What Is the Purpose of an Engine Block?

by Shelley Moore

An engine block is an essential part of the structure of an internal combustion engine. It contains the crankcase and all its parts, including gaskets, valves and seals. The engine block contains cylindrically bored holes for the pistons and ways to attach other components such as the cylinder head. It is a solid, sturdy and heavy piece of equipment usually made of cast iron, or sometimes, aluminum alloy.


The engine block provides a foundation for the crankshaft and all other engine components.


Additionally, the engine block contains the cylinders housing the pistons, which provide motive energy.

Passages and Surfaces

It provides oil and coolant passages, sealing surfaces and flat surfaces for the engine heads.


Another purpose of the engine block is to transfer frictional heat to the air and to the engine coolant.

Oil Pan

The oil pan is attached to the bottom of the engine block. This part seals in the lubricating engine oil.

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