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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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?

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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?

By Cherise Threewitt

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?

By Cherise Threewitt

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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.

By Eric Baxter

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.

By Christopher Neiger

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?

By Akweli Parker

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.

By Christopher Lampton

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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.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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?

By Patrick E. George

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?

By Cherise Threewitt

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?

By Eric Baxter

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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.

By Cherise Threewitt

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.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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?

By Patrick E. George

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?

By Cherise Threewitt

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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?

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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The job of a car's cooling system is to release the surplus heat from the engine as the car burns fuel. So what happens when it fails?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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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.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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.

By Josh Briggs