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What is an Automobile ?

How does it work ?

What makes it work ?

An automobile is a vehicle that is capable of propelling itself.
[object which moves or propels by itself on its own is known
as Auto-Mobile].
Any Automobile consists of Power-train and Non- power-train
Parts involved in the process of generating power to converting it
to Motion are called Power-Train components.
Parts like Body, Frame, Interiors and Steering are Non Power-
Train components.

Parts like Engine, Clutch, Transmission, Propeller Shaft,

Differential are Power-Train components.
Classification of Automobiles:
Automobiles can be classified into several types based on many criteria.
1. Based on Purpose :
Passenger vehicles: These vehicles carry passengers. e.g: Buses, Cars, trains.
Goods vehicles: These vehicles carry goods from one place to another place.
Special Purpose: These vehicles include Ambulance, Army Vehicles.

2. Based on Load Capacity:

Light duty vehicle: Small motor vehicles. eg: Car, jeep, Scooter, motorcycle
Heavy duty vehicle: large and bulky motor vehicles. e.g: Bus, Truck, Tractor

3. Based on fuel used:

Petrol engine vehicles : Automobiles powered by a petrol engine.
Diesel engine vehicles : Automobiles powered by diesel engine. e.g: Trucks
Gas vehicles : Vehicles that use gas turbine as a power source
Electric vehicles : Automobiles that use electricity as a power source.
Steam Engine vehicles : Automobiles powered by steam engine.
4. Based on Drive of the vehicles:
Left-Hand drive : Steering wheel fitted on the left-hand side.
Right-Hand drive : Steering wheel fitted on the right-hand side.
Fluid drive : Vehicles employing torque converter, fluid flywheel or hydramatic

5. Based on number of wheels and axles:

Two wheeler : motorcycles, scooters
Three-wheelers : Tempo, auto-rickshaws
Four wheeler : car, Jeep, Bus, truck
Six-wheelers : Buses and trucks have six tires out of which four are carried on
the rear wheels for additional reaction.
Six axle wheeler : Dodge(10 tire) vehicle

6. Based on type of transmission:

Automatic transmission vehicles: Automobiles that are capable of changing gear
ratios automatically as they move. e.g: Automatic Transmission Cars.
Manual transmission vehicles: Can be changed manually.
Semi-automatic transmission vehicles: manual gear changing with a clutch pedal.

7. Based on Suspension system used:

Convectional Leaf Spring
Independent Coil spring, Torsion bar, Pneumatic.
Components of an Automobile:
The main units of an automobile are:
1. The Basic structure
2. The Power plant
3. The Transmission system
4. The Auxiliaries
5. The Controls
6. The Superstructure
1.The Basic structure
Suspension system

A frame is the main structure of the chassis of a motor vehicle. All other
components fasten to it; a term for this is design is body-on-frame

There are two distinct forms of construction in common use:

1) The conventional pressed steel frame to which all the mechanical
units are attached and on which the body is superimposed.

2) The integral or frameless construction, in which the body structure is

so designed as to combine the functions of body and frame, the units
normally attached to the frame then being attached directly to the body.
The frameless construction has the following advantages over the
conventional framed construction:
1. Reduce weight and consequent saving in fuel consumption.
2. Lower manufacturing cost.
3. During collision the body crumbles, thereby absorbing the shock
due to impact and thus providing safety to the passengers.
4. Compared to frame construction lower body position may be
obtained, thus resulting in increased stability of the automobile.
Disadvantages of frameless construction:
1. Reduction of strength and durability.
2. Economical only if frameless construction is adopted in mass
3. Increased cost of repairs in case of damage to body during
4. Topless cars are difficult to design with the frameless
Chassis is a skeletal frame on which various mechanical parts like
engine, tires, axle assemblies, brakes, steering etc. are bolted.
The chassis is considered to be the most significant component of
an automobile.
It is the most crucial element that gives strength and stability to the
vehicle under different conditions.
Automobile frames provide strength and flexibility to the
The backbone of any automobile, it is the supporting frame to
which the body of an engine, axle assemblies are affixed. Tie bars,
that are essential parts of automotive frames, are fasteners that
bind different auto parts together.
Basically a chassis is the main base on which the vehicle's body sits.
Conventional Framed Construction
Suspension System:
The Objective of suspension are:
To prevent the road shock from being transmitted to the vehicle
To safeguard the occupants from road shock.
To preserve the stability of the vehicle in pitching or rolling, while
in motion.

Types of suspension systems:

1. The conventional system, in which the road springs are attached
to a rigid beam axle.
2. The independent system, in which there is no rigid axle beam
and wheel is free to move vertically without any reaction on the
other wheel.
The weight-carrying portion of the axles, weather it may be front or
rear, may be considered as beams supported at the ends, loaded at
two intermediate points.
It is subjected to vertical load, side thrust, torque reaction etc.
A conventional front axle still in heavy vehicles, being a dead axle, is
almost invariably a simple section forging connected with stub axles,
at its outer ends by means of king pins or ball joints.
Wire spoked wheels have been used mainly on sports cars, primarily
on account of their light weight and quickness in changing the wheel.
However, the pressed steel wheel has displaced these for all ordinary
Such a wheel consists of a central flanged disc pressed into a rolled
section rim and retained in position by welding.
Light alloy wheels are currently used in most cases.
Front and rear Axles of an automobile

2.The Power Plant (Engine):
3.The Transmission system:
The transmission system consists of a clutch, a gear box giving
four, five or even six different ratios of torque output t torque
A propeller shaft to transmit the torque from the gear box to the
rear axle and a different gear to distribute the final torque
equally between the driving wheels.

The function of a transmission system are:

1. To disconnect the engine from road wheels when desired.
2. To connect the engine to the driving wheels without shock.
3. To vary the leverage between the engine and the driving wheels.
4. To reduce the engine speed permanently in a fixed ratio.
5. To turn the drive through a right angle.
6. To make provision for the flexing of the road springs which causes a
relative movement between the engine and the driving wheels.
Advantages of Front engine front wheel drive:
1. Low chassis weight Since it is near to engine , it eliminates the propeller
shaft and simplifying linkage for actuation of clutch and transmission.
2. Engine pulls the car rather then pushing it , avoiding skidding tendency,
thus providing safety especially on snow covered roads.
3. Better road adhesion is obtained because larger part of the weight of
automobile is taken on the driving wheels.

1. Front wheels which are in case driving wheels have to be steered also,
which makes the whole arrangement complicated.
2. Two constant velocity joints have to be used in this case, because
ordinary universal joints would give large speed fluctuation.
3.When going up steep gradients , the component of automobile weight on
driving wheel is reduced, this results in decrease of tractive effort.
4. Increased concentration of weight at the front tends to make steering
slightly heavier.
Advantages of Front engine with rear drive:
FR layout is often chosen for its simple design and good handling
Even weight distribution
During heavy acceleration, weight is placed on the rear, or driving
wheels, which improves traction
Better Serviceability
Robustnessdue to geometry and packaging constraints, the universal
joints attached to the wheel hub have a tendency to wear out much
later than the CV Joints typically used in front-wheel drive counterparts

Disadvantages of Front engine with rear drive:

Increased weightThe components of a rear wheel drive vehicle's power
train are less complex, but they are larger
Higher initial purchase price
Advantage of rear engine with rear wheel drive:
1. When going up steep gradients, Increase of tractive effort
2. Front axle construction is simplified which is used for steering only
3. Absence of propeller shaft allows to decrease the chassis weight
4. Noise and heat are carried away from the passengers and front of the
vehicle can be designed for better visibility because of absence of engine.
5. Silencer system and exhaust pipe need not span the entire length of
vehicle and can be compact.

Disadvantages of rear engine with rear wheel drive:

1. Increased weight of vehicle at the rear causes the vehicle to become
unstable at high speeds.
2. Cooling efficiency is reduced .
3. Dangerous at the time of collision as petrol tank is placed in front
4. The Auxiliaries:
The principle one , that is common to all type of vehicles:
The electrical equipment
1) Supply system Battery and dynamo
2) The starter
3) The ignition system- battery and magneto ignition
4) Ancillary devices-
Driving lights- head lights, side-lights , tail lights , number plate illumination.
Signalling- horn , direction indicators and brake light.
Other lights-interior roof lights, panel light and reverse light
Miscellaneous- radio , heater , fans, electrical fuel pump, electric windscreen
5. The Controls:
Brakes and Steering of an automobile
6. The Superstructure:
Body of a car decides the space available for passenger and
language in the car. There are various type of body used in Indian
market. And they are given below.
Hatchbacks are vehicles with a separate engine area, and
passenger area (or two boxes), the luggage area is enclosed with
the passenger area behind the rear seats.
Example: Nano, Indica, Jazz,etc.
Sedan/Notchback are basically vehicles with an engine area,
passenger area, and boot area (or three box), all separate.
Example: Indigo Manza, Swift Dzire etc.
Estate/Station Wagon are modified saloon vehicles by combining
the boot with passenger area & extending it till the roof. The boot
area is significantly larger and does not have third row seating.
This makes it convenient to carry big objects.
Example: Indigo Marina, Octavia Combi etc.
Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) / Multi Utility Vehicle (MUV) can have the
engine, passenger area and boot area enclosed together or they can have the
engine area separate and the passenger and boot area enclosed. MUV/MPV
can also have third row of seating. These vehicles are two wheel drive.
Example: Sumo Grande, Tata Tavera, Tata Innova etc.

Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) These vehicle have large tyres, higher seating,
higher ground clearance. The engine area is separate and the passenger and
boot area are enclosed together. These vehicles are either equipped with 4
wheel drive or has as an option of 4 wheel drive.
Example: Safari, Scorpio, Gypsy, Fortuner.

Pick-Up Truck These vehicle have large tyres, higher seating capacity, higher
ground clearance. The engine area is separate and the passenger
compartment available in single or double cab configurations. Also, luggage
loading bay is available behind the passenger compartment. These vehicles
are either equipped with 4 wheel drive or has as an option of 4 wheel drive.
Example: Xenon, Scorpio Getaway etc.

Van The engine is placed below the passenger area. Vans can also have Third
row of seating. They are also taller and generally more spacious.
Example: Winger, Ace Magic, Omni etc.
Automobile Production - Future Trends:
Though the present day automobiles have travelled a long distance
since the first motorized vehicle appeared on the road about a
hundred years ago, After about a century, basic changes are taking
place in the very concept of the automobile and its system of
After about a century, basic changes are taking place in the very
concept of the automobile and its system of production.
Some of the special characteristics of automobile production in the
future will be:
Improved Performance: Performance in respect of driving,
reliability, speed and stability would improve enormously during the
next few decades.
Increased Creature Comforts: The automobile of the future will
have greatly increased comfort, aesthetics and driving/travelling
conveniences. These automobiles will contain a lot of electronic
gadgets to facilitate driving/travelling and to diagnose and correct
any malfunction.
Increased Safety Features: Built-in features in the automobiles
of the future would reduce and ultimately eliminate auto
accidents and driver/passenger injuries resulting there from.
These automobiles would be programmed to run automatically
on specified tracks/routes and would have built in anti-collision
Automation: Automobile factories of the future will have fully
automated pro Automation and its resultant flexibility will make
it feasible for automobile companies to accept small, non-
standardised orders and process.
Rapidly Changing Designs: Unlike the designs of the past which
lasted for a number of years for a model of vehicle, the demand
characteristics for automobiles in the future would change very
rapidly making a model absolute in a few months.
Technology: To cope with modern trend by using different full-
proof advanced technology.
SAFETY features in a car:
1. Seat Belts
2. All-Wheel Drive
3. Air Bags
4. Anti-lock Brake Systems
5. Electronic Stability Control
6. Head Injury Protection
7. Traction Control
8. Head Restraints
1) Seat Belts:
In the event of a crash, seat belts are designed to keep you inside the
vehicle. They also reduce the risk that you will collide with the steering
wheel, dashboard, or windshield.

2) All-Wheel Drive:
All-wheel drive distributes power to both front and rear wheels to
maximize traction. Unless combined with traction control, all-wheel drive
systems do not prevent the drive wheels from slipping when you apply
excess power during acceleration.

3)Air Bags:
Depending on the speed at impact and the stiffness of the object struck,
front air bags inflate to prevent occupants from hitting the dashboard,
steering wheel, and windshield.

4)Antilock Brake System:

An antilock brake system (ABS) prevents a vehicle's wheels from locking
during "panic braking, which allows the driver to maintain greater
steering control a key factor in avoiding a collision.
5) Electronic Stability Control:
Electronic stability control is designed to assist drivers in maintaining
control of their vehicles during extreme steering manoeuvres. Electronic
stability control senses when a vehicle is starting to spin out (over steer) or
Plot out (under steer), and it automatically applies the brake to a single

6) Head Restraints:
Head restraints are extensions of the vehicle's seats that limit head
movement during a rear-impact crash, thus, reducing the probability of
neck injury. Head restraints meeting specific size and strength
requirements are required in front seats, but not in rear seats.

7) Traction Control:
Traction control systems improve vehicle stability by controlling the
amount the drive wheels can slip when you apply excess power. The
system automatically adjusts the engine power output and, in some
systems, applies braking force to selected wheels during acceleration.
Traction control is mainly found in vehicles with four-wheel antilock brake