The basic parts of a car explained with a diagram

Do you ever consider the operation of your car? Which car parts are the most crucial, do you know? A responsible vehicle owner must have fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the vehicle they operate. Here are the key car parts you need to know about in case you experience any unforeseen problems or, even worse, a car accident.

The basic parts of a car explained with a diagram

Names of basic car parts

The following listed below are the various parts of a car:

  • Gear Lever.
  • Seat belt.
  • Steering wheel.
  • Windscreen
  • Windshield wipers.
  • Taillights/Turn signal.
  • Hood/Engine.
  • Trunk
  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Battery
  • Alternator
  • Radiator
  • Front Axle
  • Front Steering and Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Catalytic Converter
  • Muffler
  • Fuel gauge
  • Temperature gauge
  • Car trip meter
  • Rev counter
  • Wheel/Tire
  • Tailpipe
  • Fuel Tank
  • Rear Axle
  • Rear Suspension
  • License Plate/Bumper Stickers


car parts diagram

Read more: 30 basic parts of a car engine

Four major parts of a car

A car is made up of numerous parts. An automobile, however, has four fundamental components.  In addition to these four fundamental components, an automobile also has controls and auxiliary. The controls are used to regulate how the vehicle moves. The auxiliaries are extra parts designed to make the car’s user more comfortable. The four major parts of a car include:

  • The Chassis
  • The Engine
  • Transmission System
  • Body



The Chassis

The frame, suspension, axles, and wheels make up the majority of an automobile’s chassis. The frame might take the shape of a typical chassis or it might use unit construction. The fundamental skeleton of the vehicle is formed by the frame in a traditional chassis frame. The engine and body of the vehicle are supported by the frame. Steel square or box-shaped pieces that are strong enough to withstand the weight of the body and other components are used to build the frame.

Several parts are often welded or riveted together to form the final shape of the car frame. Rubber mounting pads that dampen vibrations and absorb them are used to mount the engine to the frame. Passengers are shielded from vibrational discomfort due to vibration dampening and absorption. Springs are used to supporting the structure on the wheel axles. The chassis is the name of the entire assembly.

Read more: Understanding car chassis and its importance

The Engine

The engine, which supplies power to drive the car, is a power generator, power plant, or motor. Your car’s engine is its heart. It is a sophisticated device designed to transform the heat from burning gas into the force that rotates the vehicle’s wheels. It is made up of two basic components: the cylinder head, which can be removed, and the lower, heavier cylinder block, which serves as a housing for the engine’s major moving parts.

The air and fuel mixture’s explosive force propels the pistons in the majority of automotive engines. A crankshaft to which they are connected is turned by the pistons. The crankshaft’s rotation causes the wheels of the car to move. Another type of engine, often referred to as a rotary valve, rotating combustion engine, or Wankel engine is used to power some automobiles. Additionally, the rotary valve engine sucks in a fuel and air mixture that is compressed and burned.

The rear wheels are ultimately driven by a shaft that is attached to a motor that rotates within an oval cylinder. The clutch and gearbox are mounted behind the engine, which is typically mounted at the front of the car. The engine, clutch, and gearbox are all built as a single unit.

An engine requires a lot of systems to function. To lessen friction and stop engine wear, a lubrication system is required. To keep the engine’s temperature within safe ranges, a cooling system is necessary. A fuel system is necessary to supply the engine with the right amount of fuel and air.

An ignition system must ignite the mixture of fuel and air inside the cylinder at precisely the appropriate moment. Finally, an electrical system is necessary to run the cranking motor that starts the engine and to supply electricity for the accessories that are powered by the engine.

Read more: Understanding Lean Burn Engines

Transmission System

The transmission’s primary function is to change the torque that the engine applies to the wheels as needed. By altering the gearing ratio between the driving shaft and engine output shaft, this is accomplished. A car’s gearbox is called a transmission. It is comparable to the bicycle’s chain and gear shifter mechanism. These parts are always mounted directly on the engine so that the belt and gear system they are connected to can efficiently convert the engine’s combustion power into physical velocity.

To maintain an adequate engine RPM or “revolutions per minute,” a transmission adjusts its gear ratio based on the vehicle’s speed and accelerator input, or how far down the car’s pedal is pushed. The transmission System help reduces fuel consumption and prevents your engine from being overloaded while the gears spin.

Read more: Working principle of the manual and automatic transmission system


The bodywork’s primary function is to accommodate the driver and passengers while providing adequate wind and weather protection. The type of automobile and its price have an impact on how comfortable it is.

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The original autos’ bodies were essentially just platforms with seats attached. Over time, it transformed into a sealed space with a roof and windows. The body of a contemporary automobile is made of sheet steel that has been bent into the necessary shapes using enormous punch presses. The majority of the body parts are welded together to create a compact, rattling-free unit. Additionally, body style can be used to categorize different types of vehicles.

Read more: 25 car body parts names and their functions

Other parts of a car include

Steering system

The vehicle’s direction can be changed via the steering system. The front wheels should have a propensity to return to the straight-ahead position following a turn, and any steering mechanism must be precise and simple to operate. To boost the steering effort supplied by the driver, this system uses a gear mechanism known as steering gear. The driver doesn’t have to exert much effort when using this system, which makes maneuvering the car relatively simple.

Not only on curved roads but also when maneuvering on congested traffic roads, does a car need to steer. The car may be directed or turned left or right, thanks to the steering mechanism. Additionally, modern steering wheels frequently include built-in auxiliary features like cruise control, music system selection, and volume. Even some steering wheels can be heated electrically.

Read more: Understanding automobile steering wheels

Lubrication system

There are several moving parts in an engine, and as they rub against one another, they eventually wear out. To avoid the wear-causing metal-to-metal contact between these moving parts, the engine circulates oil between them. Power loss due to friction is reduced when parts are lubricated because they may move more freely with less resistance.

A lubricant’s secondary purposes include cooling and serving as a sealing medium to stop leaks. Finally, a thin layer of lubrication on the cylinder walls aids in the sealing of the rings, increasing engine compression.

Read more: Understanding Engine Lubrication System

Cooling system

The temperature of the engine parts rises as a result of the combustion of fuel and air inside the cylinder. The performance of the engine and the longevity of the engine parts are directly impacted by this rise in temperature. The cooling system maintains the engine’s working temperature. The technology is created to avoid both overheating and overcooling regardless of the driving circumstances.

Read more: Understanding Cooling System in Internal Combustion Engines

Ignition system

The ignition system’s function is to aid in the complete combustion of fuel in each of the engine’s cylinders at the appropriate time, whether through a high voltage spark or self-ignition.

To generate power, the fuel that has been injected into the combustion chamber must be ignited. This is accomplished in a spark-ignition engine using an electric spark. Because the ignition is influenced by the compression of the mixture to high pressure, the compression-ignition engine does not require a separate ignition system.

Read more: Understanding the working of Battery ignition system

Electrical system

A starting motor and all the accessories are powered by the electrical system of the engine. A battery, an alternator, a starting motor, an ignition coil, and a heater make up the bulk of the electrical system.

Read more: Understanding vehicle electrical system


The zap of energy required to activate electrical components is provided by your car battery. That’s some serious accountability. You’ve probably observed that your automobile won’t start without a battery.

Let’s examine the operation of that potent small box:

Your car operates as a result of a chemical reaction: By providing voltage to the starter, your battery transforms chemical energy into the electrical energy required to run your car.

Maintain a constant electric current: Your battery not only supplies the energy needed to start your car, but it also maintains the voltage (another word for the energy supply) so that your engine can continue to run. The battery is under a lot of stress. The “small box that could” is what it is.

Read more: Understanding battery used in automobiles


The alternator keeps your automobile alive when the engine is running, however, the battery is necessary to start your car when it is not functioning. The majority of your car’s electronic parts, such as the headlights, electric steering, power windows, windshield wipers, heated seats, dashboard gauges, and radio, are powered by the alternator while you’re moving or idle.

All of them receive direct current (DC) electricity from the alternator. Your car’s battery is also charged while you’re driving thanks to your alternator. By converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, the alternator operates. When your engine is running, it drives a drive belt that is suspended from an alternator pulley. A set of magnets are spun around a coil by the alternator’s rotor shaft, which is turned by the pulley.

Alternating current (AC) is produced by these rotating magnets and circulated through the coil to the rectifier of the alternator. Your car’s electrical systems are turned on by the rectifier, which transforms that AC power into DC power.

Read more: Understanding alternator


A radiator helps in the engine’s overheating removal. It is a component of the cooling system for the engine, which also consists of a liquid coolant, hoses for circulating the coolant, a fan, and a thermostat to track coolant temperature. Through the hoses, the coolant moves from the radiator through the engine to dissipate extra engine heat before returning to the radiator.

When the coolant returns to the radiator, thin metal fins let the hot liquid pass through while releasing heat to the outside air. This process is aided by cool air flowing into the radiator through the car’s grille, and when the car isn’t moving, as while you’re sitting in traffic, the system’s fan will push air to help lower the temperature of the heated coolant and blow the hot air out of the vehicle.

Read more: Understanding Automobile Radiators


The engine’s output is transferred to the wheels of the vehicle by the power train. The clutch (on manual transmission cars), gearbox (a set of gears that increases the engine’s turning effort to propel the car), driveshaft, differential, and rear axle make up this component.

Read more: Understanding powertrain and drivetrain


The manual gearbox system needs a clutch to momentarily decouple the engine from the wheels. When changing the gear ratio or coming to a complete stop, such a power train disengagement from the engine is needed.

Read more: Understanding automobile clutch


The gearbox and differential unit are connected via the driving shaft, often known as the propeller shaft. The ends of the driveshafts contain universal joints.

Read more: Different types of Chain Drive


The differential’s function is to distribute the power sent from the rear axle shaft to the propeller shaft. When the car turns or hits a ditch, it enables the rear wheels to be driven at various speeds.

Read more: Understanding automobile differential


Road wheels are mounted on shafts called axles. Through these axles, the necessary drive is delivered to the road wheels.

Forward Axle. This axle, which is a component of the suspension system and is situated in the front of the car, helps in steering and absorbs shocks from the road’s irregular surface. The beam, swivel pin, track rod, and stub axle are their four primary components.

Back axle. The rear axle transfers power between the driving wheels and differential. It is situated between them. The differential connects the two halves of the back axle, which consists of two half shafts.

Power for the driving wheels is delivered by this axle. It is delivered in two parts that are joined together by a differential. The majority of automobiles have rear axles that move along with the wheels.

Read more: Understanding wheel balancing and wheel alignment

Suspension system

The purpose of the suspension system is to dampen vibrations brought on by the up-and-down motion of the wheels on the uneven road surface. The suspension system of a vehicle is made up of springs, connecting links, and shock absorbers. There are two types of suspension systems: rigid and independent suspension systems.

The road springs are connected to a rigid beam axle in the rigid system. It is mostly employed in the rear axle of all sorts of cars as well as the front axle of commercial vehicles. Without a hard axle, the independent system is flexible. Each wheel can freely move vertically without the other wheel reacting in any way. In small cars, the independent system is primarily employed.

Read more: Understanding Suspension System

Shock absorber

Shock absorbers are hydraulic (oil) pump-like components that help to regulate how your car’s springs and suspension move during impact and rebound. The primary function of the shock absorber is to guarantee that the tires of the vehicle always remain in contact with the road surface. This ensures the safest control and braking response from your car in addition to minimizing bumps and vibrations.

Read more: Understanding the working of shock absorber

Braking system

To slow down or stop a moving vehicle, brakes are needed. The braking system is crucial for ensuring the safety of road users and pedestrians. You can use hydraulic or mechanical control to operate the braking system. Hydraulic braking systems make up about 95% of all systems in use today.

Two components—one rotating and the other stationery—make up every brake. The two individuals can be brought into contact in several ways, which will slow down the car. The brake pedal, master cylinder, wheel cylinders, brake drum, brake pipe, brake shoes, brake packing plant, and linkages are the main elements of the braking system.

According to current trends, as the weight on the vehicle and the vehicle speed has risen, the importance of the brake system has risen as well, and power brakes are now recommended. Vacuum and air pressure are used by power brakes to generate the majority of the brake-applying force.

A shock absorber serves two purposes. Shock absorbers not only govern how springs and suspension move, but also ensure that your tires stay in constant contact with the ground. The only portion of your car that touches the road, whether it’s stationary or moving, is the bottom of your tires. Your ability to drive, turn, and the brake is seriously hampered whenever a tire’s contact with the road is broken or weakened.

Read more: Understanding the working of shock absorber


Each car has four wheels. The tire is the term used to describe the rubber-filled, dark-colored portion of the wheel. Your tires are fastened to them. Your car tire’s interior is fastened to the rim. Decorative wheels are known as rims, but you’ll frequently hear “rims” and “wheels” used interchangeably. Additionally, some people could mistakenly say “wheel” when they mean “tire.”

Read more: Understanding tube and tubeless tires


A speedometer, which measures a car’s speed, is frequently paired with an odometer, which keeps track of the distance traveled. A speedometer, often known as a speed meter, is a gauge that calculates and shows the current speed of a moving object. They began to be offered as options in the early 20th century and became standard equipment starting around 1910. Today, they are fitted to all motor vehicles.

Other cars’ speedometers have particular designations and employ different methods of measuring speed. This would be a pit log for a boat. This serves as an airspeed indicator for an aircraft.

Read more: Understanding Car Dashboard Lights and Indicators

Seat belt

The purpose of a seat belt, often known as a safety belt or seatbelt, is to protect the driver or a passenger of a vehicle from a dangerous movement that could occur during an accident or a sudden stop.

By lessening the force of secondary impacts with interior strike hazards, keeping occupants positioned correctly for maximum airbag effectiveness (if equipped), and preventing occupants from being ejected from the vehicle in a crash or if the vehicle rolls over, a seat belt lowers the likelihood of death or serious injury in a traffic collision.

When the car is moving, the driver and passengers move together with it at the same speed. The driver and passengers continue traveling at the same speed as the vehicle did before its sudden stop or collision.

To prevent the driver and passengers from exiting the vehicle or making contact with the interior of the vehicle, seatbelts apply an opposing force (especially preventing contact with, or going through, the windshield). Since seatbelts play such a crucial part in occupant safety, they are regarded as Primary Restraint Systems (PRS).

Gear Shift

A car can go forward, backward, or stay neutral using the gearshift. The gearshift is a stick shift for vehicles with manual transmissions. A metal lever attached to an automobile’s transmission is referred to variously as a gear stick, gearshift, or shifter. Its official name is a transmission lever.

In a manual transmission, the shift lever is referred to as the “gear stick,” whereas in an automatic gearbox, a comparable lever is referred to as the “gear selector.” In a manual transmission, the shift lever is referred to as the “gear stick,” whereas in an automatic gearbox, a comparable lever is referred to as the “gear selector.”

The usual procedure is to separate the engine from the transmission and wheels by depressing the clutch pedal with the left foot while shifting gears.

There is no need for a physical clutch pedal in vehicles with automatic transmissions, including those with hydraulic (torque converter) automatic transmissions, automated manuals, and older semi-automatic transmissions (specifically clutchless manuals), like VW Autos, tick, and those with continuously variable transmissions.

Read more: How to change a power steering fluid?


The front window, often known as the windscreen or windshield, offers visibility while shielding occupants from the elements. A type of treated glass called laminated safety glass, which is normally constructed of two curved sheets of glass with a plastic layer sandwiched between them for safety, and bonded into the window frame, is the material used in most modern windshields.

High-impact polycarbonate or acrylic plastic is frequently used to make motorcycle windshields. Windshields offer an aerodynamically shaped front window while shielding the occupants of the car from the wind and flying objects like dust, insects, and rocks. It is possible to apply UV coating to block damaging ultraviolet rays.

However, since the majority of automobile windshields are composed of laminated safety glass, this is typically not essential. Most UV-B is absorbed by the glass itself, and whatever UV-B that is left over, along with the bulk of UV-A, is absorbed by the PVB bonding layer.

Read more: Does my car insurance cover windshield cracks?

Windshield wipers

A windscreen wiper, also known as a windshield wiper, is a tool used to clear water, washer fluid, snow, ice, rain, and other obstructions from a vehicle’s front window so the driver may see more clearly. Nearly all motor vehicles, including automobiles, trucks, buses, locomotives for trains, cabin-equipped watercraft, and some airplanes, have one or more of these wipers, which are typically required by law.

A wiper typically consists of a metal arm with a long rubber blade connected at one end that pivots. A motor, frequently an electric motor, although some vehicles also employ pneumatic power, powers the arm. To remove any obstructions to view from the glass surface, the blade is spun back and forth over the surface. The speed is often changeable in vehicles built after 1969, with several continuous speeds and frequently one or more intermittent settings.


A headlight is a lamp that is mounted on the front of a car to light the way. Although headlights and headlamps are frequently used interchangeably, in the most formal sense, headlight refers to the gadget’s beam of light and headlamp to the device itself.

Since the invention of the automobile, headlamp performance has steadily increased due to the stark difference between daytime and nighttime traffic fatalities: according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, despite only 25% of traffic traveling at night, nearly half of all traffic-related fatalities happen during the day.

Read more: Most common reasons why your car won’t start

Taillights/Signal lights

Above the bumper on the back of the automobile are positioned the taillights. They are white lights next to red ones that are used to signal when the car is in reverse. Tail lights help you drive safely in the dark by alerting other vehicles to your presence when you’re on the road.

Informally referred to as “directional signals,” “directional,” “blinkers,” or “indicators,” direction-indicator lamps or turn signals are flashing lights mounted close to the left and right front and rear corners of a vehicle, as well as occasionally on the sides or the side mirrors of a vehicle. They are turned on by the driver on one side.

Car hood

A front-engine vehicle’s engine is covered by a hinged cover known as a car hood, sometimes known as a bonnet in certain other countries. Its function is to make the engine accessible for upkeep and repair.

Usually, the hood is secured by a hidden clasp. Hood pins can be used to secure the car hood on vehicles with an aftermarket hood and racecars. An ornament for the hood, wiper jets, a power bulge, and/or a hood scoop can occasionally be found on hoods. Usually made of steel, car hoods can also occasionally be made of aluminum.

Read more: How Much Does an Alternator Replacement Cost?


In a sedan, coupe, or convertible, the car trunk serves as the major storage space for cargo or luggage. While the word “boot” is frequently used in other English-speaking nations, the phrase “trunk” is largely used in North America. The boot was a compartment that was built into a horse-drawn carriage before cars were invented. For the coachman, it served as a seating place most of the time. It was afterward employed for storage.

In the majority of vehicles, the trunk is usually in the back of the vehicle. The trunk is sometimes found at the front of cars whose engines are mounted in the middle of the back. There have been two trunk spaces in various models.

Read more: How long does it take to change a car engine oil?

Catalyst converter

An internal combustion engine’s exhaust gas contains poisonous gases and other pollutants that a catalytic converter transforms into less-toxic pollutants by accelerating a redox reaction. Typically employed with internal combustion engines powered by gasoline or diesel, including lean-burn engines, catalytic converters are also occasionally utilized with kerosene heaters and stoves.


The rear, or bottom, of your car, is where you’ll find the mufflers, which are parts of the car exhaust system. They help to reduce engine noise and emissions from vehicles. To protect them from the heat and chemicals emitted by the exhaust system, they are built of steel and covered with aluminum. Mufflers are primarily employed to muffle the obnoxious noises that the engine’s pistons and valves produce.


The exhaust system on your car includes the tail pipe. It is intended to expel exhaust into the air and away from the vehicle, similar to a chimney on a house. Exhaust pipes link to the muffler and are frequently bracketed to the car’s back end. Exhaust pipes are prone to deterioration from aging, failure of brackets, broken seals, and rear-end collisions.

Fuel Tank

Your car’s gasoline tank is normally under the back or in the center of the car. It may be necessary to remove it for a variety of reasons, but the most frequent one is to replace the fuel pump. Through a tiny hole that is covered by a gas cap when not in use, this tank can be topped off from the outside. The gas then passes through a few further processes before entering the engine. Gasoline is forced into the fuel lines by the pump. Most cars have strong metal fuel lines that carry fuel from the tank to the engine.

Read more: Understanding fuel injection system in automobile engines

Fuel gauge

A fuel gauge is a tool that gauges the amount of fuel in the car. It includes detecting or sending equipment that aids in calculating the fuel level. The information from the sensing unit is used to calculate the amount of fuel using a gauge or indication that is mounted outside the fuel tank. The fuel level in your gas tank is shown by the lines on the gas gauge, which are spaced every 1/4 of a line. Any number between two lines is an eight. You would have 5/8 of a tank of gas in your car if the needle was between 1/2 and 3/4.

Temperature gauge

Your car’s temperature gauge is made to gauge the coolant temperature in your engine. This gauge will indicate whether the coolant in your engine is cold, normal, or overheated. It is a crucial dial that may be found on your car’s dashboard. The temperature gauge needle should be between the hot and cold signs when the engine is running properly and the coolant is performing its job. Don’t panic if your temperature measurement changes from the “normal” range because this can happen from car to vehicle.

Car trip meter

A trip meter is a device that calculates how far a car, bicycle, or other types of transportation has driven. Most likely, that is trip A’s mileage display on the trip odometer. When you depress the button next to the speedometer, the distance traveled for trip B should be displayed. If you press it once more, the vehicle’s current “overall mileage” should appear.

Look for the little rectangle with typically five or six numbers in it to determine the reading of an odometer. It usually stands close to the speedometer. It might be digital if your car is more recent. If your car is more basic or older, the stats will be mechanical and physical.

Rev counter

A tachometer (also known as a revolution-counter, tach, rev-counter, or RPM gauge) is a device that measures the speed at which a shaft or disk rotates within a machine, such as a motor. Although digital displays are becoming more prevalent, the gadget typically shows the revolutions per minute (RPM) on a calibrated analog dial.

A rev counter simply displays the crankshaft’s revolutions per minute (RPM), which are typically divided by 1000. The crankshaft is the rotating component that converts reciprocating motion—in the case of a car, the up and down motion of the con-rods and pistons—to circular motion.

License plate/Bumper Sticker

The blue and white indication on the license plate is depicted in the image. A license plate is required on every vehicle for identification. There are numerous bumper stickers on this car. You can adorn your car with these items. This is a list of produced automobile components, most of which are for internal combustion engine vehicles.


To make driving safer and more comfortable, modern cars incorporate a wide range of accessories. Self-starting driving and signaling lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, parking lights, windshield wipers, horns, and indicators, as well as radios, heating, and air conditioning systems, power steering, and others, are typical examples.

Watch the video below to learn the various parts of a car:


What are the basic parts of an automobile?

a body, which is primarily made of steel, other accessories not used in the vehicle’s motion, and a steel frame. The front and rear axles, steering system, suspension system, wheels, tires, and brakes are some additional important parts.

How many main parts are in a car?

A single car has roughly 30,000 pieces when all of the tiniest screws, nuts, and bolts are included. While many of these parts are made by suppliers, the manufacturer makes some of them as well. About 30,000 pieces are produced using various raw materials and production techniques.

What are the mechanical parts of a car?

Mechanical parts are functional components on a car that deteriorate with time or have a limited lifespan, usually less than the car’s overall lifespan. External crash components, wheels, paint, windshields, and other glass items are not considered mechanical parts.

What is the most important part of a car?

The engine is among the most crucial parts of a car, and its performance is dependent on it. It may be argued that it is the engine of every car. It is a sophisticated device designed to transform the heat from burning gas into the force that rotates the vehicle’s wheels.