By the age of sixteen, many individuals are ready to hit the road driving. That memorable moment when a teen first gets a driver’s license can be extremely liberating and exciting, to say the least. Over a single year, most Americans spend over 100 hours behind the wheel. With so much time spent driving, could you honestly say that you know how your car works? If you are like many other individuals, you probably have an idea of a few things, but you may not understand most of what goes on in your vehicle. Here are a few of the basics to help you understand how your car actually works.
A Car’s Engine
When asked the question of how a car works, you may answer something like, “well, it has an engine,” and then you may start rambling off about fuel and horsepower. While these things are true, there is a little bit more to an engine than you might guess. To understand all the components of a car’s engine, you may want to seek out a guide strictly on engines.
Every car has an engine. Some engines are powered by electricity, but the majority of them are fuel powered. The power created by the engine is necessary for a vehicle to move. In general, smaller engines produce less power than larger engines, but this is not always the case. Torque, which is produced by the engine, is what helps a car to move when it is at a complete stop. Horsepower, on the other hand, is what keeps the car in motion.
The two basic types of transmission are manual or automatic. You have probably seen both types in a vehicle, if not actually driven them. Manual transmissions require the use of a clutch and a shifter to change between gears. Automatic transmissions, on the other hand, shift gears automatically so that the driver needs only to press the gas. In either case, different gears are best suited for different speeds, giving the car optimum performance.
As an engine turns, the transmission rotates. The driveshaft is a long metal shaft that is used to connect the transmission to the axle. In essence, the driveshaft is what allows the power from the engine to reach the wheels. Cars that use front wheel drive don’t need a long driveshaft because the axle spins with only the transmission.
The axle of a car has a ring and a pinion gear. These are set with a ratio that works in conjunction with the gears of the transmission and the size of the tires. As the driveshaft rotates the ring and pinion gears, the axle shafts rotate. The car’s wheels are located at the ends of these shafts. The power transmitted from the engine eventually travels to the wheels, finally causing the car to move.
Learning the basic functions of various car parts can give you a much greater understanding of what is happening when you press your foot down on the gas pedal. As you have seen, there are many different parts that make a vehicle run. Each unique part makes up the complex processes that allow you to drive your car.
Lawrence Reaves writes for Woodfins Auto Parts, a guaranteed used auto parts company offering parts for a wide array of makes and models of cars. For more information on Woodfins Auto Parts and the products they offer, click here.