How Many Key Car Parts Can You Name?

AUTO

Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: MarkSwallow / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

You might think you're the most knowledgeable home mechanic on your block, or you might be a certified auto mechanic. Either way, we are going to put your automotive knowledge through the wringer during this quiz. If you can name all 40 of the car parts we show you, we will be impressed. Quite frankly, we'll be shocked like we touched a bare spark plug wire.

There's a lot more that goes on under the hood than most people realize. With nearly 30,000 parts working together to make your car race down the highway, we've tried to choose some of the parts that might force you to get out your Haynes Manual. While some parts are more common, we think we've presented you with enough variety to make you prove what you know. 

If you think that your battery powers your entire car, you might find it a little challenging to choose the correct names for the parts in the photo. However, more experienced mechanics might need to jumpstart their memories, too. No matter your level of automotive knowledge, you have 40 chances to select the right name. In case you get stuck, we've given you some kitty litter in the form of a hint so you can dig yourself out. Are you ready to find out how many key car parts you can name? 


You couldn't stop without this car part. Can you name it?

When you apply pressure to your brake pedal, a series of car parts work together to help you stop. The brake pads like the ones in this photo work by applying pressure to the rotor. The friction helps you slow down.

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What is the name of this car part that helps ensure a smooth ride?

You can thank your smooth ride for your suspension system including struts. Struts offer support for your car's handling, braking and riding comfort by working to keep your wheels as equally balanced as possible.

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This part helps to heat and cool your car's engine. What is it called?

Usually found at the very front of your car near the fan, you will find your radiator. The radiator has an important job keeping your engine's temperature running at just the right level. It is also where you would add coolant--never while it's hot, though!

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Do you know the name of this part that helps keep your engine clean?

During normal use, the constant combustion can cause contaminants to build up in your engine. By having your oil filter replaced when you have your oil changed, you are reducing the carbon, dirt, and small particles that might be found in your oil.

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Which one of these car parts controls your car's speed and facilitates combustion?

In order for your car to move, combustion has to happen within the carburetor. The carburetor also controls the proper ration of air and fuel, which results in controlling your car's speed.

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Can you identify this crucial car part that keeps everything running like clockwork?

In order for your engine's intake and exhaust valves to open and close at the proper times, the timing chain, or timing belt, handles the job. By syncing up the rotation of the crankshaft, the timing chain keeps everything running like clockwork.

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Do you know the name of this braking system part?

After you press your brake, the brake calipers squeeze your brake pads onto a rotor like the one in this picture. When your rotors become worn, they can create a lot of problems. Check your manufacturer's recommendation for when you should have them turned.

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This belt keeps your engine operating smoothly and in unison. Which name does it have?

The serpentine belt is the longest belt under your car's hood. It is responsible for delivering power to several of your engine's parts. The serpentine belt helps power the alternator, the power steering pump and the air conditioning compressor.

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What is the name of this part used to check your oil?

For your engine to run at its most efficient, you must monitor your oil levels. To check your oil, you would look for a small stick near your engine's block. It is called the dipstick, and it is marked with measurements to let you know how much oil your car needs.

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This part helps with compressing fluid and distributing energy. Can you identify it?

After burning gasoline expands, it needs to be pushed out of the cylinder and into the crankshaft. Pistons are the car part responsible for transferring the energy from burning fuel to your car's cylinders.

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Can you name this part that controls the outflow of fuel and steam in the combustion chamber?

As burning fuel and steam pressurize your engine, the emissions need somewhere to go. Thanks to the exhaust valve, these emissions and fluids are pushed into the exhaust manifold and into your car's exhaust system.

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This car part connects your car's suspension to the frame. What is the name of it?

Your car's suspension system is comprised of many stabilizing parts. One of the most important parts, the control arm, connects parts of your suspension system to the frame of the car and helps your car to react to every bump and curve with ease.

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You couldn't shift gears without this car part. What would you call it?

A machine within a machine, your transmission is the car part which transfers speed and torque to the part of the car that makes it move. Inside the transmission, you will find a gearbox that contains both gears and gear trains.

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Do you know the name of this part that keeps your wheels going round?

Beneath your car, there are two types of axles. The drive axle, like the one you see in the photo, is responsible for connecting to the drive train. When it spins, it causes the wheel assembly to move.

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It's sometimes called a pressurized carburetor, but what is the other name for it?

The fuel injector might be small, but it has a big job delivering fuel into the main combustion chamber. Every cylinder of a vehicle has a separate fuel injector, and some models have one or two located on the intake manifold.

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You would have a rough ride without this part. Can you choose the right name for it?

Without the shock absorbers, your vehicle's tires wouldn't hold the road properly. Ride in a car with bad shock absorbers and you'd better have a good chiropractor!

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Summers would be hot without this part. What is the correct name of it?

While you might think there's an ice chest under your car's hood that controls your air conditioning, it is actually a series of parts including the AC compressor. The compressor is responsible for adding refrigerant to hot air to cool it before it comes through your vents.

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What is the name of this car part that helps keep things quiet?

Working together with the other parts of your car's exhaust system, the muffler is the car part that helps keep engine noise to a minimum. Don't get this and the catalytic converter confused!

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This car part acts as an electrical generator. What is it called?

Although car batteries are capable of holding their charge for a long while, they do need to be recharged. Luckily, your car's alternator acts like a generator, recharges the batter, and supplies electricity to your car's other systems.

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Every few oil changes, this part is usually changed, too. Can you name it from this photo?

Most car manufacturers recommend that you should have your air filter changed every 15,000-30,000 miles. Air filters are essential to the breathing your car needs to do. They help to filter out dirt and other impurities.

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Do you know the name of this emissions-reducing part?

During normal use, gasoline-powered cars create emissions that include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides which are responsible for both smog and acid rain. The catalytic converter assists with reducing emissions by converting harmful pollutants into less harmful forms.

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It's considered your engine's lungs. What is it named?

Your car's engine needs air to do a lot of things. In an injected type of combustion system, the intake manifold works to push air directly into each cylinder. In other types of engines, it distributes an even stream of the combustion mixture.

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Without this part, your combustion chamber wouldn't be sealed. What is it called?

Without the piston rings, your car's combustion chamber would be left exposed. The piston rings act as sealed barriers between the chamber and the air flow or water flow that may interrupt proper engine performance.

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Only one type of transmission uses this key car part. Can you name it?

If you've ever driven a car with a manual transmission, you have used a clutch. The clutch is more than the pedal on the floor--the clutch is the car part that allows shifting.

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Can you correctly name this part? It helps your car move.

Your car is able to move thanks to the crankshaft. The crankshaft is connected to your car's pistons via a connecting rod. When the crankshaft rotates, it powers the drive train of your car.

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You would find this part connected to your crankshaft. What would you call it?

Your car's flywheel stores rotational energy that connects to your car's gearbox. It is also connected to the crankshaft by the piston rods. When all of the parts work together, the torque it creates allows your car to slow down, speed up or stop.

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Many of your vital engine parts live in this car part. What is the correct name for it?

Sitting at the top of your engine, the cylinder block houses many of your car's vital pieces and parts. Inside the cylinder block, you can find the cylinders with their respective pistons and rods.

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Your car will not start without one of these. Can you identify it?

Although we tend to think that the car's battery powers the car, it is a myth. In fact, the car's battery simply provides the electricity necessary to power the car's starter motor. From that point on, the alternator powers your car's electrical system.

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What's the name of this engine cooling part?

It might not be the largest part under your hood, but your car's water pump is vital. The water pump makes sure to regulate the flow of water to the radiator, hoses and the engine block to keep your car running at the correct temperature.

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You can drive without one of these, but it's more difficult. Can you choose the right name?

Filled with hydraulic steering fluid, your power steering pump lets your car steer with ease. Although it is possible to drive short distances with a faulty power steering pump, steering becomes as difficult as it was before the invention in 1951.

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It helps to keep oil and water from mixing, but do you know what it is named?

Sitting between the cylinder head and the engine block, the head gasket helps to prevent oil and coolant from mixing together. Inside the engine block, both coolant and oil flow in separate places.

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This car part is like a miniature radiator for your car's cabin. Can you identify it?

When you activate your car's heater, warm coolant is pumped into the heater core. There, the heater core acts as a heat exchanger that allows warmed air to be directed to your car's vents.

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The belt is this photo has a special name. What is it?

V-belts are smaller than belts like the serpentine belt, but they are no less important. V-belts are the types of belts that help to power other car parts like the alternator, power steering pump and the fan.

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You would find this part near your headlights, but do you know the name of it?

Located between your car's grill and the radiator, the condenser is the car part responsible for holding the refrigerant necessary to power your air conditioning. Once liquidized by the condenser, the refrigerant is then pumped to an evaporator in your car's cabin.

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This part is mounted to your car's exhaust manifold. What would you call it?

In order for the proper fuel and air mixture to be sent to your car's engine, the levels of oxygen need to be monitored. The oxygen sensor lets your car's fuel system know how much unused oxygen remains in your exhaust so that it can adjust accordingly.

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Your car's battery powers this car part. What is the name of it?

After a lot of use, a car's starter motor can wear out. The starter motor is the car part that receives electricity from the battery. Once it starts your car, the alternator takes over power duty from there.

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Winters would be cold without this car part. What is its name?

In order for warm air to reach your car's cabin, hot fluid must be converted to warm air. The heat exchanger's function is to transfer one source of heat to another. Your car has one in the form of the radiator and another in the form of a heater core.

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Not all cars have one of these, but do you know what it's named?

When driving a car with a manual transmission, you must use a clutch to shift gears. The pressure plate allows for the clutch to operate by providing friction to stop a spinning flywheel. When the pressure plate begins to age, shifting becomes more difficult or erratic.

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It's sometimes called an accelerator, can you choose the other name for it?

When you want your car to go faster, you press the gas pedal, which activates the throttle. The throttle allows for an increase or a decrease of the flow of fuel to your car's engine.

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It helps to stabilize your steering linkage. Can you choose the right name of the part?

To stabilize your car's steering, the idler arm is connected to your car's frame and your car's steering mechanisms. It is a pivoting car part that supports the center part of your car's steering linkage.

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