For most Americans, owning a vehicle or a couple is par for the course. You can see that through the number of registered vehicles, which topped 280 million in 2020. It’s not a big shock since most people live far enough from their jobs that driving a car isn’t optional, but a necessity.

Yet, for all that car ownership, there is a much smaller number of people who have a handle on how a car actually operates. They put gas in the car, take it in for the occasional tune-up, and that’s it. Have you ever wondered, “How do cars work?’

If so, keep reading for a quick guide to what makes cars go.

Car Engines

Car engines are the heart of your automotive machine. The engine ties in to almost every other system in your vehicle, either mechanically or electrically. Most cars on the road still rely on internal combustion engines.

In essence, your engine draws gasoline or diesel from the fuel system, then ignites it. This series of combustions drives pistons, which turn the crankshaft.

Fuel System

The fuel system in a car typically consists of a fuel tank, fuel line, and fuel pump. The pump pulls fuel up from the tank and pushes it through the fuel line to the motor. Although a fairly simple system, a failure anywhere inside it can render your car useless.

Transmission

Your transmission is the connective tissue between your engine and your wheels. It essentially transfers the power from the engine to your wheels pushes the car into motion.

Your transmission also determines the gear in which your car operates. In automatic vehicles, the car largely decides for you. With a manual transmission, you decide.

Lower gears typically provide more torque, while higher gears allow for more speed.

Electrical System

All types of cars depend on the electrical system, especially with the advancement of car technology like keyless entry and ignition, Bluetooth connectivity. The car battery provides some level of power for basic operations, but a running motor supplies most of the electricity for ongoing electrical needs.

Even the motor for your window or powered seat adjustment depends on this system. Of course, those small car motors can fail. You may need a source like AssunMotor for replacements.

Brakes

The other main system in your vehicle is the brake system. The brakes help you bring the vehicle to a safe stop. Most modern vehicles use disc brakes, although you will still find drum brakes on some cars and trucks.

How Do Cars Work?

The question of how do cars work can get extraordinarily detailed. For the average consumer, though, the essentials remain straightforward.

The engine uses fuel to provide the mechanical power and electrical power for regular operation. It distributes mechanical power through the transmission. It distributes electrical power through the electrical system.

The brakes are a critical safety feature that lets you bring the car to a stop.

Looking for more insight into car technology? Check out the posts in our Auto Technology section.

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