The Basics of Automobiles
A modern automobile is a complex machine whose components are designed to work together in harmony. The basic systems are a engine, fuel system, transmission, electrical and cooling systems, chassis, wheels and tires, and the body. The engine uses a series of pistons, cylinders, and tubes to convert gas into motion and power the car. The transmission takes the power of the engine and turns it into the speed and torque necessary to drive the wheels and propel the vehicle over the road surface. The chassis is a set of springs and shock absorbers that provide support and respond to conditions of the road.
The automobile became widely available and popular in the United States from 1920 to 1940 because of a number of factors. The country’s large land area made travel over long distances feasible, cheap raw materials and the mechanization of production encouraged mass manufacturing, and the availability of automobile financing and insurance lowered costs. The American industrial culture of innovation also enabled the development of a number of automotive technologies that allowed cars to be built faster and cheaper than European models.
Although a great convenience, owning an automobile can be expensive, especially in terms of purchasing and operating costs, maintenance, and parking fees. In addition, most vehicles run on gasoline, releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which can contribute to climate change. However, with proper planning, most people can find a vehicle that meets their transportation needs while providing the convenience and safety features they desire.