Other Car Systems

Learn about the various electrical and other systems that lurk under your hood, including cooling systems, ignitions, wires, fuses and connectors.


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Can your car tell you when the light's about to change?

Audi's Project Traffic Light Online uses the Audi connect Online system to read the signals from a city's central traffic computer. Will this be the end of waiting at tedious traffic lights?

How the Open Automotive Alliance Works

Google isn't content with simply syncing smartphones anymore -- the company wants to get its technology much deeper into the car. Will the Open Automotive Alliance be successful?

How Paintless Dent Removal Works

If you've ever watched a real pro in action, paintless dent removal appears deceptively simple. But is it really as easy as it looks?

How Air Suspension Systems Work

When you think of your car's suspension, you probably envision creaky metal coils, right? That's not the only type of shock absorber available to make your ride smooth -- take a look at air suspension systems.

How an Air-cooled Engine Works

Most modern cars use a water-cooled engine with a radiator, hoses and a water pump to circulate coolant throughout the engine. Air-cooled engines want none of this.

How does a timing light work?

Timing lights come in a few different shapes and sizes, and range in features from bare-bones functionality to lots of bells and whistles. Do you know how a timing light works?

How does a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system work?

Just seeing the phrase "positive crankcase ventilation" probably makes your head hurt, because it sounds, well, complicated. But it really isn't all that complex.

How an Engine Lubrication System Works

Unlike the ever-present ads for drugs on television, there are many pleasant side effects of keeping your car's engine lubricated with oil. Find out what it takes to keep things moving.

What does a harmonic balancer do?

A tremendous amount of force is applied to your car's crankshaft while you're driving. The result is lots of crankshaft vibration. How does a harmonic balancer solve the problem?

Do you need a secondary air injection system?

Your car's engine always leaves behind some portion of unburned fuel. Good thing the secondary air injection system is there to help clean up the leftovers. But is it really necessary?

Do HHO systems actually work?

Ever since inventors have tried to get cars moving, they've tinkered with the possibility of alternative fuel systems. What does an HHO system have to do with water, and does it actually work?

How Automotive Exhaust Systems Work

Whether it makes your car sound like a swarm of angry bees or the deep rumble of an earthquake, your car's exhaust system is doing its job every time you turn the key.

How Automotive Air Conditioning Works

If you're buying a new car, you know air conditioning is almost certainly a standard feature. But it wasn't long ago when AC was an expensive option. Find out how this now nearly universal feature works.

How Evaporative Emission Control Systems Work

As if the price of gasoline isn't bad enough: Did you know that the fuel in your car's gas tank is slowly evaporating away? Even when parked?

Can a car seat recognize its owner's rear end?

Researchers in Japan have developed a new method of auto theft deterrent that verifies the driver's identity. Are you comfortable with your car seat knowing this much about you?

How will the car of the future use biometrics?

We can already use biological markers to identify people, but within the next decade, similar technology is coming to our cars, too. Will this be yet another distraction for drivers?

What do distributor caps and rotors do in ignition systems?

Distributor caps and rotors help transfer the spark from the coil to the cylinder. Learn how distributor caps and rotors function in ignition systems in this article.

What are some symptoms of ignition coil failure?

Ignition coils are responsible for passing electricity on to your spark plugs. Learn about the symptoms of ignition coil failure in this article.

How does a radiator cap work?

The radiator of your car is composed of tubes that carry the coolant fluid, a protective cap that’s actually a pressure valve, and a tank on each side to catch the coolant overflow. Learn more about how a radiator cap works from this article.

How does an engine cooling system work?

The job of a car’s cooling system is to release the surplus heat from the engine as the car burns fuel. Learn more about how an engine cooling system works from this article.

How do you wire an ignition coil to a distributor?

The ignition coil passes its power to the cylinders through a distributor. Learn how to wire an ignition coil to a distributor in this article.

How to Gap a Spark Plug

You may need to learn how to gap a spark plug if you get a new one for your car's engine. Learn how to gap a spark plug in this article.

How are hot and cold plugs different in ignition systems?

The difference between hot and cold spark plugs lies in their ceramic insulation. Learn how hot and cold plugs are different in ignition systems in this article.

How Spark Plugs Work

As engines and their electronics become more complex, spark plugs remain accessible and easy to understand. It doesn't take long to figure out the inner workings of a spark plug.

How Alternators Work

The next time your car won't start and you're cursing the battery, you might want to blame the alternator, too. This coconut-sized car part works with the battery to generate power for your vehicle.