" and "tuned port fuel injection." What does all of that mean?

If you have ever wondered about this kind of stuff, then read on! In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll discuss the basic idea behind an engine, and then go into detail about how all the pieces fit together, what can go wrong and how to increase performance!