The Components of a Car

The Components of a Car

Cars are wheeled motor vehicles designed for transporting people and cargo, while also serving as recreational vehicles for many.

Before purchasing either a new or preowned car, always seek preapproval for financing and shop around to find the best price. Take a test drive and review its history report as part of this process.


The engine of your vehicle is its heart; it combines complex parts that transform fuel into power that drives its movement forward.

Modern cars utilize internal combustion engines powered by gasoline or petrol. Fuel combined with air is ignited via spark plugs to produce gases that expand, driving pistons up into their respective cylinders. Rods connect these pistons with a crankshaft that turns your wheels.

Car engines come in all shapes and sizes, but all share a basic layout. Cylinders dictate which engine type it is; most commonly found is straight or inline configuration while V engines consist of two collections of cylinders arranged like two wings of a V-6 or 8 engine.


Transmissions are responsible for moving engine power from its source to your car’s wheels, and enable you to utilize its energy at different levels – staying in low gear when driving slowly or shifting up into higher gears when needing to accelerate quickly.

Your transmission’s function is critically important and if its integrity has been compromised, you will likely notice by how your car doesn’t move as expected and hear or feel an audible clunk when shifting gears. A properly functioning transmission requires smooth and accurate functioning for optimal functioning.

Manual transmissions require drivers to manually push a clutch to disconnect their engine from the transmission and shift into another gear level; more modern vehicles have automatic transmissions which do this automatically for them.


A driveshaft is the component that transmits torque from your engine to the wheels of your vehicle and connects components that cannot be directly linked via transmission.

Performance driveshafts feature internal splines that connect to either a U-joint or CV joint and must be precisely balanced prior to installation. A poorly balanced driveshaft may create vibrations felt by passengers and stress the transmission and other components, possibly even leading to expensive repairs down the line.

If your vehicle experiences shuddering when accelerating, your driveshaft could be damaged and should be examined immediately by our team at AAMCO Bay area. A defective driveshaft prevents wheels from turning properly and affects its drivability – potentially rendering the car difficult or impossible to use safely.


A differential takes power generated from your car engine and distributes it between its front and rear wheels, enabling them to spin at different speeds as you turn. Furthermore, it converts rotational forces from each wheel into proportionate amounts of torque for each axle.

Open differentials are the go-to design, as they’re easy and reliable, using a powered pinion gear engaged with a fixed ring gear to deliver power to both axles.

Some cars, particularly performance vehicles, utilize limited-slip differentials in order to more closely regulate the force that’s sent to each wheel and reduce tire spinoff due to loss of traction. These differentials come equipped with clutch plates which engage when necessary in order to create resistance, offering better control and decreasing risk.


Car steering systems must transmit steering wheel input precisely and effortlessly to your car’s front wheels – this feat can be achieved using gears and the laws of mechanical advantage.

Modern cars typically employ hydraulic power assisted steering, wherein a pump powered by the engine pumps hydraulic fluid into a piston that moves according to how you turn the wheel. This system allows drivers to easily steer at high speeds while confidently maneuvering corners.

Steering correctly is essential to the wellbeing of yourself, your passengers and other road/track users. An effective steering technique requires holding the steering wheel with hands at either 10-2 or 9-3 positions while steering smoothly without abrupt or jarring movements.

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