­Petol and Diesel engines are very similar in that they are both internal combus­tion engines with pistons moving up and down inside cylinders, the movement of which rotates the crankshaft and ultimately turns the wheels and moves the car.

Both petrol and diesel engines turn fuel into energy by way of a small explosion which causes the piston to move down inside the cylinder. The major difference between petrol and diesel engines is how these explosions happen since diesel fuel doesn't ignite as easily as petrol since it has a higher "flash point" (i.e. the temperature at which it will ignite).

In a petrol engine fuel is mixed with air, compressed within the cylinder by the piston and ignited by sparks from a spark plug. In a diesel engine the air is compressed first, then the fuel is injected and because air heats up when it's compressed the fuel ignites. It's the heat of the compressed air that ignites the fuel in a diesel engine as opposed to the spark from a spark plug in a petrol engine.

Click on the Hyperlinks below to see how petrol and diesel engines work:

How a Petol Engine Works

How a Diesel Engine Works

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