The Anatomy of a Car

We talk a lot about “how to check this” and “what’s the best way to maintain that” but we realized that we toss around a lot of vocabulary and want to be sure everyone understands the fundamental parts of their vehicle. Time for an anatomy class!


With all the moving parts under the hood of a vehicle, keeping the engine cool is a tall task. Though it doesn’t do any of the heavy lifting, the radiator is as important as any other engine component since it helps absorb heat from coolant and regulate the engine’s temperature. When the engine hits near excessive temperatures, a mix of coolant and water is released from the radiator, which then absorbs the engine’s heat. The liquid combination is then sent back into the radiator where the coolant is able to cool down. One common issue surrounding a radiator over time is the threat of leaks. If coolant begins to leak, the radiator cannot effectively transfer enough coolant to remove heat properly. This could lead to your vehicle overheating.


Considering the amount of moving parts, it’s amazing that most vehicles are as quiet as they are. This is due in large part to the muffler, a metal structure that sits at the back of vehicles. It’s comprised of interior pipes and a chamber that restricts the intense noise of a vehicle.

Some auto enthusiasts view common mufflers to be a hindrance to vehicle performance since they restrict the flow of exhaust gases from the engine to the exit of the muffler. This increases back pressure and reduces engine efficiency and power. Several exhaust systems exist to allow greater power, but come with the trade-off of higher noise output.


The transmission is also known as a gearbox since it contains a number of gears that transfer power from the engine to the wheels of a vehicle. As the speed of a vehicle increases, the gears must be shifted to accommodate. Transmissions exist in two types: automatic and manual. The majority of vehicles manufactured now have an automatic transmission, which allows the gears inside the transmission to shift systematically as speed rises. Manual transmissions on the hand allow drivers to physically shift from one gear to the next.


If the parts mentioned above are the bricks of a car, then the chassis is the foundation. Not only is the chassis where the engine, brakes, axel, and other major components of a vehicle are bolted and protected, it’s also built to reduce vibration and noise in the vehicle. Trucks and cars have different styles of chassis to help support the structure of the vehicle.


Any questions? Give us a call and we’ll walk you through other parts of your vehicle that you’re curious about.