Few inventions have had as much of an impact on modern life as the automobile. Its influence is felt in every corner of the world. It has given families the ability to travel together, and reshaped social relationships and work patterns. It has restructured cities and economies around the power of rapid long-distance movement conferred by cars and on the flexible distribution of goods made possible by trucks.
The engine is the heart of the vehicle, and its design is heavily influenced by the car’s intended use. Automobiles designed for off-road use need durable, simple systems capable of withstanding severe overloads and extreme operating conditions. On the other hand, vehicles designed for high-speed limited-access road systems require more passenger comfort options and optimized engine performance.
The lubrication system reduces the friction between moving parts and carries away heat generated by their fast movements. Oil is stored in the crankcase, where it flows by a pump powered by the engine through a series of passages and holes to the moving parts. The oil forms a thin layer between the metal parts, reducing wear and minimizing heat. As the engine moves, the heated oil drains back into the crankcase, where it cools.
The chassis is the skeleton of the vehicle that houses the engine, suspension system, axles, and wheels. Its main functions are to support the weight of the vehicle, provide structural integrity, and provide the foundation for the rest of the car’s systems. It is mainly composed of steel and aluminum, although fiberglass and plastic are sometimes used. Its body is an integral part of the chassis, welded together from stamped components. The body provides the passenger compartment, offers storage space, and protects passengers in the event of an accident.