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Understanding Auto Parts
Understanding Auto Parts
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Understanding Auto Parts

    The basic idea of a car is pretty simple — turn wheels to pull you down the road. But, as illustrated by the hundreds of

individual auto parts for sale at your local Pep Boys, AutoZone or Napa Auto Parts,

it actually takes a lot of machinery to make cars work.


    If you're trying to figure out what all the parts in your car do, HowStuffWorks AutoStuff is the place for you. Here's a

collection of our key car part articles.


    Engine System

    How Car Engines Work


    It's the reason you can put the pedal to the metal and go from zero to 60 in about 8 seconds. The car engine is a

piece of engineering genius and one of the most amazing machines we use on a daily basis. Learn how the four-stroke internal

combustion engine works.


    How Diesel Engines Work


    Ever wonder what the difference is between a gasoline engine and a diesel engine? Diesels are more efficient and cheaper

to run than gasoline engines. Instead of using carburetion or port fuel injection, diesel engines use direct fuel injection.

Find out what else makes diesel engines different! A

is actually an air compressor that compresses air to increase the air intake with

turbocharger assy. It uses the inertial

impulse of the exhaust gas from the engine to push the turbine inside the turbine chamber


    How Hemi Engines Work


    The HEMI engine has an awesome design and great performance, and it's pretty unique in operation. With the revitalization

of the HEMI in the 2003 Dodge trucks, industry and consumer attention is once again on this interesting configuration. Check

out how the HEMI works and see what makes it different from the typical engine design.


    How Rotary Engine blocks Work


    A rotary engine is an internal combustion engine, but it's not like the one in most cars. Also called a Wankel engine,

this type of engine performs intake, compression, combustion and exhaust in a different part of the housing. Learn about the

unique rotary setup and how it compares performance-wise to a piston engine.


    How Radial Engines Work


    Radial engines reached their zenith during WWII. But today they are not that common. One place where you can still see

the radial engine's influence is in the two-cylinder engine of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This remarkable engine can be

thought of, in a way, as two pistons from a radial engine. Find out about radial engines.


    How Quasiturbine Engines Work


    The quasiturbine engine takes the Wankel concept and improves on it: Instead of three combustion chambers, it has four,

and the setup of a quasiturbine allows for continual combustion. That means greater efficiency than any other engine in its

class. Learn about the quasiturbine and why it might be the most promising internal combustion engine yet.


    The automobile transmission system is composed of a series of crankshaft, flywheel, clutch, transmission, drive shaft, drive axle, etc. with elasticity and rotational inertia.

The power is outputted by the engine and transmitted to the drive wheels through the clutch, transmission after the torque

increase and change, drive shaft, main reducer, differential and half shaft.


    How Camshafts Work


    The camshaft has a huge effect on engine performance. It helps let the air/fuel mixture into the engine and get the

exhaust out. Learn all about the camshaft and how a new one can radically change an engine's behavior.


    How Superchargers Work

    Overhal gaskets are parts used for sealing

in automobiles, mainly made of elastomers

    Since the invention of the internal combustion engine, automotive engineers, speed junkies and race car designers have

been searching for ways to boost its power. One way is by installing a supercharger, which forces more air into the

combustion chamber. Learn how superchargers can make an engine more efficient.


    How Turbochargers Work


    When people talk about race cars, or high-performance sports cars, the topic of turbochargers almost always comes up.

Turbochargers use some very cool technology to make an engine more powerful, but the concept is really quite simple. Find out

how turbos increase the speed. The engine repair

is very necessary.


    How Fuel Injection Systems Work


    The last carburetor-equipped car came off the assembly line in 1990. Since then, fuel injectors have been the primary

means of getting gasoline into the engine cylinder so it can combust and you can drive. Find out how fuel-injection systems



    Power Train

    How Manual Transmissions Work

    The cylinder head is mounted on top of the

cylinder block, sealing the cylinder from above and forming the combustion chamber. It is often in contact with high

temperature and high pressure gas, so bear a large thermal and mechanical load.


    If you drive a stick-shift car, then you may have a few questions floating around in your head. Have you ever wondered,

What would happen if I were to accidentally shift into reverse while I am speeding down the freeway? Would the entire

transmission explode? Find out all about manual transmissions.


    How Automatic Transmissions Work


    Automatic transmissions take the work out of shifting. A truly amazing mechanical system, the automatic transmission in a

car accomplishes everything a manual transmission does, but it does it with one set of gears. Learn how the whole setup



    How Clutches Work


    You probably know that any car with a manual transmission has a clutch -- it connects and disconnects the engine and

transmission. But did you know that automatics have clutches, too? Learn how the clutch in your car works, and find out about

some interesting and perhaps surprising places where clutches can be found.


    How CVTs Work


    In a regular transmission, the gears are literal gears -- interlocking, toothed wheels. Continuously variable

transmissions, on the other hand, don't have interlocking gears. The most common type operates on a pulley system. Learn

all about the smooth-operating, ultra-efficient CVT.


    How Differentials Work


    Without a differential, the driven wheels (front wheels on a front-wheel drive car or rear wheels on a rear-wheel drive

car) would have to be locked together, forced to spin at the same speed. Find out how this essential component allows the

wheels to rotate at different speeds.


    Braking System (including braking pads and

braking shoe)


    In the cylinder block of the car engine,

there are several waterways for cooling water circulation, and placed in the front of the car radiator (commonly known as the

water tank) through the water pipe connected to form a large water circulation system, the upper outlet of the engine,

equipped with a water pump, driven by the fan belt,

the engine block waterway hot water pump out, the cold water pumped into.


    A car’s brakes are probably the most critical system on the vehicle -- if they go out, you have a major problem. Thanks

to leverage, hydraulics and friction, braking systems provide incredible stopping power. Find out what happens after you push

the brake pedal.


    How Disc Brakes Work


    Disc brakes are the most common brakes found on a car's front wheels, and they're often on all four. This is the

part of the brake system that does the actual work of stopping the car. Find out all about disc brakes -- even when to

replace the pads.


    How Anti-lock Brakes Work


    Stopping a car in a hurry on a slippery road can be challenging at best and at worst, very, very scary. Anti-lock braking

systems (ABS) help alleviate the danger. Learn how anti-lock brakes prevent skidding, check out what that sputtering is and

find out how effective they really are.


    How Power Brakes Work


    Power brakes are fairly ingenious machines -- they let you stop a car with a simple twitch of your foot. The concept at

the heart of the power braking system is force multiplication -- a whole lot of force multiplication. Get inside the black

cannister that provides the power.


    How Master Cylinders and Combination Valves Work


    We all know that pushing down on the brake pedal slows a car to a stop. We depend on that every day when we drive. But

how does this happen? The master cylinder provides the pressure that engages your car brakes. Learn how the master cylinder

works with the combination valve to make sure you can brake safely.


    Steering, Suspension and Tires

    How Steering Works


    When it comes to crucial automotive systems, steering is right up there with the engine and the brakes. Power steering

systems make the job a whole lot easier, and the internal workings are pretty cool. What happens when you turn your car is

not as simple as you might think. Find out all about car steering systems.


    How Car Suspensions Work


    All of the power generated by a car engine is useless if the driver can't control the car. The job of a car

suspension is enormous: maximize the friction between the tires and the road surface, provide steering stability and ensure

the comfort of the passengers. Learn how car suspensions work and where the design is headed in the future.


    How Tires Work


    In the market for new set of tires? All of the different tire specifications and confusing jargon the tire sales clerks

or "experts" are shouting at you making your head feel like a tire spinning out of control? Find out all about car tires,

including what those sidewall symbols mean!


    How Self-inflating Tires Work


    Self-inflating tires perform two crucial functions: They automatically maintain ideal tire pressure for safety and

performance in standard conditions, and they allow the driver to alter psi on the fly to adjust to changing terrain. Learn

how self-inflating systems like the Hummer's CTIS work.


    How Sequential Gearboxes Work


    Combine the ease of an automatic with the driver control of a manual, and what you've got is a sequential manual

transmission. Instead of having to navigate an H pattern, a simple forward push advances the gear. It's the transmission

used by race cars and an increasing number of high-performance street cars. Learn all about the sequential gearbox.


    How Torque Converters Work


    Cars with an automatic transmission have no clutch that disconnects the transmission from the engine. Instead, they use

an amazing device called a torque converter. Find out all about the torque converter.


    Electrical System

    How Wires, Fuses and Connectors Work


    Wires, fuses and connectors - they may sound like the most mundane parts on your car, but they are essential. Yeah, they

help keep the tunes going for a long ride, and they make reading that map at night a lot easier. But, they're also

necessary for things like the cooling fan in the engine and your anti-lock brakes. Learn why wires, fuses and connectors are

so important!


    How Ignition Systems Work


    A car's ignition system is the key component that helps the engine produce maximum power and minimum pollution. Find

out how much is riding on a well-timed spark.


    How Car Computers Work


    Cars seem to get more complicated with each passing year. Today's cars might have as many as 50 microprocessors on

them. Essentially, you're driving around in a giant computer. Learn all about the various computer systems that control

your car.


    How Windshield Wipers Work


    Without windshield wipers, a rain storm would make cars pretty much useless. What began as a hand-cranked system is now

automatic, and only getting more so: There are now some windshield wipers that can actually sense rain. Learn the mechanics

behind this essential automotive tool.


    Exhaust System

    How Catalytic Converters Work


    A catalytic converter is one of the most important parts of a car's emissions control system. It treats the exhaust

before it leaves the car and removes a lot of the pollution. Learn how catalytic converters reduce pollutants and help you

pass the emissions test.


    How Mufflers Work


    Every car out there has a muffler -- it performs the crucial job of turning thousands of explosions per minute into a

quiet purr. Mufflers use some pretty neat technology to dim the roar of an engine. Learn about the principles that make it



    Other Car Parts

    How Odometers Work


    Mechanical odometers have been counting the miles for centuries. Although they are a dying breed, they are incredibly

cool inside. Learn how this simple device tracks distance and find out about digital odometers.


    How Cooling Systems Work


    A car engine produces so much heat that there is an entire system in your car designed to cool the engine down to its

ideal temperature. In fact, the cooling system on a car driving down the freeway dissipates enough heat to heat two average-

sized houses! Learn all about fluid-based cooling systems.

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