Confused about the functioning of your car? Our car anatomy section helps you understand the complete structure and working of different parts of your car.
The disc, or rotor, is fixed to the wheel hub. The brake pads rest on either side of the rotor on the caliper’s arms.
Drum – The drum, to which the wheel is attached, revolves around two brake shoes.
Driver presses 4WD switch, which triggers electromagnetically or vacuum-controlled clutch in the transfer case.
Clutch engages drive sprocket to rear driveshaft. This drives the drive chain, which rotates the front driveshaft.
Automatic locking hubs engage. Powering the front wheels.
When driver presses rear-wheel- drive switch, clutch slides forward and disengages drive sprocket, halting front driveshaft and axles.
Automatic locking hubs then disengages; front wheels no longer power car.
In rear-wheel- drive mode, the transmission drives only the rear driveshaft. Click the steps below for details or 4-wheels drive to shift.
The transfer case directs power to the front wheels. Click the steps below for details.
Expanded here to show its inner workings, the alternator is driven by the running engine through a pulley, which turns the rotor. The rotor includes the field coil encased by opposing pole pieces.
On each side of the field coil, a spring-loaded carbon electrode called a brush is pressed against a conductive slip ring. This allows an excitation current from the battery to run through the coil as it rotates.
The current flowing through the field coil creates an electromagnetic force. Pole pieces encase the field coil in clamshell fashion, becoming magnetized at opposite polarities - - north (N) and south (S).
Because the opposing pole pieces have interspersed fingers, like two sides of a zipper, the resulting magnetic field that spins within the fixed stator alternates in polarity - - (N)-(S)- (N)-(S).
The moving magnetic field generates electricity – alternating current (AC) - - in the coiled-wire “winding” of the stator. The rectifier converts AC from the windings into direct current (DC) for the car’s use.
The intake valve opens and the piston travels downward, drawing the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder.
The intake valve closes and the piston travels upward, compressing the fuel/air mixture.
The spark plug fires, igniting the fuel/air mixture. The explosion drives the piston downward.
The exhaust valve opens and the piston travels upward, expelling the exhaust gases.
Multi-point, or “port”, injection systems use one injector for each cylinder. Fuel sprays toward intake valve port(s).
Throttle body-injection systems use one injector inside the throttle body. The fuel/air mixture flows through the intake manifold to all cylinders’ intake ports.
Sound waves, like water waves, can combine and become stronger – or eliminate each other. This reverse-flow muffler design allows for some of the strongest low-frequency sound waves to cancel each other.
The refrigerant, often referred to by the trade name Freon, passes through the compressor (driven by a belt from the engine), where it is pressurized and becomes hotter than the surrounding air.
As refrigerant flows though the condenser, located in front of the radiator, its heat is drawn away by air blown past it by the cooling fan and it changes from a vapor to a liquid.
The refrigerant passes through the expansion valve, which lowers its pressure, turning it back into a vapor that is colder than the surrounding air. Step 4 – With the refrigerant now at its coldest point, air blown through the evaporator is cooled and then enters the cabin to cool the passengers.
With the refrigerant now at its coldest point, air blown through the evaporator is cooled and then enters the cabin to cool the passengers.
Moisture from the air collects on the cold evaporator and drips down and out of the car. This process removes humidity from the air blown into the cabin.
The refrigerant passes through the accumulator/dryer, which removes damaging moisture and routed vaporized refrigerant to the compressor to repeat the cycle.
The expansion valve aperture varies with refrigerant temperature, a measure to prevent evaporator freezing. If the thermostat’s sensor does detect 32 degree F, its switch turns the compressor and cooling fan off.
Power rack & pinion steering is a power-assisted version of the manual type. The pump pressurizes the steering fluid.
Rack & pinion steering is one of the most popular types and is a common basis for power steering as well.
Independent suspension allows one wheel to move up and down with minimal effect on the other wheels.
Non-independent suspension employs a single, solid axle to which both wheels are attached. A shock sustained by one wheel is likely to affect the opposite wheel and the chassis.
When the wheel rolls over a bump, the shock absorber (and spring) are compressed.
The piston forces oil in the cylinder downward and through the base valve. This slows and limits the shock and spring compression.
With larger or sharper bumps, the oil cannot pass through the base valve fast enough and oil is pressurized.
The greater and sharper the bump, the more the oil is pressurized and resists the motion of the piston.
As the shock expands after the bump, the oil above the piston provides resistance, preventing the car from entering a prolonged bounce cycle.
Potholes and dips are handled by the same action as the shock absorber extends, with the oil flowing through a valve in the piston head.