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Common Car Parts

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are small electrical devices, usually located under the hood of your car, which are plugged into the engine and cause a spark to happen that ignites the fuel. Spark plugs are connected to ignition coils, which generate the heat needed to produce the combustion that runs the engine.

Spark plugs are toward the end of the fuel injection and combustion process, which starts with gasoline in the tank, which the fuel pump moves via fuel lines to the fuel injectors. The injectors push fuel into the cylinders while the air intake pushes air into cylinders, and the combination of fuel, air, and the spark from the spark plugs makes the engine go.

There are four parts of spark plugs: the connector, ceramic insulator, the gasket, and the electrode. The connector plugs into the ignition coils, and the ceramic insulator contains the spark from the coils, forcing them down into the electrode and guaranteeing the reaction doesn’t happen anywhere but the electrode.

Spark plugs are a pretty straightforward car part, and they’re also easy to replace, so if you think you’re having spark plug troubles, get on it! Your car can’t run without them.

Brakes and Brake Pads

Brakes are one of the most important parts of your car, especially in terms of safety. That makes it important to understand how they work, as well as when to have them replaced. Brake pads must be replaced regularly by every car owner; however, knowing when to have maintenance performed is the key.

Brakes work using friction and hydraulics. When you press the brake pedal, a hydraulic brake fluid is used to squeeze a set of calipers on the wheel. These press the brake pads against the rotors to create friction, thus stopping your car. Most modern cars come with anti-locking brake systems, which prevent you from sliding even when your wheels are not spinning.

Most new cars use metallic brake pads; however, they are not just slabs of metal. They are often composed of a mix of iron, copper, steel, and graphite in order to make a durable, resistive compound. In the past, materials like asbestos were used; however, these have been replaced with safer materials. Generally, brakes also have small pieces of metal that squeal when the pads get too low, letting you know it is time for new brakes.

When should I replace my brakes? Brakes should be replaced when they have less than 2/32” material on them—any less could be fatal. Other signs include thumping, pulsing, and/or the aforementioned squealing. Waiting to change your pads could cause serious damage to rotors and other components.

Brakes should also be replaced if you do not drive often, or if you leave your car sit. Because they are composed of a range of metal materials, pitting and oxidation can weaken brakes. Warping is also common on cars that sit for long periods of time, especially those left outside. Play it on the safe side when driving a car that hasn’t been driven for a while and replace the brakes.

Not sure how to check or replace the brakes? Stop by Dan Pfeiffer Plainfield Used Cars today.

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