We'll Give You an Auto Part, You Tell Us What It Connects To

By: Justin Cupler
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
21 - wheel bearing What does the wheel bearing connect to?
The rim
The wheel hub and wheel knuckle
The wheel bearing provides the smooth movement needed between the wheel hub and knuckle. This circular bearing sits between the wheel hub and knuckle to make the wheels rotate easily and friction-free.
The tires
The brake caliper

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7 - piston rings What do the piston rings connect to?
The connecting rods
The pistons
The piston rings snap into small grooves in each piston. They prevent fuel from dripping out of the cylinder and into the oil and hold the compression caused by internal combustion in the cylinder, which gives the engine the power to move the vehicle.
The gas pedal
The muffler

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3 - camshafts What do the camshafts connect to?
Serpentine belt
Alternator
Timing assembly
The camshaft or camshafts sit inside the engine block of in the cylinder head, but their mechanical connection is to the timing assembly, be it a belt, chain or series of gears. This timing assembly spins the camshaft, which opens and closes the exhaust and intake valves in the correct timing.
Muffler

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13 - serpentine belt What does a serpentine belt connect to?
The wheels
Between the engine and the rear differential
The pulleys on each accessory (alternator, air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump, etc.)
The serpentine belt transfers the engine's power to the vehicle's various accessory systems, like air conditioning, power steering, the alternator and more. If this belt breaks, one or more of these systems will stop working.
The fuel pump

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4 - timing belt What does the timing belt or chain connect to?
Timing system pulleys or sprockets
The timing belt or chain connects to a series of pulleys or sprockets that keep the entire engine in the correct timing. They synchronize the crankshaft, water pump and valves with the electronic ignition components.
The top of the engine
The cylinders
The valve cover

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12 - oil pan What does the oil pan connect to?
The bottom of the engine block
The engine oil pan bolts to the bottom of the engine and holds all the oil the engine requires. Its placement is the reason why it is so important to not hit speed bumps too fast, as this can cause the car to "bottom out" and damage the pan.
On top of the engine
On the right side of the engine
Near the gas tank

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30 - muffler What does the muffler connect to?
The exhaust system
While its exact position varies by vehicle, the muffler always connects to the exhaust system at some point. The muffler helps keep noise to a minimum.
The engine
The emissions system
The cylinder head

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15 - alternator What does the alternator connect to?
The front of the engine block via a bracket
The alternator uses a bracket to mount it to the front of the engine. This aligns it with the crankshaft pulley and allows a serpentine belt to transfer the engine's power to it.
The rear of the engine
The crankshaft
The camshaft

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20 - brake pads What do the brake pads connect to?
Only the rotors
The wheels
The wheel hubs
Rotors, calipers and caliper brackets
The brake pads contact several components in normal operation. They sit within the brake caliper bracket and are held in place by the brake caliper. When the caliper squeezes the pads, they contact the rotors to stop the vehicle.

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19 - brake rotors What do the brake rotors connect to?
The wheel hub
The brake rotor connects to the wheel hub, typically via a small screw. Over time, the heat caused by braking can create a strong bond between the hub and rotor, forcing you to hit the rotor with a mallet to free it.
The rims
The struts
The brake lines

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25 - rear differential cover What does the rear differential cover connect to?
The wheels
Wheel bearings
Rear differential housing
The rear differential cover connects to the differential housing to protect the rear differential from dirt. This cover also keeps the differential oil in place and lubricates the moving parts.
Differential ports

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28 - oil drain plug What does the oil drain plug connect to?
The engine
The oil pan
The oil drain plug screws into one of the lowest parts of the oil pan. Unscrewing this plug allows you to drain the oil for an oil change.
The transmission
The gas tank

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1 - cylinder head Where is the cylinder head located?
Top of the engine block
The cylinder head sits on top of the engine block, directly above the pistons. It houses the exhaust and intake valves, and in some engines, the camshafts.
Under the engine
Behind the engine
On the side of the engine

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16 - inner tie-rod ends What do the inner tie-rod ends connect to?
Steering rack and outer tie-rod ends
The inner tie-rod end is the connection point between the steering rack and the outer tie-rod end. These components not only allow flexibility, but also allow you to fine-tune the alignment by twisting them.
The front hubs
The front struts
The steering wheel

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27 - transmission shift linkage What does the transmission shift linkage connect to?
Gas pedal and transmission
Transmission and steering wheel
Gear shifter and transmission
The transmission shift linkage is the mechanical connection between the transmission and gear shifter. It transmits the gear you choose inside the vehicle to the transmission. In some modern cars, manufacturers replaced this mechanical connection with an electric one.
Transmission and front wheels

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22 - transmission What does the transmission connect to?
The flywheel or flexplate
The transmission connects to the rear of the engine via the flywheel or flexplate. It transfers the power from the engine to the wheels.
The side of the engine
The wheels
The bottom of the engine

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32 - accelerator pedal What does the accelerator pedal connect to?
The engine
The fuel pump
Accelerator cable or sensor
The accelerator pedal delivers the driver's desired power to the engine via a mechanical or electrical connection. In mechanical setups, the accelerator pedal attaches to an accelerator cable to deliver this input. In newer vehicles, a sensor is used to deliver it.
The Accelerometer

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11 - valve cover What does the valve cover connect to?
The top of the cylinder head
The valve cover acts as the shield for the top of the cylinder head. It prevents debris from getting into the moving parts and keeps the oil contained in the cylinder head.
The engine block
The oil pan
The starter

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14 - steering wheel What does the steering wheel connect to?
Steering hub
Tilting assembly
The turnorometer
The steering column
The steering column transfers the steering wheel input to the steering rack. This is what turns the wheels in the direction in which you turn the steering wheel.

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35 - torque converter What does a torque converter connect to?
The transmission input shaft and flexplate
The torque converter connects to the engine flexplate and the transmission input shaft to transfer power from the engine to the transmission. The torque converter goes into a lockup mode at highway cruising speeds.
The engine
The torque shaft
The crankshaft

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23 - drive shaft What does the drive shaft connect to?
The rear wheels
The transmission and rear differential
The drive shaft connects the transmission to the rear differential. It connects to both the transmission and rear differential to transfer power. In some sports cars, this shaft transfers power from the engine to a rear-mounted transmission.
The engine and rear differential
The rear differential and rear wheels

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29 - catalytic converter What does the catalytic converter connect to?
The exhaust system
The catalytic converter connects to the exhaust system, but its exact positioning varies by vehicle. This component converts all the toxins in the exhaust into less harmful fumes.
The emission-control system
The engine
The muffler

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5 - wrist pins What do the wrist pins connect to?
The steering wheel
The front wheels
The gear shifter
The pistons and connecting rods
The wrist pins connect the pistons to the connecting rods. They allow the piston to tilt forward and backward as the connecting rod pumps up and down inside the cylinder.

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33 - master cylinder What does the master cylinder connect to?
The brake booster
The brake master cylinder bolts to a brake booster, which uses a vacuum to increase the power your brake pedal inputs to stop the vehicle. You can generally find this assembly near the rear driver's side of the engine compartment.
The brake pedal
The wheels
The engine

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2 - exhaust and intake valves What do the exhaust and intake valves connect to?
The engine block
The camshaft or pushrods
The intake and exhaust valves sit in the cylinder head, but they make a mechanical connection to the camshaft in an overhead-cam engine or the pushrods in an overhead-valve engine. The intake valves allow gas and fuel into the engine, and the exhaust valves allow the fumes from the burned fuel to flow into the exhaust.
The pistons
The oil filter

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24 - center-support bearing.ng What does the center-support bearing connect to?
The crankshaft
The driveshaft
The center support bearing connects to the rough center point of the driveshaft, supporting it and allowing it to rotate freely. When this bearing goes bad, you'll hear a loud grinding noise while driving.
The wheels
The cylinder head

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31 - wheels What do the wheels connect to?
Wheel hub
While the wheels do contact the rotors and lug nuts, their physical connection to a vehicle is via the wheel hubs. Always torque wheels to their proper specification to avoid damaging the hubs or their bolts.
Lug nuts
Brake rotors
Axles

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8 - pistons What do the pistons connect to?
The crankshaft
The connecting rods
The pistons make their mechanical connection with the connecting rods. The connecting rods transfer the energy created by internal combustion from the pistons to the crankshaft.
The camshafts
The engine block

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9 - connecting rods What do the connecting rods connect to?
Pistons and crankshaft
The connecting rods form the connection between the pistons and the crankshaft. They transfer the energy from internal combustion to the crankshaft, which helps move the vehicle.
Camshaft and pistons
Valves and cylinders
Muffler and catalytic converter

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17 - outer tie rod ends What do the outer tie rod ends connect to?
The shocks
The steering wheel
The inner tie-rod end and wheel knuckle
The outer tie-rod end is the outermost steering component before the wheels -- it connects the inner tie-rod end and wheel knuckle. The outer tie-rod end turns the wheels and includes a ball joint for flexibility.
The inner tie-rod end and strut

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6 - main bearings What do the main bearings connect to?
The crankshaft
The main bearings connect to the crankshaft and allow it to rotate free of friction in the cylinder block. Without these bearings, the crankshaft would erode and fail over time.
The camshaft
The pistons
The fuel filter

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26 - struts What do struts connect to?
Upper strut tower and steering​ knuckle
The upper portion of the strut connects to the strut tower in the front fender, and the lower portion of the strut connects to the steering knuckle. The strut twists to allow the vehicle's wheels to turn.
The frame
The wheels
Strut control mounts

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The starter bracket
The top of the engine
The flywheel or flexplate
The starter contacts the teeth on the flexplate or flywheel to spin the engine. This spinning helps start the engine.
The crankshaft

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10 - crankshaft What does the crankshaft connect to?
Flywheel or flexplate
The crankshaft connects to the flywheel or flexplate (varies by vehicle). This is the key connection from the engine to the transmission that drives the vehicle.
The cylinders
The valves
The cylinder head

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18 - brake calipers What do the brake calipers connect to?
A bracket and the wheel knuckle
While the caliper does touch the brake rotor, its actual connection point is a bracket that connects to the wheel knuckle. In some cases, the bracket and knuckle are one piece.
The wheel knuckle and the strut
The wheel well
The rotor

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