Automobiles are wheeled vehicles for transporting people and allowing them to travel farther than they could walk, or to places where there is no public transportation. The term “automobile” is generally used to describe passenger cars, but trucks, vans, buses, and limousines are also automobiles.
The modern automobile contains thousands of parts, arranged in semi-independent systems that are analogous to the human body. These include systems to cool the car, lubricate its moving parts, and reduce noise and pollution. The engine, which provides power for an automobile, is often described as its heart; it uses cylinders, pistons, and tubes to deliver fuel and absorb the shock of its movement.
An electrical system powers an electric starter motor that turns the engine over and propels the car away from a stop. An alternator then recharges the battery, ensuring that there is a constant supply of electricity for the engine and other automobile systems.
Other automobile systems depend on the type of use that the car will be put to. For example, a family car that will be driven on short trips will be designed with different suspension systems than a sports car that is built for speed.
All automobiles must be flexible enough to respond to a wide range of conditions and situations. They must also be economical to produce and maintain. Fortunately, there are many innovations to help achieve these goals.