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How Brakes Work

A car’s brakes are probably the most critical system on the vehicle — if they go out, you have a major problem. Thanks to leverage, hydraulics and friction, braking systems provide incredible stopping power. Find out what happens after you push the brake pedal.

How Disc Brakes Work

Disc brakes are the most common brakes found on a car’s front wheels, and they’re often on all four. This is the part of the brake system that does the actual work of stopping the car. Find out all about disc brakes — even when to replace the pads.

How Anti-lock Brakes Work

Stopping a car in a hurry on a slippery road can be challenging at best and at worst, very, very scary. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) help alleviate the danger. Learn how anti-lock brakes prevent skidding, check out what that sputtering is and find out how effective they really are.

How Power Brakes Work

Power brakes are fairly ingenious machines — they let you stop a car with a simple twitch of your foot. The concept at the heart of the power braking system is force multiplication — a whole lot of force multiplication. Get inside the black cannister that provides the power.

How Master Cylinders and Combination Valves Work

We all know that pushing down on the brake pedal slows a car to a stop. We depend on that every day when we drive. But how does this happen? The master cylinder provides the pressure that engages your car brakes. Learn how the master cylinder works with the combination valve to make sure you can brake safely.
Steering, Suspension and Tires

How Steering Works

When it comes to crucial automotive systems, steering is right up there with the engine and the brakes. Power steering systems make the job a whole lot easier, and the internal workings are pretty cool. What happens when you turn your car is not as simple as you might think. Find out all about car steering systems.

How Car Suspensions Work

All of the power generated by a car engine is useless if the driver can’t control the car. The job of a car suspension is enormous: maximize the friction between the tires and the road surface, provide steering stability and ensure the comfort of the passengers. Learn how car suspensions work and where the design is headed in the future.

How Tires Work

In the market for new set of tires? All of the different tire specifications and confusing jargon the tire sales clerks or “experts” are shouting at you making your head feel like a tire spinning out of control? Find out all about car tires, including what those sidewall symbols mean!

How Self-inflating Tires Work

Self-inflating tires perform two crucial functions: They automatically maintain ideal tire pressure for safety and performance in standard conditions, and they allow the driver to alter psi on the fly to adjust to changing terrain. Learn how self-inflating systems like the Hummer’s CTIS work.

How Sequential Gearboxes Work

Combine the ease of an automatic with the driver control of a manual, and what you’ve got is a sequential manual transmission. Instead of having to navigate an H pattern, a simple forward push advances the gear. It’s the transmission used by race cars and an increasing number of high-performance street cars. Learn all about the sequential gearbox.

How Torque Converters Work

Cars with an automatic transmission have no clutch that disconnects the transmission from the engine. Instead, they use an amazing device called a torque converter. Find out all about the torque converter.
Electrical System

How Wires, Fuses and Connectors Work

Wires, fuses and connectors – they may sound like the most mundane parts on your car, but they are essential. Yeah, they help keep the tunes going for a long ride, and they make reading that map at night a lot easier. But, they’re also necessary for things like the cooling fan in the engine and your anti-lock brakes. Learn why wires, fuses and connectors are so important!

How Ignition Systems Work

A car’s ignition system is the key component that helps the engine produce maximum power and minimum pollution. Find out how much is riding on a well-timed spark.

How Car Computers Work

Cars seem to get more complicated with each passing year. Today’s cars might have as many as 50 microprocessors on them. Essentially, you’re driving around in a giant computer. Learn all about the various computer systems that control your car.

How Windshield Wipers Work

Without windshield wipers, a rain storm would make cars pretty much useless. What began as a hand-cranked system is now automatic, and only getting more so: There are now some windshield wipers that can actually sense rain. Learn the mechanics behind this essential automotive tool.
Exhaust System

How Catalytic Converters Work

A catalytic converter is one of the most important parts of a car’s emissions control system. It treats the exhaust before it leaves the car and removes a lot of the pollution. Learn how catalytic converters reduce pollutants and help you pass the emissions test.

How Mufflers Work

Every car out there has a muffler — it performs the crucial job of turning thousands of explosions per minute into a quiet purr. Mufflers use some pretty neat technology to dim the roar of an engine. Learn about the principles that make it work.
Other Car Parts

How Odometers Work

Mechanical odometers have been counting the miles for centuries. Although they are a dying breed, they are incredibly cool inside. Learn how this simple device tracks distance and find out about digital odometers.

How Cooling Systems Work

A car engine produces so much heat that there is an entire system in your car designed to cool the engine down to its ideal temperature. In fact, the cooling system on a car driving down the freeway dissipates enough heat to heat two average-sized houses! Learn all about fluid-based cooling systems.

 

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