5 of the Most Important Car Parts You Should Know About

Your car is composed of many complex parts that make it run efficiently. Many of these parts aren’t immediately visible. They do their work behind the scenes, so to speak. As such, you may not pay them too much attention. That is, until something goes wrong and your car breaks down.

It’s important for every car owner to at least be familiar with their car’s components. This can help with better maintenance and eventually prolong the lifespan of your vehicle. That being said, here are just five of the most important parts of your car that you should definitely know about:

The Battery (and the Alternator)

Your car’s battery is what makes it start. If it isn’t in good condition, your car won’t turn on. Make sure to clean it regularly, especially the terminals. You can use a clean cloth or wire brush for basic cleaning. If ever you need to jump-start your vehicle, connect the red clamp of the jumper cable to the (+) terminal and the black clamp to the (-) terminal.

Meanwhile, the alternator is what keeps the car’s battery charged while the engine is running. This is why, if you don’t start and/or drive your car for a long time, the battery will get discharged. The alternator is usually located in front or near the front of the engine, and you can easily spot it because it has a white tag. There should also be a serpentine belt looped around the alternator.

The Brakes

A vehicle’s brake system is composed of the following parts: the pedal, the caliper, the light switch, the brake pad, and the rotor. Usually, when something goes wrong with your car’s brakes, the issue is with the pad, rotor, or caliper. You can find the brake pads, rotors, and calipers behind the wheels of your car.

Depending on the model of your vehicle, there will either be four or eight brake pads (either one or two pads per wheel). If there’s always a squeaking, scraping, or screeching sound when you brake, check the brake pads and rotors. They likely need to be replaced. Meanwhile, one indicator that your brake calipers are going bad is when your vehicle “pulls” when you drive. To ensure safety, make sure that your car’s entire brake system is in good working order.

The Radiator

Your car’s radiator is located under the hood. You can easily spot it because it usually has a metallic finish like chrome or aluminium. It’s also placed near the engine because the job of the radiator is to prevent overheating. When the engine’s thermostat detects high temperatures, it triggers the release of the water and coolant in the radiator. These liquids “pick up” the heat, then get sent back into the radiator to cool down. Once the water and coolant is cooled sufficiently, it goes back into the engine to pick up more heat and the process is repeated. This is why you should always ensure the correct level of water and engine coolant in the radiator. If you don’t, the radiator won’t be able to cool down your car’s engine properly.

The Axles

The axles are part of your car’s wheel system. They transfer the power and torque from the engine to the wheels, allowing you to drive, steer, and brake smoothly. The axles also bear the entire weight of your vehicle. If they’re not in good condition, you’ll hear clunking noises coming underneath your vehicle. You’ll also notice excessive vibrations, which can get more intense when you brake or make a turn.

Your car’s axles are connected to the wheels of your car. Most modern vehicles have a split-axle design, which means the wheel on each side of the axles is attached to a separate shaft. This design provides a smoother ride quality, improves traction, and extends tyre lifespan.

The Shock Absorbers

Your car’s suspension system is composed of several parts, which include the shock absorbers. They help maintain stability when you drive on rough, unpaved roads by preventing excessive sway or movement of the car’s body. Shock absorbers also help keep your tyres in contact with the road and minimise tyre wear. Finally, they protect the entire suspension system by dampening the bumps and shocks so that only a minimum amount of impact reaches the suspension.

Failing shock absorbers have plenty of indicators. Some of them include excessive vibrations when driving, nose-diving when you brake, and uneven tyre wear. Do note that you can still drive with bad shock absorbers. However, the ride will be extremely uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous.

You certainly don’t have to be an expert, but knowing about which part is which can help you make a more confident driver. Should something go wrong, you won’t be completely in the dark. Of course, make sure to go to reliable auto parts suppliers to get replacement parts and bring your car to auto mechanics for repairs.

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