Do You Know The Basics Of How Your Car Works?



By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

You're an excellent driver, of course. You never forget to use a turn signal, you always kick the tires of any vehicle before you get in it, you've never swapped lanes without checking your blind spot, and you obey all speed limits and other traffic laws. You give way when you can be polite and it's safe, but you are decisive and assertive because you know that makes you predictable, and that's the best way to ensure that you are a safe companion for other drivers on the road. Yep, you're a motoring delight!

None of that means you know how your car actually works. You turn a key and off it goes. But there are more than 1,000 moving parts in that car. How much do you know about how they all fit together? What affects mileage? How does suspension actually absorb all that shock? What exactly are revs per minute, and when you accelerate, why does the engine make that roaring sound right before it purrs again?

Even if you can fuel up or charge a car, check the oil and water levels, assess the tire pressure and even change that tire when it needs it, there's still a lot to learn. Let's find out whether you're on your way to being a car expert!

Before getting inside a car, what 4 things do you need to check first outside, to see if they’re in tiptop shape?

Check to see if your 4 wheels don’t have a flat. Check if your spare tire is also in good shape.


Most cars now have this security system installed to deter theft. You need to deactivate it before entering. What’s it called?

A car alarm is standard now for any vehicle. The siren blares and lights flash when the alarm goes off.


A typical car works due to many subsystems inside of it. Which system are we referring to when we mention the carburetor, the fuel filter, the fuel pump, and the fuel injection?

It’s important to keep the windshield clear and clean. It’s hard to see the road if it’s very dirty.


For your car to work, what kind of chemical process does your engine undergo?

You need to put the key in the starter to get the ignition going. But some starters also have a lock, so you need to know which way your key turns to unlock the steering wheel and ignition system.


To check if your gauges and meters are working properly, what part of your car do you need to light up and check?

Your dashboard shows you all the gauges and meters you need to check prior to moving. Make sure they’re all working properly.


If your windshield appears dirty, what do you do, while inside the car?

You merely need to turn the windshield wipers on if you want to give your windshield a quick wash. Make sure you spritz it with water or wiper fluid first, though.


Internal combustion engines usually happen when the car's fuel combines with which element?

Any kind of internal combustion engine gets powered up due to a simple chemical process. The gasoline or the diesel needs to combine with air, so the combustion would happen.


To move, you need to shift the gear stick out of this basic position. Which is it?

A gear stick is usually put in the neutral position whenever the car stops. So of course it has to go to first gear prior to moving again.


What do you call the device inside the engine cylinders which make motion possible?

An engine has several cylinders which contain the piston. The up-and-down motion of the pistons is what makes motion possible inside the engine, which then powers up your car to move.


Before shifting gears, you need to step on which pedal first?

The clutch pedal helps a lot when shifting gears. But make you you’re stepping on it very well, like against the floor.


Aside from the fuel, what is the second most important liquid that your engine needs to power up?

The engine oil is the most important fuel needed within the engine system. The engine's moving parts need to be oiled for them to work properly.


To protect you from accidents, what do you strap on before driving out?

The seatbelt has proven to save many lives. That’s why it’s important to strap it on.


To start the car going, you need to choose a direction using what kind of stick?

A gear stick is the lever that makes you shift from one gear to another. But of course this system works in unison with another system.


To have the car going from its parked position, which gear do you put it in?

The first gear is marked with a numerical number 1 on the head or the side of the gear shift. But drivers eventually memorize where to pull it towards, from memory and experience.


Since a car engine works on internal combustion which gets hot, what other kind of liquid does it need to keep the temperature at bay?

Liquid coolant is what usually keeps the temperature at bay inside a car engine. The water pump is the device that distributes the coolant within the engine's cylinders.


The gear stick usually has 5 basic positions to determine how fast you can go. What’s the other term for these 5 positions?

A basic shift pattern has 5 speed indicators on it. They’re technically numbered 1 to 5, with the highest being the fastest.


This secondary stopping system needs to be released so the car will fully move. What’s it called?

The handbrake should be located to the right of the driver if it’s a left hand drive. Or better yet, it’s in the middle of the car seats in front.


Which system are we referring to when we mention terms like the disk, the drum, the master cylinder, the power booster, and of course the anti-lock?

The braking system should be another important system to check before departing. Terms under this system would mention the the master cylinder, the disk, the drum brake, the anti-lock brake and the power booster.


This is what you manipulate with your hands if you want your car to go wherever you want to go.

The steering wheel controls the tires system of the car. Wherever direction the wheel is steered to, the car should follow.


How will you know if you have enough fuel for a trip?

The fuel gauge needle should point towards Empty or Full, or somewhere, depending on your fuel. If it’s in the middle, it’s still safe to move.


What do you call the overall system that supports the car battery which makes it possible for the electricity of the engine to work?

The charging system of a car provides the much needed charge of the car battery. This makes the engine work well, and makes your car run smoothly without a glitch.


To alert other cars if you’re going left or right, what do you use?

Turn signals indicate which direction your car will be turning next. It’s important to signal first before turning.


If it’s night, what do you do to see the road up ahead?

The headlights are designed to cast a long line of light in front of your car. There’s an option to put it on high beam or low beam.


If you want to check how fast you’re going, what do you do?

The speedometer should tell you how fast you’re going. Make sure you don’t speed beyond the limit.


The car's charging system is usually made up of these three items. What are they?

The charging system of a car is pretty much universal when it comes to its parts. It usually has an alternator, a regulator, plus an interconnecting wiring that makes things work inside the engine.


If the headlights can’t cut it, what other lighting system can you turn on to see through thick layers of hazy stuff?

Fog lights are usually installed very near the headlights. People who drive through foggy weather certainly need this.


In case one of your tires get a flat, what do you do?

You need to learn how to use the spare tire in case you get a flat. You should therefore learn how to change tires.


When we mention the catalytic converter, the air pump, and the oxygen sensor, what system in the car are we referring to?

A car's emission system is also important to understand since this involves the end products of the chemistry that happens inside the engine. You should know that this entails understanding what the catalytic converter, the air pump, and the oxygen sensor does.


To avoid flat tires in general, what do you need to do?

You can buy a simple tire pressure gauge to check if your tires are properly aired before moving your car. Or you can go to a gas station and maybe they can help with that.


If your car’s electricity falters, what do you need to have checked?

The battery might already be spent if your car electricity falters. Make sure it’s also working well prior to going on long trips.


After the tire pressure, what other important thing do you need to check with your wheels to see if they're working properly?

It's important to check the wheel alignment of your car. If each wheel is not properly aligned, it will be hard to maneuver at all.


To see what’s happening behind you as you drive, what mirror do you check?

The rear view mirror should be wide enough to see the back of your car, and even beyond it a bit. Some people have camera playback systems installed here to monitor from the camera installed at the back of the car.


When we mention the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator, what system inside a car are we referring to?

A car's air conditioning system will involve parts such as the compressor, the condenser, and the evaporator. Depending on which type of car you have, other parts may vary,


If you don’t know the directions of where you’re going, what kind of device can you install and power on to help?

A GPS navigation device is an electronic mapping system that can track your exact location and help you to navigate your next move. It talks, too!


If you want to video record your trip, especially the road up ahead, what can you do?

These days, even an ordinary motorist can buy a dash cam and install it inside their cars. It’s an added safety feature for when there are accidents on the road.


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