Parts of a Car: What Is the Function of Each?

Has it ever happened to you that, when you take your car to the mechanic for maintenance or repairs, you don't understand anything of what they tell you? It's like car specialists speak in another language! This is because everything related to cars has its own universe and, of course, a particular language.

So that some comments from your trusted mechanic do not take you off guard, we are going to tell you briefly how a car works.

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How does a car work?

Like the human body, automobiles maintain very complete and complex systems for optimal operation: the transmission system, the brake system, the suspension system and the electrical system are just some of them.

Did you know that the word automobile means that it is capable of moving by itself ?

To understand the process of how a vehicle works, we must first focus on the engine. This is in charge of receiving a precise mixture of air and gasoline from the fuel system. Through an electrical spark in the plugs. it is capable of burning the mixture and generating a series of explosions within itself. Then, the force obtained from this combustion is carried by a transmission mechanism to the wheels to make them turn.

A vehicle not only has the engine and the transmission system, but also has additional systems to be able to brake, to steer (the direction), to go over bumps in the road (the suspension) and one to activate the electrical elements.

Knowing the most important parts of your car will be very useful if you have an emergency on the road, if your car breaks down and you don't know where to check it, if you are going to buy a new one and want to ask the seller specific questions, if the mechanic suggests maintenance or if you have an important decision to make.

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The 12 main parts of a car and their functions

If your mechanic ever tells you there's a problem with your radiator or alternator, it's important to know what parts of your car they're talking about. We are going to know the names of the main parts of a car and their functions. Take note of these car parts!

1. Engine

The engine can be considered as the heart of every car. It is a perfectly constructed machine that converts the heat caused by the explosion (gasoline engine) or combustion (diesel engine) of the fuel into a movement of force that turns the wheels.

Some of the types of motors that exist are:

  • Diesel engine
  • Gasoline combustion engine - Otto engine
  • Internal combustion engine
  • hybrid engine
  • Electric motor
  • Jet engine
  • Stratified Charge Engine

When we talk about the conventional engine that works with gasoline, the chain of reactions is activated through a spark, which is capable of igniting a mixture of fuel vapor and compressed air inside a cylinder that is sealed. That mixture is burned, dispensed and generates energy. To prevent wear and minimize friction of the parts that are part of the engine, an oil change is essential.

2. Battery

Another key part of any vehicle is undoubtedly the battery. This works as a store of chemical energy that, when discharged, is converted into electrical energy that the car uses to supply the lights, the radio, the starter motor, the windshield wipers and all the electrical elements.

The battery is a box and two posts called “terminals” protrude from it, a positive one identified with a “+” connected by a cable to the starter motor and a negative one marked with a “-”.

Finally, this part is divided into 6 compartments (or "cells"), each equivalent to 2 volts, that is, connected in series they add up to 12 volts. The cells are made up of lead or ferronickel plates immersed in a compound of sulfuric acid and distilled water called an electrolyte.

The useful life of a car battery is given by the manufacturer's guarantee, but it is usually approximately 12 to 18 months.

3. Gearbox:

The gearbox (or gearbox) works as an intermediary between the crankshaft and the wheels so that they always obtain the necessary torque to move the vehicle. It depends on this part to raise or lower the number of revolutions necessary to get the most out of the engine of our vehicle.

Gearboxes today have four or five forward gears called first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. In addition, it includes another change known as "reverse", useful for going backwards. When the car has no gear, it is said to be in "neutral" or neutral. In this position, no engine motion passes to the wheels.

4. Chassis:

We can consider this part as the skeleton of the car. It is the internal structure that rigidly supports and shapes a vehicle. In turn, it is the piece in charge of connecting the four wheels and the steering system.

The systems that are part of the chassis are:

  • Motor
  • Transmission system
  • Braking system
  • Electric system
  • Direction system
  • Suspension system

5. Fuses:

Surely you have heard of these pieces!

Fuses are small parts that protect the electrical systems of every car. Its basic function is to melt, as its name indicates, when there is an overvoltage. This prevents any of the vital systems from being damaged.

6. Alternator:

The alternator is responsible for keeping the battery charged and is connected to the engine through a belt. When the engine is started, this part rotates producing alternating current that will be rectified and sent to the battery as direct current to restore the charge that has been lost. Brilliant, right?

7. Radiator:

The radiator is part of the cooling system of a car and its purpose is to cool the water that has been heated by circulating inside the cylinder block.

8. Address:

This piece allows us as drivers to direct the trajectory of the vehicle, either in a straight line, to the right or to the left, by using the steering wheel.

Currently, the system most used by light cars is the rack system: the steering column is rotated through the steering wheel, which in turn transmits the movement to the rack and from there to the front wheels.

Among the parts of the address we find:

  • Steering wheel
  • locking mechanism
  • anti-theft device
  • steering stem
  • steering column
  • crosspieces
  • Zipper
  • connecting rods
  • overalls
  • ball joints

9. Suspension:

The suspension system has well-placed springs, shock absorbers and other elements to keep passengers comfortable when the vehicle travels over rough terrain. It also prevents the wheels from leaving the ground and prevents excessive load on the frame and body.

Among the parts of the suspension we find:

  • springs
  • Crossbows
  • torsion bars
  • stabilizer bars
  • Shock absorbers
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10. Brakes:

Brakes are part of a mechanical device that stops movement. It can be considered as the most important security system and one of its key parts in every car.

Cars today have brakes on each wheel and are operated by a hydraulic system. When the brake pedal is depressed, the connected lever pushes a piston in the master cylinder. This sends the hydraulic fluid from the cylinder to the piping system and to the larger cylinders located next to the brakes at each wheel.

The different types of brakes that exist are:

  • Disc brakes
  • Drum brakes
  • ABS brakes
  • Hand brake

11. Wheels and tires:

The wheel can be considered one of the most important inventions of the human being, especially due to the advance it meant for the means of transport at the beginning of the 19th century.

When we talk about the tires of a car, we must make an important difference between what is a wheel and a rim. Tires are car wheels and they are made of rubber. On the other hand, the rims are what allow the round shape to be maintained. In general, the rims have certain openings in the disc that make them up to provide lightness and air flow in the part.

The wheel of a car is divided into 4 parts:

  • The wheel disk (or rim)
  • The tire
  • counterweight
  • The valve

12. Exhaust valve:

There are two types of valves: intake and exhaust. They are part of the mechanism that allows the entry and exit of liquids and gases in the combustion chamber and in the cylinders. The intake valve is responsible for regulating the entry of the air and fuel mixture. For its part, the exhaust valve lets the gases resulting from combustion escape.

Now that you know a little more about how a car works and what its basic parts are, not only will you feel more relaxed when you go to the mechanic, but you will be able to share your knowledge with friends and family.