At John Mannix & Son Driving School, we believe that knowledgeable drivers are safer drivers, It is essential that you know the key components of care and how they work in case of a breakdown or other emergencies.
Ever wondered what parts and components make up your car? This section gives a broad overview of the machinery that make a vehicle move. A small car has over 3000 different components, each of which designed separately to work in perfect balance with each other.
Here we take a look at and under the hood, and learn a little more than we already know about our favourite vehicle. A car can broadly be seen as comprising of three main sections:
• The engine
• Covering body
• Suspension, brakes & wheels
These sections are further made of many small and big components.
The engine of the car is where all the action happens. It pumps fuel and air, and changes them into a circular movement that turns the wheels of the car. Below are listed the major components of an engine.
Common engines have up to eight pistons that slide up and down in cylinders. The combustion chamber is where fuel and air mix before they are ignited. A crankcase beside them is full of oil, keeping the engine lubricated. Generally, pistons have rings which keep the fuel components separated.
When pistons move up and down in cylinders, the crankshaft rotates, turning the piston motion into rotary motion.
This lets air and fuel in and out of the engine at the right times. It is composed of valves, rocker arms, pushrods, lifters, and the cam shaft.
This is where your fuel is stored.
These pump fuel to the engine, using a number of different processes.
Filters clean the fuel so that it does not clog the fuel injectors in the engine.
The fuel injector is a device that pushes fuel into the cylinder so it can be ignited.
This mixes air and fuel into and explosive combination.
A complex device to measure the amount of air in the exhaust, it balances the amount of fuel and air getting into the engine.
A converter reduces harmful emissions from the car, and cleans exhaust fumes.
These reduce the level of sound produced by an engine.
The exhaust pipe carries fumes out through the tail pipe of the car.
A water cooled engine contains the engine's water jacket, a thermostat, a water pump, a radiator and radiator cap, a cooling fan (electric or belt-driven), hoses, the heater core, and an overflow tank.
Manual cars have "Gearboxes" that usually have four or five speeds, and often have an overdrive, which means that the output shaft can turn faster than the input shaft for fuel economy on the road.
Automatic cars commonly use three forward gears to blend speed and pushing power.
The first part of the electrical system is the battery. The next part is the starter motor, which is used to start the engine. The third component is a charging device powered by the engine, known as the alternator. It powers the electrical system when the car is running, and restores the charge within the battery.
In most braking systems, the brake pedal is connected to a master cylinder by a push rod. The master cylinder is connected to the brake cylinders (slave cylinders) at each wheel by brake lines and rubber hoses. The entire hydraulic system is filled with brake fluid, which is forced through the system by the movement of the master cylinder pistons.
The Covering Body
The body shell is a complex assortment of large steel sections. These sections have been stamped into shapes which make up the body of your car. These parts are designed to do many jobs at once; protect the occupants from the elements and in collisions, provide solid mounts for all other systems, and to slice through the air with minimal resistance.
Suspension, Brakes & Wheels
Suspension refers to the use of front and rear springs to suspend a vehicle's weight. The springs used on today's cars and trucks are constructed in a variety of types. These include leaf springs, coil springs, air springs, and torsion bars. These are used in sets of four for each vehicle, or they may be paired off in various combinations and are attached by several different mounting techniques.
The suspension system has two main functions, to keep the car's wheels in firm contact with the road and to provide a comfortable ride for the passengers. A lot of the system's work is done by the springs. Under normal conditions, the springs support the body of the car evenly by compressing and rebounding with every up-and-down movement. This up-and-down movement, however, causes bouncing and swaying after each bump and is very uncomfortable to the passenger. These undesirable effects are reduced by the shock absorbers.
How can I look after my car?
The best way to look after your car is to have it serviced annually, regularly wash and clean the vehicle, ensure air pressure is always correct, monitor your oil and coolant levels, and get any problems checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.
How often should my car be serviced?
Your car should be serviced at least once a year or every 15,000 miles driven, whichever occurs first. This ensures that all key components are examined regularly and will identify any small issues before they become large and costly problems.
What should I do if an engine light appears on my dashboard?
The first thing you should do is consult your owner's manual. Every light is related to a different component of the car or engine. Not all lights will require mechanical repair and some are simply a warning that you need to add air to the tyres, etc. If repair work is required then bring your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.