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You may have heard about "all-aluminum" engines that are being put into some American and import cars. (These engines are alternatives to cast iron block engines and/or all-cast iron engines.) Some may have concerns about all-aluminum engines not being as strong as the cast iron versions. When you're buying a used car, this concern can become even bigger; no one wants to worry about a weak and used engine.
The aluminum used is aluminum alloy, which is incredibly strong. And in reality, it's only the engine block that is made of all aluminum. Originally the cylinders, camshaft, valves and crankshaft were made of steel and iron ... and they still are. Pistons were always made of aluminum, and they, too, have stayed the same. As long as the manufacturer has built the engine well -- cars like the Nissan Maxima are a great example -- your "all-aluminum" engine should work quite well for a long time.