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Under the Hood

The Under the Hood Channel explores the systems that make your car function correctly. Learn about car parts and systems and how to do routine maintenance.

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How the Engine Control Module Works

Your car's engine control module (ECM) continually monitors a vast network of sensors to ensure operating conditions are within normal range. Do you know what the ECM actually controls?

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?

How do oil and air filters affect your engine?

Two relatively cheap filters can keep your engine healthy and smooth-running for a long time. The only catch is that they get so dirty you occasionally have to replace them.

How does the intake manifold affect your engine?

Your engine needs just three things to run: air, fuel and spark. That said, it's easy to see why the intake manifold -- the component your engine breathes through -- is so important.

Why Should You Install a Cold Air Intake?

A cold air intake is a fairly inexpensive modification and a lot easier to install than most other engine mods. But what does a cold air intake actually do?

How does an electric water pump benefit your engine?

The traditional water pump is a relatively simple, belt-driven component. But could an electric water pump be more efficient and more in tune with your engine's specific cooling needs?

How to Static Time an Engine

Does static timing your engine sound a little too intimidating? Well, if you can pop the hood and easily identify your engine's distributor and timing belt, you're probably up to the challenge.

How the Hüttlin Spherical Engine Works

It may take a bit of time to understand how this ball gets rolling; but once you get it, you'll see how it just might take hybrid auto engineering to the next level.

How Sleeve-valve Engines Work

The sleeve-valve engine may have already been dismissed as a historical relic; however, at least one company is seeking to bring the sleeve-valve engine back into action -- with a few modern twists.

How Opposed Piston Opposed Cylinder (OPOC) Engines Work

Internal combustion engines aren't going away anytime soon. And since a practical alternative can't be ready for use within the next few years, we need a better internal combustion engine in the meantime.

How the Wave Disk Generator Works

The wave disk generator is a propulsion system that could revolutionize the way we move our vehicles. But we've all heard that before, right? So what makes this one so special?

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?

How an Atkinson Cycle Engine Works

Four strokes, less fuel. How's that sound? With the addition of just a couple of linkages, an Atkinson cycle engine can complete all four strokes with a single rotation of the crankshaft.

How the Grail Engine Works

The Grail Engine takes a variety of modern, cutting-edge engine technologies and puts them all together in one package. Honda and Ford have already shown interest -- should the rest of us?

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?

Is carbon fiber old news?

Carbon fiber is one of the lightest and strongest materials used in auto manufacturing; however, it's expensive and time consuming to produce. Has it already been replaced by something better?

Compression Ratio and Octane Ratings: What You Need to Know

Unleaded, high octane, supreme: We'll show you which gas your car really needs and how easy it is to figure out.

5 Future Car Technologies That Truly Have a Chance

It's no secret that technology changes fast -- and the auto industry is no exception. So what's in store for future cars?

What's the difference between torque and horsepower?

Horsepower and torque are closely related -- but what sets them apart?

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