We'll Give You an Auto Part, You Tell Us What It Connects To
By: Justin Cupler
Image: Jorge Villalba/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Thousands of parts make up a modern automobile, and these parts range from the tiniest of screws to large components, like an engine block. Having a basic idea of how the parts connect is essential for both mechanics and DIY weekend warriors. Many parts have more than just one connection point, and connecting them in the wrong way can cause severe damage to the vehicle, especially when dealing with electrical components.
Whether you're dealing with a cylinder head or a delicate fuel line, knowing where these parts connect is crucial for repairing and maintaining a car. Connecting them incorrectly means you could find yourself stranded on the side of the road after you thought you fixed the issue.
Do people tell you you're mechanically inclined? Do you think you know what every car part connects to? Find out if you know as much as you think you do by taking this car part quiz. Make sure to share it with your friends to see who can brag that they know the most about vehicles.
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.