Major Systems of Auto Repair (Part 4)
Automobiles become increasingly complicated with every generation, yet the primary systems auto technicians must understand for proper auto repair and diagnosis remain mostly the same. Some new implementations and upgrades come into play every few years- and many foreign vehicles offer their own unique riddles- but nonetheless, it’s still these same core systems that are necessary to make a complete, functioning and reliable vehicle. If you understand these systems, you can get your start in understand auto tech and repair.
Today let’s continue talking about the primary systems that not only drive your vehicle (and you) in the final part 4 of our 4 part series. If you would like to read part 3 first, please click here. These are the also systems which you should learn to keep on eye on for proper care and vehicle maintenance.
We all care about our brakes because none of us want to get seriously injured after finding out- probably rather suddenly- that they do not work. Before anything else, let’s go over how they work.
The brake pedal, with which you may already be familiar, is pressed, signaling that the driver intends to slow or stop the vehicle. Make sense so far?
This generates force in the master cylinder via hydraulic pressure (fluid pressure), which flows through the hydraulic lines or hoses to the wheel cylinder and its calipers
The caliper squeezes the drum shoes against either a) drums in drum brake systems, or b) the rotors in disc brake systems.
Friction slows the rotation of the wheel, slowing the vehicle until stopping.
Not too complex, in theory at least. Disc brakes are most common these days, though drum brakes are common on larger vehicles too especially for the rear wheels. Additional braking features of the modern era include power braking and anti-lock bake systems (ABS). These make stopping a modern vehicle in motion much smoother and much safer than it was at the start of the automobile era.
Please remember, for your own safety, that brake pads must be serviced or changed regularly. You can tell they’re going bad fairly easily. Ever heard squeaky brakes? There’s your sign! The sound of metal-on-metal screaming is how you know you need to get brake repair service immediately, before any expensive drum or rotor damage occurs. Accordingly, leaky brake fluid is not something to ignore or delay brake repairs on, at all. When it’s gone, you can’t brake anymore. If it’s leaking, it’s being pushed out every time you use the brake, which is frequently. Don’t let that happen.
Heating/Air Conditioning System
We’ve talked about how A/C and cooling systems work before, in our “Signs of A/C Compressor Failure” article (click to read it). Quote:
“Car compressors work by pressurizing A/C refrigerant and passing it through a high/low pressure system into the condenser. The Condenser phase-changes the refrigerant gas to a liquid state, which can then be evaporated again. These different phase-changes are passed through the system exchanging hot and cool air in order to cool the interior of your car. To keep this system running, normally the compressor takes power transferred from the engine’s crankshaft via a compressor belt. This transfer of power/energy reduces fuel economy.”
The other half of the HVAC equation is heating. This is largely powered by heat from the engine. Inside every vehicle is a heater core which converts heat transferred from the engine into warm air for the cabin. To do this, heated engine coolant is transferred from the engine through the heater core via tubes (not unlike how the internet works, allegedly). A heater fan then blows on those tubes to push heated air into the cabin.
Signs that the HVAC air conditioner in your car isn’t working include:
Cooling isn’t working
Loud noise, especially at higher settings
The compressor clutch sticks or does not move at all
Moisture leaks into the engine compartment or vehicle cabin.
If you need help with A/C service, you can always give your pals at Tedious Repair a call and we’ll be glad to help!
Chassis, Frame and Tires
More often than not, people care about the appearance of their cars so they typically get collision damage repaired as soon as possible. Sometimes though, we can forget the consequences of a long-gone “minor” accident that caused seemingly only cosmetic damage, but may actually have done less obvious damage to the frame beneath the panels. Looks can be deceiving, as they say. If you get into a collision, it’s important to have the frame and chassis of your vehicle inspected by a qualified technician. This is to prevent any further long-term damage from occurring, which can easily cascade after too long.
For clarity, the chassis is the bottom platform of your vehicle, upon which the frame and the rest of the vehicle components are built. The vehicle frame is the skeletal structure on top of the chassis upon which the body panels, windows, and other auto components are built. Tires, are… well, tires. If you can read this, you probably already know what tires are. If not, they’re like shoes but for cars.
External issues with the chassis, frame, and tires are pretty obvious so you probably won’t be immediately inclined to ignore them. While collision repair can be expensive at times, for substantial body damage it’s often necessary. Worse yet, if another accident occurs, you can’t be certain your vehicle will be as sturdy as before. Don’t take the risk and get a vehicle inspection in most cases of visible collision damage.
Lighting, Wipers, and Windows
Headlights, windows, and wipers always seem relatively less important… until you can’t fricken’ see because of some light rainstorm or coincidental mud splash. Don’t neglect them.
Be sure to regularly inspect the functionality of power windows, and make sure your windshield fluid is refilled before you actually need it. Cracks in your windshield can be repaired by window specialists, or completely replaced by your friendly Chico auto repairmen here at Tedious Repairs.
Damaged headlamps are fairly simple to service yourself on most vehicles, but if you have any trouble, feel free to come by and we’ll be glad to help. Signs that it might be time for headlamp repair include:
Possible short circuits in other parts of your vehicle’s electrical system (radio, console display, cabin lights etc).
If you have any issues with the lighting, windows, or wipers in your vehicle, more of than not you can Google up a helpful auto repair video to get the job down yourself. But if you don’t want the hassle, feel free to let us know and we’ll see to the job for you.
End of the Road, for now...
That's it! We’ve now covered all the major systems in a car, truck, or automobile that are most relevant to auto repair and auto maintenance. If you want to get ahead of the curve, you can research these topics in more depth using some of the links we’ve provided, or good ol’ Google. Don’t worry though, we won’t leave you hanging and we’ve got a lot more in-depth articles coming down the line. First though, we want to cover the fundamentals, then we’ll get to the advanced stuff.
Thanks again for your time and if you have any ideas or suggestions for future articles, please comment below. We read and respond to comments, and we love to hear from you! Tune in next week for more articles about auto repair, cars, trucks, and everything in between. Until then