Different Auto Parts And Why They Matter

To ensure your safety inside your car, you must first understand the essential auto parts and how they work. Understanding your car’s parts and how each of them works can help you fix them especially in dire situations like a car break down. Since a car has many parts, fixing it can be a tough job especially if you do not know what and where to check. It will also allow you to have better handling of the vehicle, which is essential especially if you are planning to join a race. In general, knowing auto parts is something every driver should know.

Figuring out these parts can be quite confusing, but if you have the determination and perseverance, you can eventually master all the parts.

Why do I have to know the auto parts?

Understanding all the auto parts is crucial because of two reasons: (1) to be able to fix your car on your own especially during emergency situations and (2) to fix serious auto problems immediately to ensure your safety.

1. To fix your car on your own especially during emergency situations

Sudden car breakdowns are quite a common car problem on the road. You can always look for a car repair shop nearby or call someone for help though. However, what would you do in situations like having a car break down in the middle of a deserted highway wherein car repair shops are nowhere to be seen or wherein signal is choppy or worst, not available? Knowing how to fix your car on your own can be quite handy in these situations.

You might not need to know the entire parts of the car but at least, you should know and understand the basic ones. In times that your car needs a simple repair, you do not have to bring it to the car repair shop all the time. You can just fix it yourself. You will be surprised how much money you can save if you fix your car yourself.

2. To fix serious auto problems immediately to ensure your safety.

If you understand how these parts function, then you can easily tell when one part is not working well. If this happens, it is easy to detect an auto problem while on the road. Detecting a problem immediately means that you can fix it before serious damage is done. Thus, you are saving yourself from serious injuries and fatal accidents. You should not take even the smallest problem for granted. Remember, it may be small at first, but if remain unnoticed, it can turn into a serious damage which can cost you your life.

Now that we have established the importance of understanding the auto parts, it is only right to know what these parts are. A car is perhaps one of the most significant inventions man has ever made. From a simple wooden cart to a sleek and elegant looking vehicle, the car’s history has indeed made quite a history. As the appearance and design become more complex, the parts also increase.

At present, there are basically seven major categories of the auto parts. These categories are the following:

1. Engine system

A car's enginePhoto Source: http://commercialpreservation.com/blog/importance-of-a-commercial-property-inspection/

The engine system is a crucial part of a car. It is responsible for the pumping of fuel from the tank, mixing it with air to have the required mixture, and distributing it to the cylinders. There are several ways that the fuel is delivered to the cylinders, but the most common ones are through port fuel injection, direct fuel injection, and carburetion. Aside from the several ways the fuel is delivered, there are also various engine systems available in the marketplace and each of them works differently. Some of the most common engine systems are as follow:

  • Gasoline Engine– This is perhaps a product of a genius engineering work and the most common engine people use every day. A car engine might a little bit confusing with all its unfamiliar terminologies like dual over head cams and 3.0 liter V-6, but once you understand the basics of how it works, it would easier to understand these terms. A car engine usually utilizes gasoline to burn it into an energy which makes the car moves. To do this, the engine needs to burn the gasoline internally; thus, it is an internal combustion engine.

It is important to take note that there are different types of internal combustion engines. For instance, there are those that are run by gasoline while some are run by diesel. Each of these kinds has their own pros and cons. Also, do not confuse this internally combustion process with the external ones like the steam engine as they work differently.

  • Diesel Engine– Lots of people have asked the difference between the gasoline engine and the diesel engine, but the diesel engine actually emerged because of the inconsistent efficiency of the gasoline engine. The term diesel is derived from Rudolf Diesel, a German national who is the proponent of the said invention. The reason behind its invention is the idea of creating a particular engine with a higher efficiency.

The downside of this engine is that it produces an unpleasant sound and black smoke, making it less appealing to the consumers. However, this downside is about to change as people are doing their best to improve the diesel engine.

  • HEMI Engine– This engine has marked its name in the engine history. This is made popular in the 1950s. The word HEMI is highly associated with big and powerful engines.
  • Rotary Engine– Although rotary engine is usually used in aircrafts, it can also be used in cars. Rotary engines used in cars were first built by the American companies: Bailey, Adams-Farwell, Interpid, and Balzer.

Like the gasoline engine, the rotary engine is also an internal combustion engine, but functions differently from the traditional piston engine. If an average piston engine has four alternate jobs such as the combustion, compression, intake, and exhaustion. It is a standard “Otto Cycle” engine. The only slight difference is that instead of having a cylinder block, it has a rotating crankshaft same as the conventional radial engine.

There are three factors that constitute to the rotary’s power. These three factors are as follow:

  • Smooth Running- The rotaries ensure that the power is delivered smoothly as there are no reciprocating parts while the set of cylinders act as the flywheel.
  • Weight advantage- A lot of conventional engines need to have flywheels that are heavy enough in order to smooth out the impulses of the power and to reduce the vibrations.
  • Improved cooling- The best thing about rotary engine is that it creates its own cooling airflow. It does not matter if the vehicle is running or at rest.

2. Braking system

It is a mechanical device which is responsible for the absorption of the energy from a system that is moving. It makes a car stop through creating friction.

  • Disc Brake– Most modern cars nowadays use disc brakes on all its four wheels. The single piston and floating caliper are the most common type of disc brake used in modern cars.
  • Power Brake– Power brake refers to the round and black canister which is found at the back of the engine compartment. Before, when most cars still used drum brakes, the need of power brake was not that necessary. At present, since the modern cars usually use disc brake, the need for a power brake is already necessary. That is if you do not want to have tired legs from stomping the brake too much.
  • Anti-Lock Brake– This particular type of brake is very useful in slippery road. With the anti-lock brake system, stopping quickly and immediately is now an easy task.

3. Power train

GM's power trainPhoto Source: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2006/09/the-truth-about-gms-new-powertrain-warrantee/

The power train is a kind of mechanism which transmits the drive from the car’s engine system to its axle. It works hand in hand with the engine and the axle of the car.

  • Manual Transmission– Driving a car in a manual mode can be challenging for many. You probably wonder what the grinding sound and shift into reverse mean, but once you understand how certain auto parts work, then you will understand why such things happen. A manual transmission is usually associated with a stick shift car which people move when shifting.
  • Automatic Transmission– Most modern cars have an automatic transmission. Unlike the manual transmission, automatic transmission car has no clutch pedal. The gear shift is also nowhere to be seen. As the name entails, once you set the car into an automatic transmission, everything will also automatically set.

Which is better: manual transmission or automatic transmission?

People have a silent debate whether the automatic transmission is better than the manual transmission. However, whichever you choose, both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Below are some their advantages and disadvantages:

Manual Transmission

  • It is less expensive as compared to the automatic transmission. This is preferable for those people who are tight on their budget.
  • It is more fuel Efficient. Since it is less complex and have more gears, it can cover more distance and save up to 15% fuel cost.
  • It is also requires less maintenance. Because the manual transmission is less complex, the maintenance and repair cost is cheaper.
  • It is easier to control. Although manual transmission is quite challenging to learn, controlling it is easier. You can also guarantee that it can save more engine power.
  • Finally, since it is less expensive, it is less likely to be stolen. Manual cars will not attract thieves as much as the automatic ones.

Automatic Transmission

  • It is less manually restrictive, meaning you do not have to set a lot of things. You just have to set the car in an automatic mode and everything else will be set.
  • It is easier to use especially when shifting gears in the middle of traffic. This is why automatic vehicles are recommended for first-time drivers.
  • Since it is easier to shift, automatic transmission vehicles are better when driving in crowded and busy streets.
  • Automatic transmission offers the driver an easier way to maneuver the vehicle, especially in steep hills.
  • The stalling time is also lesser as compared to the manual transmission. Therefore, you do not have to worry about stalling accidently in the middle of the traffic.

4. Electrical system

The car’s electrical system has an independent power which it takes from the battery. it is also often a close circuit system. The electrical system of a car is mainly composed of the alternator and battery. It also utilizes some connectors, fuses, and wires.

  • Alternator- It is connected to the car’s engine system through a belt. It also generates electricity for the purpose of recharging the battery. Making sure your car’s alternator works properly is an important thing to do to avoid unnecessary car breakdowns and accidents.

Here are five signs that your alternator is failing.

  1. Grinding noise– You car’s alternator has different parts inside which functions altogether to create electricity current. In times when one of these parts is already worn out or broken, it can cause a weird and grinding noise which could be unpleasant to your ears. If this happens, check the alternator’s bushings because a bushing that has gone bad could produce a grinding noise.
  2. Warning light– Pay attention to your car’s warning lights on the dashboard. This will signal you when the alternator is not functioning properly. The warning light is usually shaped like a battery. In other cases, it may say ALT which stands for alternator. It is a good indicator to determine how much life your car’s alternator is left as well as the remaining electricity in your battery.
  3. Dim light– The main function of an alternator is to provide enough power for the car’s ignition, starter, and other things that need electricity. If your alternator fails to supply the needed electricity, you can easily determine this by paying attention to your car’s head lights. Once the light starts to get dim, there is a possibility that your car’s alternator has a problem, especially if there is nothing wrong with your battery. To be sure, you can check the alternator and the battery to ensure that they are both functioning well.
  4. Odd smell– Aside from the weird sounds, which you can detect through your sense of hearing and the dim and warning lights, which you can easily tell just by looking, your sense of smell can also be a good indicator.

If you catch an odd smell as if something burning, check your alternator immediately.  The alternator works with the system belts. Once these belts are not turning properly, it can create certain friction which can overheat the belt. This produces a smell that closely resembles a burnt rubber.

  1. Visual signs– Sometimes, the problem is not the alternator per se but on the belts that are connected on it. Check your car and make sure that the belt is too tight or too loose.
  • Battery– Battery is indeed a great innovation. It supplies us with enough electricity to run a car without having the need to plug it in. The car’s battery is usually a 12-volt power which can distribute enough electricity to all parts of the car if needed.

There are various types of batteries, but the basic concept of how they work still remains the same. Once you connect a device to a battery, it creates a certain reaction is created which produces an electrical energy.

5. Steering and suspension

Suspension in a car

Photo Source: http://www.hiperformanceautocentres.co.uk/car-suspension-sunderland.html

There is a lot of stuff going on when you steer the steering wheel. Have you ever wonder how the car’s tires follow where you steer the car? This is because steering is not merely an action; it is a system which is composed of certain parts.

On the other hand, suspension is often associated with the tires’ performance on a bumpy road. Without suspension, you cannot possibly have a safe and comfortable ride. It is responsible for making your ride less bumpy, especially when driving on a rough road. Suspension ahs three major functions. These functions are:

  • Comfort- Suspension absorbs the energy produced from impact produced by the bumpy ride.
  • Steering and handling- Suspension helps the driver in keeping the vehicle on the right track, literally speaking. It makes sure that the car will not roll over on the side road when there is a bump.
  • Contact between the tires and the road surface- It is sometimes called the “road holding”. It is necessary that the tires are in contact with the road surface. This is because once the contact is lost, there will be less friction. Less friction means the car cannot accelerate and stop properly. It makes sure that the grip is maintained.

6. Exhaust system

The exhaust system is responsible for the reaction of exhaust gasses and keeping it away from the engine. It is important to make sure the exhaust system works properly because if otherwise, there is a possibility that you will experience overheating which is quite dangerous when remains unnoticed. It is usually composed of several parts such as exhaust manifold, muffler, and catalytic converter.

  • Exhaust manifold- Its function is to collect exhaust gasses from several cylinders and transfer them into the exhaust pipe. It collects the gasses first into one pipe before emission.
  • Catalytic converter- The purpose of catalytic converter more of an environmental one. It ensures that the harmful pollutants produced by the car are converted into less harmful ones. This is done while the gas passes through the vehicle’s exhaust pipes. Its main function is to reduce the harmful emissions from the vehicle.

If you have observed in newly purchased vehicles, the smoke that they emit is almost a clear one. This is due to the fact that their catalytic converter is still fully functional. However, once the vehicle is already old, the smoke color changes from clear to black. In this case, it is high time to have your exhaust system checked.

  • Muffler- From the word “muffled’ which means muted, muffler’s job is to make loud noises into quiet purrs. The muffler installed in your vehicle has some tubes with several holes inside. These tubes are specifically designed to reflect the sound waves produce by the vehicle in a way that muted them or at least, in a way that minimize the sound. It is sometimes called a silencer.

7. Other parts

Aside from the six categories mentioned above, there are other parts of a car which include the cooling system and the odometer.

  • Odometer– Odometer is a mechanical device used to keep track of the distance you have traveled. In modern cars, digital odometers are used which provide additional features and surprisingly cost less than the older version. It is easy to spot the odometer in your car. You can see it on the car’s dashboard. It is usually round with a set of numbers inside. It resembles a clock, only it is used to count distance not time.

Odometers can also be found in other types of vehicle such as a van, motorcycle, and bicycle. It can be mechanical, electrical, or a combination of both.

  • Cooling system– An overheated car can be dangerous and can cause an explosion. This is when the cooling system comes in handy. It prevents the overheating of the vehicle’s engine. The heat accumulated inside the vehicle can cause uncomfortable heat which needs to be dissipated. The cooling system makes sure that the engine maintains its temperature.

Knowing these important auto parts, you are now ready for you a long journey on the road. However, it is still advisable to be updated from time to time as auto parts may decrease or increase depending on the development of the car technology.

A car is like a human’s body. It is composed of different parts and systems which are different from each other but functions altogether as a unit in order to run smoothly on the road. Understand the functions of these auto parts, and you can say goodbye to most of your car problems.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Kody Loveless - August 25, 2016

I had no idea that my exhaust system could lead to my car overheating if I did not take care of it. There is so much to taking care of a car. I will have to get under my hood and my car and make sure that everything looks good.


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