Auto University: How A Car Works

Today's automobiles contain complex machinery and computers that make them more reliable and fuel-efficient. To understand more about cars, you'll need to know about some of a vehicle's most important systems. While designers can take unique approaches, nearly all automobiles will have these systems in place. Once you know them, you're well on your way to graduating from Auto University. Or at least you'll know how to tackle a DIY repair job.

The Chassis

The chassis is the skeleton of a car. It holds all of the other systems in place so that they can work together. Without the chassis, you would just have a collection of unassembled pieces.

The Engine

You already know that an engine is one of the most important systems of any car. Without an engine, vehicles couldn't move. Different types of engines, however, have their own working parts. Read more about engine designs before jumping into a DIY project.

The Fuel System

The fuel system provides gasoline to the engine. It also consists of several parts. If one of these parts fails, the whole system will probably stop working. It's usually pretty easy to diagnose broken fuel pumps and other parts of this system.

The Transmission

Transmissions come in a lot of different designs, including manual, automatic, and CVT. If you have only driven an automatic, you may not have the experience of feeling gears shift in your hands. It's a worthwhile experience even if you plan to work on automatic cars.

The Drive Shaft

The drive shaft sends power from the engine to the wheels. If the drive shaft brakes, the car won't move. With some experience, they are relatively easy to replace.

The Axle

The axle sends power from the drive shaft to the wheel. If the axle breaks or starts to break, it can make a lot of noise. It could even cause your car to collapse on the road.

The Suspension

A car's suspension can give you anything between a buoyant, floating ride to a harsh ride that picks up every pebble on the road. If you don't keep it in good condition, you could damage other parts of your car.

The Brake System

Disk and drum brake systems are the most popular options. Keep them in good condition so you can stop your car at a moment's notice.


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