5 most important parts of a car
Wheels and Axles
The wheels are one of the most important parts of the car simply because of its important role in safety. Your wheels are the only part of the car that comes into contact with the ground, which means your car should have some good tires (enough tread left, correct tire pressure) to keep you safe while on the road.
A bad tire can cause your car to skid while driving on wet surfaces due to aquaplaning, or even tear or disintegrate while driving. In these instances, it’s very easy to lose control of the vehicle and end up in a mangled wreck.
Next important part would be the axles. The axles transfer power and torque from your engine to your wheels, and they should be able to stand the entire weight of the vehicle and its passengers.
The axles are also used for steering, driving, and braking - meaning they are important for almost every aspect of vehicle use. If an accident, your car’s axle may get bent - which could cause vibrations as you are driving. Similar to tires, driving with a damaged axle could be dangerous as they can break apart at any time.
The car’s battery is in charge of powering all your on board electronic components. Without the battery, your car won’t start. In theory, a car battery has a normal lifespan of about 3 to 4 years under normal conditions. However, this may not be the case in practice as we charge our devices all the time in our cars, we face hot days in Singapore, and we drive short distances which can affect the battery lifespan.
And when you have a weak battery, your car ends up putting additional stress on healthy parts. The charging system, starter motor or starter solenoid can be affected - which is why sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose what exactly the problem is when your car has problems.
How do you know if your battery is healthy? A healthy battery should have at least 12.6 volts or above. When the engine is running, this measurement should be between 13.7 to 14.7 volts.
It’s a good idea to plug in a cigarette charger with a voltage display so that you can constantly monitor your battery’s health.
The job of a car’s transmission is to make sure that the right amount of power goes to your wheels to drive at a given speed. It acts as a mediator between the engine and the wheels, and converts the high power the engine produces into torque (rotational force), which is then transferred to the axles which in turn rotates the wheels. Without the transmission, your car will not be able to move !
Explaining the workings of a transmission can be quite technical and lengthy - so to spare you the details, just know that a transmission is very important so it’s best to keep it healthy. Not to mention that transmission problems can be very expensive to fix !
Some common telltale signs of a bad transmission include rough shifts, where you feel a ‘thud’ sound or the gear changes aren’t smooth as they should be. Another sign is when there is delayed engagement. For example, you shift the gear from P to D, and you have to rev it and wait awhile for it to start moving. While on the road, the car may feel sluggish or you may find it difficult to get it going.
Engine and Engine Oil
The engine is pretty self explanatory. It’s practically the biggest thing you see when you open up your car’s bonnet. The engine is one of the most complex and expensive parts of the car, and is also the heart of the car. Everything else won’t work without it. So how do you keep your engine healthy?
You should change your engine oil regularly. Especially for turbocharged cars, which have a higher frequency of oil changes. Some other parts to take note of are the oil filter, air filter and fuel filter - these filters help the engine to operate efficiently.
While you’re at it - spark plugs and ignition coils are also some of the things you should keep in mind as they can cause engine misfiring. However, these parts do not have to changed as frequently as the oil and oil filter.
What is a coolant? As you know - and engine can get very hot when in operation. A coolant is what helps to keep the engine - well, cool. It circulates throughout the engine to maintain the correct operating temperature of certain components, and prevents the engine from overheating.
So what happens when your coolant is low, or worst yet - empty? This is where a whole host of expensive problems can begin. Your engine may overheat - which can cause some internal damage to critical components like the pistons. Other affected parts can include the water pump, head gasket and the cylinder head.
However - a lot of modern cars these days come equipped with an engine cut off feature. The on board computer can cut off the engine and switch if off when it detects that the temperature is getting too high, to prevent any damage to the engine. Most cars also come with an engine temperature gauge, that you can use to identify if the engine is too hot. Some cars also come with a coolant level check light, to inform you when your coolant level is too low.