Essential Car Terms: Knowing Your Car Parts

July 23rd, 2015 by

Car PartsTaking your car in for repairs can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t know all of the correct terms. That’s why we’ve put together a list of essential car terms, to help you better understand your vehicle.

Below is a list of basic car components. According to Car and Driver, your mechanic may frequently refer to some of these parts:


  • Pad: rubs together to create friction, and needs replaced often
  • Rotor: discs that the pads clamp down on to stop the wheel from spinning
  • Shoe: part of the brake drum, often used in emergency braking


  • Spark Plug: supplies the spark needed to light the air-fuel mixture – timing is essential
  • Piston: a metal cylinder that houses the small explosions in your engine, connected to the crankshaft to provide power
  • Connecting Rod: connects the piston to the crankshaft


  • Shocks: controls unwanted spring motion via dampening (absorbing shock)
  • Struts: a stiff shock mounted inside a coil spring, that both supports a structure and dampens at the same time


  • Catalytic Converter: converts harmful pollutants to lessen toxic emissions using chemical catalysts
  • Oxygen (O2) Sensor: measures oxygen to optimize the air-fuel mixture during the combustion process
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