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Home School of Transportation Blog 2017 December 04 A Few Car Parts Everyone Should Know

A Few Car Parts Everyone Should Know

picture of Centennial College Automotive Service Technician Canadian Tire modified apprenticeship program students working in a garage with car parts

As a driver, you should have some basic knowledge of the car's main components. If your car breaks down, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to figure out what's what.

While students in Centennial College's Automotive Service Technician Canadian Tire (MAP 32) program master vehicle systems from bumper to bumper, including complex electrical and computer systems, during their in-class, lab and on-the-job- training, here is a crash course in car parts everyone should know. 


At the centre of your car's cooling system is the radiator. If it has issues, your car will overheat and that could result in engine damage. Most times, overheating occurs when the radiator is cracked or ruptured. One remedy when it comes to the radiator is topping off your coolant or antifreeze. In most cars, reports Hubert Vester Auto Group, it's a slender piece of plastic or metal at the front of the engine compartment between the engine and the grille.


The battery is the part of your car that delivers voltage to power electronic components. Without it, you wouldn't be able to start your car. But, surprisingly, according to Tire Discounters, the battery is one of the car's most overlooked components — mainly because it doesn't offer much advanced warning before giving out. It is good to remember that the average battery lasts between four to six years, so always note the last time you had it checked. Also, if you notice that your car is taking a bit longer to start or you're having electrical component malfunctions or see the battery dashboard light, the battery is likely failing.

Engine Dipstick

The oil in the engine lubricates the car parts. Not enough oil increases friction, which could lead to thousand spent at the mechanic. The engine dipstick typically has a yellow or orange handle and when you pull it out, you can see the level of oil in your engine. Here's how you do that, according to ThoughtCo: with the hood safely propped, pull the dipstick out and wipe the end clean with a rag. Re-insert the dipstick into the engine, making sure it goes all the way in. When you pull it out, don't turn it upside down. The dipstick will have two marks at the bottom. They are usually either lines or holes in the stick. The oil level can be read by looking to see where the oily part ends and the dry part begins. If it's between the two marks, you're good to go. If it's below the bottom mark, you need to add oil.

Air Filter

Air filters must be maintained to ensure performance because engines need the right balance of air and gasoline to function correctly. Typically, they last anywhere between 24,000 kilometers to 48,000 kilometers but if you live in an area with dirt roads or lots of construction, you might need to have your air filter changed more frequently. If an air filter is clogged, it can lead to a reduction in gas mileage and horsepower and potentially cause your engine to stall. By the way, replacement filters range from only $25 to $50.


In terms of safety, brakes are the most essential aspect of any car. Of course, an expert will be able to help you determine what the problem is but you should be able to identify when there may be a problem. Tire Discounters advises drivers to be on the lookout for: screeching or grinding sounds when applying the brakes, a vibration when applying the brakes, reduced responsiveness when applying the brakes and feeling the car “pull” to one side when applying the brakes.

This article takes a look at five important car parts. Are these parts that you already know? If so, join Centennial College's Automotive Service Technician Canadian Tire (MAP 32) program.

By Izabela Szydlo