An automobile is a motorized vehicle for travel on land. It carries passengers or cargo and is propelled by a gas, diesel or electric engine. The term automobile is often used to distinguish this type of vehicle from trucks, which are designed primarily for the transport of goods, and buses (or omnibuses), which are large public transportation vehicles intended to carry many passengers and sometimes small amounts of cargo.
Automobiles are one of the most influential inventions of modern times. They allow people to move freely from place to place and, in many places around the world, have become the primary means of personal transportation. They also make it possible for families to spend more time together by allowing them to travel to events such as sports games, school functions and shopping trips.
Most modern automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines. These engines use gasoline, diesel fuel, or kerosene to produce the heat needed to make the pistons inside the cylinders move, which in turn causes the wheels to rotate. Most cars are equipped with a transmission, which converts the rotational motion of the wheels into the mechanical power that makes the car go forward or backward. The system of regulating and controlling the engine, transmission, and other automobile systems is called the control system.
Thousands of individual parts make up an automobile. Similar to the human body, these parts are arranged into several semi-independent systems that perform distinct functions. For example, the circulatory system of an automobile contains systems that cool the engine with water and supply lubricating oil to it through tubes. The automobile’s skeletal system, analogous to the bones of the human body, supports and protects the other systems.
The suspension system of an automobile consists of springs and shock absorbers that provide cushioning to the automobile’s frame. The springs are attached to the chassis and to the wheels, and they can be compressed by the weight of the automobile. The shock absorbers are made of a series of chambers and tubes filled with hydraulic fluid, which reduce the jarring impact of rough road surfaces.
Other important systems of an automobile include the brakes, which work by friction to slow or stop the car when it is being driven or parked. The steering system helps to control the automobile’s direction by changing its speed or angle of travel, and the braking and lighting systems help to keep the driver and other motorists safe. The electrical system provides the electricity for the ignition and other electronic systems. The fuel supply system ensures that the engine has enough gasoline or other fuel to operate. Finally, the exhaust system keeps the engine clean by removing harmful gases from the engine. These gases are then expelled through the muffler. In addition, the air conditioning system keeps the interior of the automobile comfortable in hot or cold weather.