9 Car Parts Every Driver Should Understand

carinsurancequotes.net_9 Car Parts Every Driver Should UnderstandCars are complex machines that most people simply don't understand. Mechanics must undergo years of schooling and apprenticeship to understand how cars work and how to fix them. But just because they are complicated doesn't mean you shouldn't know anything about your car. There are a few parts of a car that every driver should understand in order to save time, money, and headaches. Here are nine car parts every driver should understand.

  1. Tires

    OK, so we probably all know what tires are, that is, the rubber covering placed on the rotating wheels of your vehicle, but do we really understand them? For instance, in order to prevent uneven wear, did you know it's important to rotate your tires frequently and maintain proper alignment by avoiding massive bumps and potholes? Additionally, if the tread on your tires is worn out, did you know you should avoid driving in the rain because you may slide when trying to stop? All drivers should be aware of their tires and maintain them in order to stay safe on the road.

  2. Engine

    If you look under the hood of your car and don't recognize that massive heap of metal, you might need to read and reread your car manual. Because that, my friends, is your engine. The engine is a complex machine that converts chemical energy into mechanical motion by igniting gasoline and using the explosive force to force pistons up and down around a crankshaft that harnesses the pistons energy to turn the wheels of your car. The general idea is that fuel is injected into piston chambers and ignited using a spark plug. The resulting small explosion pushes the piston away from the explosion, and that mechanical energy is transferred to your wheels. The internal combustion engine is one of the most important inventions in history and it would serve you well to know the basics.

  3. Battery

    The battery is critical for starting your car. The inside of a battery contains an electrolyte liquid paste, typically an acid, and electrodes made of conductive metals. When engaged, current flows through the chemicals in the battery and the chemical reaction generates electricity. Batteries can store energy in the chemical bonds within the electrolyte liquid paste for use later. This is why the battery is so important. When you turn the key in your ignition, a starter must be engaged to generate the first ignition of the engine. In order to turn the starter, you need energy, and that energy comes from the battery.

  4. Brakes

    All drivers know brakes make their cars stop, but few actually understand how they work. Brakes are made up of several different components that all work together to inhibit motion. When the driver depresses the brake pedal, hydraulic cylinders (ever heard of the "master cylinder"?) transfer that force to brake pads which press onto a disc attached to your rotating wheel. The friction generated by the force of the pad against the disc slows the rotation of your wheel, and creates a great deal of heat and dust in the process. That's why brake pads are made of special materials that absorb heat and resist flaking.

  5. Transmission

    The transmission is a series of gears and cogs that mediate the transfer of energy from the engine to the wheels. Without it, your engine would push the same amount of power to the wheels all the time, and going up hills or down slopes would either over or underwork your engine. The transmission's gears are lubricated by an oil-like fluid that prevents the gears from tearing themselves apart. Regular maintenance of this fluid will help prevent catastrophic transmission failures that can be expensive and inconvenient.

  6. Muffler

    A car's engine is really just a mechanism for controlling a series of small explosions, and those explosions create a huge amount of noise. That's where the muffler comes in. The muffler is part of the engine exhaust system, or the parts of the vehicle that collect the excess heat and gas created by combustion in the engine. The exhaust system collects sound too, funneling it towards the muffler where it is dissipated by a series of baffles encased in a metal container. Only a limited amount of sound escapes through the baffles, and many people choose to customize the sound their car makes by altering their mufflers or replacing them with aftermarket versions that allow more sound to escape.

  7. Radiator

    The radiator is the part of your car that cools the engine. When cool liquid flows over a hot surface, heat from the hot surface is transferred very efficiently to the liquid, which can then be cooled again by allowing air to blow over it. Coolant is constantly circulating through parts of your vehicle that get hot while driving, and that coolant eventually returns to the radiator. The radiator dissipates the heat collected by the coolant by bringing it in close proximity to cooler air circulating through the specially designed slits in the radiator's core. This cools the coolant, allowing it to recirculate and remove heat from warmer parts of the engine.

  8. Timing belt

    The timing belt is a crucial part of your car's engine. Without it, the energy created by combustion can't be transferred to the tires. The timing belt is designed to align and turn the camshaft at a very precise rate. Even the smallest error could cause your engine to shut down. The camshaft controls the opening and closing of intake and exhaust valves, crucial for proper engine firing. A broken timing belt is a major problem that is very expensive to fix. It is critical to replace it at the recommended intervals.

  9. Alternator

    The alternator is an important part of your car's electrical system. Its purpose is to use the mechanical energy created by combustion to charge the car battery and to run electrical components when the car engine is activated. If your battery is repeatedly dying, even after being replaced, your alternator may not be functioning properly. Without it, your car won't last too long!

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