Basics

24 guides & 190 illustrations

The engine

Different engine layouts The simplest and most common type of engine comprises four vertical cyl...

How the braking system works

Dual-circuit braking system A typical dual-circuit braking system in which each circuit acts on ...

How car heating and ventilation systems work

A typical car heating system A modern car has a ventilation system that provides a constant thro...

How a car clutch works

How a clutch works The first stage in the transmission of a car with a manual gearbox is the...

How automatic gearboxes work

Epicyclic gearing explained Most modern automatic gearboxes have a set of gears called a planeta...

The engine - how power is created

The four-stroke cycle The conversion of fuel energy into power in an engine starts when petrol i...

How a diesel engine works

How a fuel pump works

A circulating fuel system This fuel system has both supply and return pipes along which petrol c...

How variable-jet carburettors work

Variable jet carburettor - SU type The SU is the simplest type of variable-jet carburettor, the ...

How the fuel system works - fixed-jet carburettors

Fixed jet carburettor - Solex type A typical fixed-jet carburettor. This is a Solex, and air flo...

How the ignition system works

The ignition system This article explains how the ignition system of a car works to start the en...

How engine timing works

Distributor The distributor both sends the HT current to the correct sparkplug and ensures that ...

How car suspension works

Suspension types There are various ways of attaching the wheels of the car so that they can move...

How the transmission works

Constant velocity joint The joint is designed to cope simultaneously with drive and steering act...

How manual gearboxes work

Constant-mesh four-speed gearbox The gears are selected by a system of rods and levers operated ...

How the charging system works

An alternator Inside an alternator the belt-driven rotor becomes an electromagnet when current i...

How an engine cooling system works

How the coolant circulates A typical water-cooling system with an engine-driven fan: note the by...

How the steering system works

The rack-and-pinion system At the base of the steering column there is a small pinion (gear whee...

The engine - how it drives its ancillary parts

Tasks performed by ancillaries The engine is, in many respects, self-sustaining: it supplies the...

How the starting system works

Inertia system An inertia type starter: this one is an 'inboard' type in which the Bendix gear t...

How car electrical systems work

Earth-return system In a negative (-) earth-return system, the current flows from the positive (...

How car springs and dampers work

Hydraulic suspension Hydraulic suspension combines rubber springs with a damper system linking t...

The engine - how the valves open and close

Engine with overhead camshaft An overhead-cam (OHC) engine needs fewer parts to operate the valv...

How a fuel injection system works

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