Auto Parts and Systems

Auto parts and systems are the building blocks that come together to make automobiles function. Understanding how auto parts work together to form automotive systems allows drivers to confidently discuss automotive problems with their mechanics.

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Some weights associated with towing are fairly complex, but not every weight connected with towing is hard to calculate. In fact, some are remarkably straightforward -- gross trailer weight (GTW) is a good example.

By Scott C. Benjamin

If you've never had the experience of towing a trailer, then you probably don't know what tongue weight is. Sure, it may sound funny -- but to someone hitching up a heavy load, it's very serious.

By Scott C. Benjamin

Now it's your turn in the driver's seat to tow a boat, trailer or even another car. Suddenly, towing doesn't seem so simple, and you're worried about jackknifing. So how can you avoid it?

By Jane McGrath

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Like carrying added baggage, towing burns extra fuel. But maybe there's no other way to get the job done, or you just really need that getaway to the lake. Can you go green?

By Jane McGrath

Do you know your vehicle's gross axle weight rating? That's all right -- not many people do. But if you're planning to tow a trailer, it's a good idea to learn your vehicle's GAWR.

By Scott C. Benjamin

If you ever plan to tow a trailer, it's a good idea to know the tow vehicle's gross combination weight rating. If you don't learn it, you could be in for some serious repair bills.

By Scott C. Benjamin

It's relatively simple to determine when you've added a little too much weight to your car, truck or SUV. But what if you were loading something much bigger -- perhaps a massive recreational vehicle?

By Scott C. Benjamin

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You may think loading up your stuff into your family vehicle and towing with a moving truck is a cinch. But could a few tips prevent a disaster in your next road trip?

By Jane McGrath

One of the most difficult things to do while towing a vehicle is to back up. In fact, you should avoid it if possible. So why is it so tough?

By Jonathan Strickland

While some people are lucky enough to have lakefront or oceanfront property, the rest of the boating community are typically stuck transporting their boats -- often for many miles -- which usually means wheeling out the trailer and hitting the road.

By Jessika Toothman

Launching your boat can be a challenge, especially when you're being stared at by a crowd of fellow boaters waiting their turn at the ramp.

By Jonathan Strickland

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The majority of the driving population takes a lot of things for granted. Their vehicles speed up, slow down, back up and turn when they require them to, and with relative ease. But add a couple of thousand pounds onto the back, and things get a litt

By Jessika Toothman

If you're hauling precious cargo, your trailer's suspension better be good enough to give a well-cushioned ride. Have you checked your leaf springs?

By John Fuller

No matter how much the kids are screaming and the wife is glaring, the answer to "Are we there yet?" while taking a trip with a trailer doesn't mean you can just give it a little more gas. Towing a trailer is tricky business, and more speed makes it

By Jessika Toothman

Safely towing a trailer, even in a straight line, requires skill. Turning while towing, however, presents a completely different set of concerns -- even for an experienced driver. What makes turning while towing so difficult?

By Scott C. Benjamin

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Most people can tell you the fuel economy numbers for their vehicle. Some even know the horsepower and torque in their car or truck. But what about the gross vehicle weight rating? Who knows that?

By Scott C. Benjamin

Slowing your vehicle to a stop usually doesn't require much effort on your part. But what happens when you have hundreds -- or even thousands -- of pounds of trailer weight attached to your rear bumper?

By Scott C. Benjamin

Passing another vehicle on the highway isn't all that difficult. In fact, most drivers do it without a second thought. But what if you were pulling a heavy camper trailer? Would that change the situation?

By Scott C. Benjamin

With practice, shifting gears in a car or truck isn't really difficult for most people. But when you add the weight of a trailer, finding the right gear might not be quite so simple anymore.

By Scott C. Benjamin

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You wouldn't want a big rig packed full of cargo to suddenly lose its brakes barreling down the road. How can air slow down these massive trucks?

By Josh Briggs

Be honest: Do you ever really give much thought to how your car slows down or stops? Browsing through these spectacular street car and race car brake pictures might change that.

Most people can feel their brakes as they wear, and they know when it's time to get new ones. But what if there's a leak in your brake line or someone cuts the line altogether?

By Marshall Brain

Cars with an automatic transmission have no clutch that disconnects the transmission from the engine. Instead, they use an amazing device called a torque converter. Find out all about the torque converter.

By Karim Nice

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You find references to force, power, torque and energy all over the HowStuffWorks site. Learn what these terms really mean and how they relate to one another.

By Karim Nice

Stopping a car in a hurry on a slippery road can be challenging at best and at worst very scary. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) help alleviate the danger. Learn how anti-lock brakes prevent skidding, check out what that sputtering is, and find out h

By Karim Nice