Automotive Information Flash Card Set 688089

Cards 10
Topics Combustion, Compression Stroke, Control Arms, Cylinders, Half Shaft, Independent Suspension, Oil Pump, Power Brakes, Spark Plugs

Study Guide


Normal combustion in an engine is initiated by a spark plug and results in the complete burning of the air-fuel mixture. If combustion is initiated by a source other than the spark plug, by a hot spot in the cylinder or combustion chamber for example, pre-ignition results. Detonation results if the air-fuel mixture explodes instead of burning. Detonation can cause extremes in pressure in the combustion chamber leading to engine damage.

Compression Stroke

During the compression stroke, both intake and exhaust valves are closed as the piston begins moving back up from the bottom of the cylinder (bottom dead center or BDC). This compresses the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber which also makes it hotter.

Control Arms

Control arms (upper and lower) connect a vehicle's suspension to the frame. The connection to the wheels is through ball joints which allow the control arms to turn and move up and down simultaneously. The frame connection uses bushings.


Cylinders act as a guide for the pistons that translate the heat energy of combustion into the mechanical energy necessary to move a vehicle. Piston rings seal the piston to the cylinder to contain combustion gases and also regulate the oil distribution between the piston and cylinder wall. A cylinder head closes in the top of the cylinder forming the combustion chamber which is sealed by a head gasket (head). The head provides space for air and fuel intake valves, exhaust valves, and mounts for spark plugs and fuel injectors.

Half Shaft

A half shaft is a drive axle that extends from a transaxle or differential to one of the drive wheels. There are two half shafts per drive axle, one for each wheel, each doing "half" the job.

Independent Suspension

Most modern cars use an independent suspension system on the front wheels. This setup allows each of the wheels on an axle to move independently in response to road level variations. Independent suspension offers much better handling and stability when compared to a rigid axle suspension at the cost of being structurally weaker and more costly to maintain.

Oil Pump

The oil pump is driven by the camshaft and is responsible for pumping oil through the oil galleries (passages) that run throughout the engine. It also contains the oil filter and a pressure relief valve which prevents excessive pressure from building up in the lubrication system.

Power Brakes

Power brakes multiply the force a driver applies to the brake pedal using a vacuum booster connected to the engine intake manifold. This provides for much higher hydraulic pressure in the braking system than could be generated by the driver alone. Antilock brakes (ABS) use speed sensors and adjust the brake pressure at each wheel to prevent skidding and allow the driver more steering control in slippery conditions.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs receive current from the distributor and use it to spark combustion in the combustion chamber of a cylinder.