cross section of car engine

Engines vs. Motors

When it comes to the mechanics of, well auto mechanics; the discussion about whether a car has an engine or a motor, has been widely debated. In truth, even Webster’s Dictionary does not provide full clarity in this regard and defines the two in a similar, albeit not exact way.


  1. A machine for converting thermal energy into mechanical energy or power to produce force and motion.
  2. A railroad locomotive.
  3. A fire engine.
  4. Any mechanical contrivance.
  5. A machine or instrument used in warfare, as a battering ram, catapult, or piece of artillery.
  6. Obsolete. An instrument of torture, especially the rack.


  1. A comparatively small and powerful engine, especially an internal-combustion engine in an automobile, motorboat, or the like.
  2. Any self-powered vehicle.
  3. A person or thing that imparts motion, especially a contrivance, as a steam engine, that receives and modifies energy from some natural source in order to utilize it in driving machinery.
  4. Also called electric motor. Electricity. A machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, as an induction motor.

The torture devices notwithstanding, the common denominator here is converting or modifying energy to produce motion. Whether it is thermal, electrical, nuclear, mechanical, or otherwise…. The result is motion. The differentiator seems to be that engines contain their own fuel source to create motion, while a motor draws on an external source. Many would say an engine uses fuel, whereas a motor uses electrical or mechanical energy to create motion. But the words engine and motor have become interchangeable in large part. Until you consider the future of motor vehicles.

What about the vehicle that has both? An engine powered by fuel and an electric motor.  Behold- the Hybrid. It’s the brave new world of keeping up with what the consumer wants.  And the consumer wants an automobile that is more environmentally friendly, economical, but still has that “cool” factor.

The automobiles of the past, present and future all share common characteristics but at the same time, the motor vehicle is constantly evolving. Advancements in the automotive industry are occurring at a rapid pace, so staying on the cutting edge of new technology is critical if you want to pursue a career in the automotive industry. Highly trained technicians command increasingly high wages across the nation and the demand for these positions are growing.

J-Tech auto technicians are skilled, knowledgeable professionals in the industry. With a comprehensive, hands-on curriculum we prepare you for a variety of automotive challenges. J-Tech’s experienced instructors provide the fundamental foundation for a long lasting and rewarding career. Looking to take the next step? Give us a call at (877) 447-0442 or connect with us at

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