“If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Automotive 101

The Electrical System

It may be gasoline that powers up an engine, but it is electricity that initially cranks it up and keeps it running. The most known electrical part in a vehicle is the battery. It supplies power to other electrical parts of an engine. Many may not know this, but the battery is highly dependent on other car parts, like the alternator and the ignition coil. The former converts mechanical power into electrical power and relays this to the battery in order to replenish its continuously dwindling power supply. The latter magnifies the meager output of the battery in order for the electrical parts to have the power supply they need. Without these two you might as well push your car to wherever you’re going.

The importance of the battery can’t be stressed enough. It is the one that relays power to the ignition system of a vehicle. Without it, your spark plug wouldn’t have its spark. The gasoline won’t be ignited, and the mechanical parts of your car won’t move as well. Other car parts that are dependent on electricity are the lighting systems, entertainment components, GPS, alarms and even the power mirrors and windows.

Body Panels

Ugly. Primitive. Unsightly. These are just a few of the words that you’d hear people mumbling if you drive around in a car that has no body panels. And those are just the polite comments. Just wait till you hear the rude ones. And it’s not as if you’d drive around in a stripped car, I’m just stressing how important the body panels are to a vehicle. It affords protection, it acts as a mounting spot for several car parts and it gives your vehicle one heck of an impressive look.

Body panels can be customized to fit your wants and whims. If your car looks sissy and too girly for your taste, you can avail of after-market parts that can make it look sporty and/or imposing. There are also body panels that can add functionality to your vehicle. The market for automotive body panels is so big that the options are almost unlimited. Examples of stock and after-market body panels are: fenders, fender flares, bumper covers, bumper fillers, hood, trims, exterior door panel, roof, bug shields, air deflectors, valances and spoilers.

The downside of body panels is that they’re actually one of the most costly parts to repair or replace. Plus, they get damaged all the time. There are hundreds of different scenarios when you’re likely to get them scratched, dinged, dented and scuffed. And if you figure in an accident, you’ll end up with a messed up vehicle and a large repair bill.


Accessorizing can do wonders for the style and functionality of a vehicle. First, there are thousands of cars of the same make and model. And if you’re unfortunate enough, in a one block radius you could have as much as two or three neighbors who have the exact same car as yours. If you want your car to stand out, you can accessorize it. Maybe you can put grille inserts, emblems and logos and decals. And this is not limited to the exterior of your vehicle, you can also place accessories in the passenger compartment.

Second of all, there are accessories which are geared towards providing your car with some added functions. Bike racks and mounts enable you to easily bring your bike and almost any kind of luggage whenever you feel like going out on a trip. Floor mats, liners, bed extenders, bed rail caps and carpets afford your car with much needed protection. Aside from those, there are still hundreds of car accessories that are ripe for the taking.