The major components of modern automobiles are the power system, the power train, support systems, control systems, electrical systems, and safety systems, which are explained below.
The power system includes the engine, the fuel supply, the exhaust system, and the heating and cooling systems. The most common engines used today are internal-combustion engines that burn gasoline or diesel fuel. Gasoline engines are used most often in passenger automobiles because they are small and light weight for the power they produce. Diesel engines are more common in large trucks and buses because they are larger and heavier than gasoline engines and can better withstand heavy loads. Also, diesel fuel is less expensive than gasoline. The engine is powered by the burning of a mixture of fuel and air, and produces the power that turns the wheels that makes the automobile move. The exhaust system carries exhaust fumes outside of the automobile into the air and reduces engine noise. The cooling system of an automobile cools off the engine that gets extremely hot when the automobile is running. The heating system provides heat to the automobile and, today, most automobiles have air conditioners.
The major parts of the power train are the transmission, one or more drive shafts, gears, and axles. These are the parts of an automobile that cause the wheels to turn. The transmission transfers power from the engine to the drive shaft and uses gears of different sizes to determine the speed of the automobile. The drive shaft causes axles to rotate and turn the wheels.
Support systems include the suspension system, wheels, and tires. The suspension system contains springs that move up and down and allow a smoother ride on bumpy roads.
Steering and brakes make up the control system of an automobile. The steering wheel controls the front wheels so the automobile can be turned in different directions. Brakes allow the driver to reduce the speed or stop an automobile.
The electrical system provides the electricity necessary for starting the automobile and for operating the headlights, turn signals, horn, radio, windshield wipers, and other accessories. A battery and an alternator supply electricity. The battery stores electricity for starting the automobile and the alternator generates electric current while the automobile is running. The main safety features built into automobiles are safety belts, air bags, and bumpers.
This website is designed to be viewed using Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 or above.