Basic Car Parts and Their Specific Functions and Purposes

If you ever notice that something is off with your vehicle, the first thing you do is probably take it to the nearest service center. However, it would be a big help if you know how to maintain your car yourself. It would be wise to check the diagram of different car parts for you to know the location of the most important parts of your vehicle. 

Take a look at the different parts of a car for you to have a more in-depth discussion with the service technician and how more about proper vehicle maintenance.

AC Compressor

AC compressor is a car part located in the engine compartment. This is found on one side and attached to serpentine drive belt. Freon is cycled through in the AC compressor to provide your vehicle with cool air.

Car parts: AC Compressor
AC compressor is a car part for AC system

If you like to use the AC system of your car during hot summer days, you want the compressor to be in its tiptop condition. You will be able to tell if there is damage in the compressor if there is no cold air coming through air vents. The compressor may also produce bothersome and loud noises during operation.  


A device that generates electricity, the alternator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy in alternating current form. This is used for supplying power to the electrical system of your car together with the battery. The car battery is also recharged by the alternator with the use of mechanical energy produced through the motion of the car parts.

Video: How to Test an Alternator

If the battery looks swollen and it doesn’t work, there might be a faulty voltage in the alternator and caused overcharging of the battery. 


The axle is in charge of power transfer to the wheels from the engine. This is a critical car part if you like to turn, brake, or move. You will be able to tell if there is something wrong with your axles if they produce loud clunking sounds. You will notice severe vibrations in your car, particularly when you brake or turn.

Video: How to replace a car part CV axle in your Car


Car battery can be considered as a crucial car part. This is responsible for turning on your vehicle in the first place. In most cars, this can be found under the hood and can be identified with the + and – symbols. If you need to jump-start your car, you have to connect the jumper cable’s red clam to the + symbol with the black clamp connected to the – symbol. 


The brake system of your car is made up of several components. There is the rotor, pad, light switch, brake pedal, and caliper. More often than not, if there is something wrong with your brakes, this is because something is wrong with the rotor, pad, or caliper. 

Brake calipers can be found at the back or front of the vehicle but these can also be behind the wheel. The brake pads can also be located behind the wheel and after some time, this will start wearing down. A pad that is on the final leg of its life will create screeching or loud sounds whenever you brake. 

The brake rotor is the part found alongside the pad and caliper and this is exposed to lots of heat when braking. Braking will be impaired once the rotors fall apart. Make sure that the rotors are replaced in pairs to always stay safe. 

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converter is the automotive exhaust system component. This is made of stainless steel and contains a catalyst to reduce the carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbon in tailpipe emissions. This is used to eliminate pollutants so that exhaust gasses won’t cause harm to the planet. 


The muffle is one of the car parts found in the exhaust system. This helps keep the system quiet every time you go driving. The muffler can be found between the engine in the tailpipe at the back and in the front. See to it that muffler issues are repaired once you notice them since a failure in total catalytic converter can lead to expensive repair bills. 


The radiator is the heat exchanger being used for removing heat from the cooling system’s coolant to prevent overheating of your car’s engine. Hot coolant gets routed through here where the coolant exchanges heat with passing air. 

For general radiator maintenance, coolant levels should be checked twice a year. It can take a day to replace a radiator but you can do this job on your own. You might also want to check the repair manual of your car before you do so since every vehicle is a bit different. 

Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers are car parts that can help maintain the stability of your car every time you are driving over uneven roads. These absorbers are found on the underside of the vehicle. It is necessary to replace them right away to prevent additional wear and tear to the suspension system of your car.

Car converter

The car converter acts as a current converter from 12 V to 230 V. It allows you to connect electrical equipment to power the car battery.


Transmission refers to the gearing device of a car that offers variable ratios between the differential output and the engine output. Automotive transmissions are more complicated than bicycle transmissions. However, these two have the similar basic function of letting the driver choose larger or smaller gears to improve driving conditions with no need to work the engine too hard. Transmissions come in two types. 

The first one is an automatic transmission. This transmission is where gear ratios get changed automatically with the use of ATF or automatic transmission fluid. Some of these automatic transmissions are CVT or continuously variable or shiftless transmissions that can seamlessly change through a continuous range of effective gear ratios. 

The second type is a manual transmission, which is a gearing device manually shifted in the power train allowing variation in the relationship between road speed and engine speed. 


Even simple maintenance now and then can work wonders to avoid major issues in the near future. When it comes to your car windshield, ensure that it is always in great shape. It is easy to take your car’s windshield for granted. After all, it is always there and it is sturdy enough, right? However, just like other parts of your car, your windshield needs and deserves all the TLC it can get.

If something feels off with any of these car parts or with the overall functionality of your vehicle, it would be better to let a professional check it for you so you can always stay on the safe side every time you hit the roads. 

As you are aware, the powertrain of your car is comprised of a variety of belts, each of which has a specific purpose. For instance, the belt that controls distribution can be distinguished from the belt that controls the alternator. To learn more, read the article The basics of car straps and what you have to know about them.

Considering the critical role that fuel pumps play to make cars move, it is a part of your vehicle that you should be more familiar with. Please continue reading below to learn more about fuel pumps, what happens when they go out, and telltale signs of bad or faulty fuel pumps. What Happens When Your Fuel Pump Malfunctions?

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