Millions of vehicles zip across the USA carrying millions of passengers to millions of destinations. While each make and model of car may vary wildly in nation of origin, application, and quality, the basic building blocks of what makes an automobile and automobile are essentially the same. Whether you’re a mechanic, manufacturer, or consumer, such information is important in today’s hyper-mobile society.
The exterior, or body, of the car consists of panels mounted on a frame, which is mounted on a chassis. The chassis supports the entirety of the car, including the engine and the interior, while the frame provides structure for the shape of the vehicle and protection for the occupants of the car. The panels, made primarily through the process of automotive forgings, give each model of car its distinct look and aerodynamic properties.
The engine, typically an internal combustion engine, is what makes a vehicle travel. Engines range in size to tiny two-cylinders on motorcycles, to massive twelve-cylinder engines on trucks and sports cars, to even larger engines in racing cars and semis. Electric engines are also rapidly on the rise, working to replace gas-guzzlers with a greener future. The engine sits on the engine block and is tied into the drive shaft, which rotates the tires of the vehicle — propelling it forward.
The interior of the car contains many of the features that would shift a car from ‘commuter’ to ‘luxury car.’ First and foremost, every car needs a steering mechanism, throttle, brake, gear shifter, and (of course) seats. Beyond that, the possibilities for options are nearly limitless. ‘Smarter’ cars include built-in wifi, touch-screens built into the dashboard, backup cameras, heated seats, and dozens of other comfortable accents.
Automobiles are a staple for modern American life, and things will likely stay this way for decades to come.