Mechanical Car Parts - Car Sensors - Aftermarket Parts

Basic Mechanical Parts of Your Car

When your car breaks down, it’s handy to have some basic knowledge of how mechanical parts work. You may be able to repair the problem yourself, rather than always having to take it to the mechanic. 

The Engine

Your car’s engine is the driving force of your car. It’s a complicated piece of machinery made up of blocks, heads, pistons and valves that converts the heat from the burning gasoline into energy that powers your entire vehicle. If you want to go anywhere, you’re going to need a functioning engine. 

Car Engine Sensors

As the engine is so crucial to your car, it’s no wonder there are specialist sensors to monitor it. These sensors receive information about your engine and relay it through your car to ensure optimal performance and to warn you if there is a problem so you can get it sorted before it becomes serious. Depending on the make and model of your car, there can be anywhere between 60–100 sensors in your car doing different jobs. While not every vehicle uses the same types of auto sensors, we have listed some of the more common ones you may find in your vehicle:

MAF Sensor - Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)

The MAF calculates the volume and density of the air pumped in by the engine. It is a computer-controlled sensor that regulates the amount of fuel used for optimal performance. 

Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (MAP)

The MAP measures the engine load. Because it’s mounted on the intake manifold, it calculates the difference between the intake manifold pressure and the pressure outside. This is necessary to enable the engine to adjust the fuel injection based on the pressure change.

Spark Knock Sensor

The spark knock sensor regulates the burning of gasoline. It prevents detonation that could cause head gasket failure, rod bearing damage, as well as piston lands and rings to crack and break.

Speedometer Sensor

The speedometer calculates how fast your vehicle runs and relays the information to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) computer. The ECU then works out the exact time the automatic transmission should shift gear.

Wheel Speed Sensors

The wheel speed sensor monitors how fast your cars’ wheels are rotating. It is used in place of the mechanical linkage between the wheels and speedometer, simplifying the gauge construction by removing moving parts and preventing cable breakage.

The Transmission

The transmission is composed of gears that change based on the driver’s required speed. Manual transmissions are manoeuvred through a device inside the powertrain, while automatic transmissions are controlled by the car’s internal computer.


Axles are connected to the wheels and support the weight of your car. They transfer energy from the engine to the wheels, making the wheels turn. Axles are a major component of your steering system, they assist your vehicle to move, brake, and turn. Your axles may be misaligned or faulty if you can feel your whole car vibrating or there are loud clunking noises coming from your car, especially when you turn or brake.

Steering and Suspension

The front steering and suspension assist you in manoeuvring your car. It’s usually composed of shocks and struts, tie rod ends, ball joints, a rack and pinion steering system, and idler or pitman arms. The rear suspension, on the other hand, is responsible for handling and maintaining the ride quality of your car. Systems may vary, but they usually include shocks, coil springs, ball joints, control arms, and CV joints.


Brakes are attached to all four wheels of your car. Your brake system is one of the major safety components of your car. Disc brakes are composed of brake pads, brake calipers, and rotors, and they are placed on the front and back wheels of your vehicle. While drum brakes, along with brake shoes and wheel cylinders, are found on the back wheels.

When your brakes do not work properly, it’s usually a result of faulty brake parts, such as a caliper, pad, or rotor. For instance, brake pads wear out over time. When you hear loud screeching noises each time you brake, it may be time to change your brake pads. Brake rotors get exposed to heat each time you brake, thus wearing out eventually as well. It’s vital to have working rotors, otherwise, you will not be able to brake effectively. Brake fluid is also necessary for your brake system to operate smoothly. It supports the hydraulic process that amplifies the pressure necessary to slow down and stop your car.

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