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Its a wise and prudent idea for all motorists to have a basic idea of “what is under the hood”, even if they don’t own the truck , car , mini-van or crossover sports utility S.U.V vehicle that they are driving. After all its not only a matter of not being taken at the dealership service center for some part of auto maintenance or care that is not warranted yet.  You may well have an emergency roadside event or a automobile that just won’t start up.  True you can call up roadside assistance or the motor league by a handy cell phone even using some high tech app on your iPhone , Blackberry or Android smart phone.  Yet if you cannot describe what is wrong by having a basic idea of the components , modules and basic layout of the engine and transmission it may be a much more frustrating and longer wait by the side of your vehicle until you are on way to your eventual destination , than it would be otherwise. Add in climate and weather and if you have to wait an hour in a 40 below zero Edmonton Northern Alberta snowstorm , and its no fun what so ever.

What Dark Mysteries Lie Under the Hood of Your Automobile :
What dark mysteries lie under the hood of your car and truck ?  What are the basic components and layout of an automobile power plant and transmission setup ?  Pick up the hood.  There will lever inside your passenger compartment , usually above and to the left of the pedals , nearby the drivers door side.  When you lift up the hood there will also be a safety – secondary latch –to pull towards you, to release the hood fully.

Fan Belts , Distributor and Engine Air Cleaner Units :
What to look for in this myriad of wires and parts ?  First look for belts and pulleys.  These drive the radiator cooling fan  and battery charging alternator device.  Secondly you will see an array of insulted wires coming from a round device called the “distributor”.  The distributor sends electricity over those various insulated (typically black in color) wires to each of the spark plugs , in octopus fashion. The air cleaner is a usually large round , can-like item , usually on the topside of the engine.  Air goes into your engine through the air cleaner – which removes airborne dirt and grime to give you longer , more reliable engine life.  That grit can clog your engine as well as depositing dangerous friction creating grime.

Radiator & Rad Hoses:
Next at the front middle of the grille spot the radiator.  The radiator is sort of like a cooling air-conditioner for your engine removing volumes of waste heat away from the engine system – allowing for the power plant to be maintained at more mechanically efficient temperatures. Essentially the rad is a large metal container with cooling fins through which a coolant referred to as “antifreeze” is pumped into and runs through in a closed and recycling system. You should be able to spot two hoses on the rad.  On at top for filling and one at the bottom for draining.

Power Steering & Brake Fluid Reservoirs Windshield Washer Canister & Motor Block Dipsticks:
Lastly there are a number of sundry items that auto owners and motorists to spot and be able to identify. Your electric storage battery should be easy for you to identify. Its big and rectangle and resembles a cube in shape.  Also spot out or have shown to you :
1) the power steering fluid reservoir
2) brake fluid reservoir
3) Canister which holds the windshield washer fluid
4) The oil and transmission fluid dipsticks for accurate and timely  measurement of these vital mechanical fluids.

Its A Wise Idea to Have a Basic Knowledge of Whats Under the Hood or Bonnet:
You don’t have to be a certified mechanic , car guy or a person with the expertise of a factory trained service center technician to be able to conduct an intelligent and useful basic diagnostic workup with the auto service dispatcher or auto service center calling agent.  By having a brief familiarity with the basic parts and workings of your vehicles  engine and setup under the hood you may well save yourself a fair amount of time , frustration and even cash in your wallet.  Its well worth it and should get you on the travels down the road faster.

Sherwood Parks

Sherwood lives to help people with auto care and maintenance. He has been taught by mentors more experienced in the auto sales and service trades, that its his responsibility to suggest upcoming and preventative maintenance.  Years ago Park said I felt as if I was doing a disservice to sell product ahead of repair and replacement schedules.  Park notes now I feel for example its my duty. Customers don’t need to be stuck on thenorthern Albea highway on the long & desolate stretch from Edmonton to Fort McMurray with their Mazda3 stalled roadside.  Preventative auto maintenance is the best policy overall both for family auto budgets and travel safety. Its all about reliable and economical transportation.