A Basic Overview on Your Car’s Parts | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

A Basic Overview on Your Car’s Parts

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If you need a quick parts lesson, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to provide you with an overview on basic car parts and how they work together to keep you safe on the road. Are you ready to take notes? Let’s get started.

Most of us get in our cars each day. We drive to work, to the store, to grab food, and all sorts of other errands. Our cars help us get from point A to point B, most of the time with no problem. When we don’t have problems, it’s easy to forget that there are a number of parts that keep our vehicles operating on a day-to-day basis. However, once something goes wrong, you’ll begin to wish you knew, at least the basics, of what keeps your car running. That’s where we come in! We’re here to help brush you up on the basic parts of your car — and how to notice when something might not be right.

A Basic Overview of Your Car’s Parts 

The car is an intricate design that has lots of moving parts that keep it going. For the sake of time, we’re rounding up the key parts to give you a quick lesson:

1. Engine

This is the life of your vehicle. Using energy, the combustion engine burns fuel to create heat, which then does the work to run your car. The engine features multiple parts like the timing chain, crankshaft, spark plugs, cylinder heads, valves and pistons. 

2. Battery 

The battery delivers electricity to your car’s electrical components. Without electricity, the car wouldn’t even turn on. The battery gives a boost of electricity to put all electrical aspects of your car to work. After it starts, the battery then stabilizes the voltage to keep the engine going. 

3. Radiator 

Your car’s radiator keeps the engine cool by removing heat from coolant before it pumps back through the engine. In short, the radiator keeps things from overheating. 

4. Alternator

The alternator is a part of the electrical system in your vehicle. It charges your car’s battery and provides power to the electrical system while your car is on. This is what keeps your car’s battery fully charged. 

5. Axles

The front axle is a part of the suspension system. This part is located where the front wheel hubs are attached. The front axle is what helps you steer your car. Without it, you’d be all over the road. The car also has rear axles, located where the 

6. Brakes 

We all know about the brakes, because without them, we wouldn’t be able to safely drive. The brakes are found on all four wheels, and are the most important safety system on your car. 

7. Front Steering + Suspension

Front steering and suspension helps improve the ride and how your vehicle drives on the road. Most systems include shocks/struts, ball joints, tie rod ends, rack and pinion steering system, and idler/pitman arms. 

8. Transmission 

The transmission is filled with gears and gear trains that effectively use the engine’s torque to change gears and power the vehicle. 

9. Catalytic converter

This is what controls emissions from your car. It takes harmful gases and pollutants and turns them into less harmful emissions before they exit the car’s exhaust system. 

10. Muffler

The muffler is what quiets things down. It keeps the exhaust system quiet by using baffles of other materials that reduce or muffle the sound. 

11. Tailpipe

The car’s tailpipe is what carries exhaust fumes from the muffler to outside of the vehicle. 

12. Fuel tank

Your car’s fuel tank is another obvious important part of your car that you interact with often, each time you stop at a gas station to fill up. It’s typically found before the rear axle, and it’s what holds the gasoline that you pump into your car. 

13. Rear suspension 

Similar to the front suspension, the rear also contributes to the quality of your ride. They’re most commonly made up of shocks, coil springs, ball joints, control arms, and CV joints. 

Signs of a Problem

While some problems are easier to diagnose than others, there are common signs you can look out for to notice when a problem happens to any of those parts above — or any other part of your car. Even if you know nothing about cars, you can use your senses to spot problems. Nerdwallet suggests looking out for: 

  • The smell of gas
  • Shaking, pulsating, or vibration 
  • Seeing smoke while you drive
  • Smelling sulfur or rotten eggs 
  • Loud noises while turning 
  • The engine not starting 

Depend on Us

If you notice any of those problems mentioned above, call Scott’s Auto. Not only can problems happen with the parts we discussed today, but the engine has dozens of parts that work to keep your car running. If your car isn’t running as optimally as it should, it’s time to bring your car in for a tune up. Make an appointment now or just stop on by one of our two convenient locations in the Fort Collins and Loveland area. 

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