Basic Principles

All car engines use the same basic principle: The combustion of fuel and air to produce a rotational force that will turn the wheels to move a car.

While these basic principles that drove the original car engines are still in use today, modern car engines have been developed to meet current power and efficiency needs. Petrol (or diesel) and air are ignited in a cylinder tube.

In the cylinder, a piston is forced up and down by the explosion. The piston is attached to the crankshaft which, in turn, rotates. The crankshaft goes out to the gearbox which transfers that power to the car’s wheels.

With modern engines these basics still apply. The complexities of over head cam-shafts, through to catalytic converters and computerised diagnostics, does not alter this.

Likewise the basic components – the gearbox, the carburettor, the shock absorber – have greatly improved in design and efficiency, but the way they work has changed little.

This site is aimed at giving a rundown of the main components of a car and what each part does, and how this relates to the overall drive of your vehicle. Included are tips and hints and helpful suggestions where appropriate.