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How a Car Works

Automatic Transmission

Ever wonder how your automatic transmission knows to shift gears? Why is it that when you stop, the engine doesn’t die? An automatic transmission seems pretty simple; after all, you just put it in drive and go. But as with most things automotive, a lot of complexity goes into making it look easy. All Trans Autos are here to help you understand how your car works using our car explainer videos.

Axles & Driveline

Whether you drive a 500-hp sports car or a 96-hp economy hatchback, all that potency under your car’s or truck’s hood is useless if the engine’s torque doesn’t get to the drive wheels through a complex maze of gears. All Trans Autos are here to help you understand how your car works using our explainer videos. Here’s a car explainer video to help you understand the mystery under the floorboards and what really happens when you press down on the accelerator, helping you understand how a car works.

Car Body

While it’s never nice to think about the worst that might happen on the road, ensuring your car has the right safety features can make all the difference in an accident. Thankfully, new cars have never been safer. Manufacturers are continually developing vehicle safety technology to not only mitigate the effects of a collision but, in some cases, avoid one altogether. In this car explainer video, we discuss the different safety and comfort features in your car, helping you understand how a car works.

Brake System

So how can a light push on a car’s brake pedal slow a speeding car to an abrupt stop? Is it magic? Of course not! It’s science. A car in motion has a lot of kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion. To stop a car, the brakes have to get rid of that kinetic energy. They do so by using the force of friction to convert that kinetic energy into heat. In this explainer video, we discuss what happens when you press your foot down on the brake pedal and how this then applies the brakes to slow down or stop the car.

Cooling System

What is a car’s cooling system? What does a car’s cooling system look like? How does the cooling system work? Heat is an engine’s fickle friend: too much of it will cause it to expand and seize; too little and it won’t run efficiently, on the way to wearing out. A car engine produces a lot of heat when it is running and must be cooled continuously to avoid engine damage. Generally, this is done by circulating coolant liquid usually water mixed with an antifreeze solution through special cooling passages. Some engines are cooled by air flowing over finned cylinder casings. In this car cooling system explainer video, we use animation to show you how your cooling system works.

Electrical System

A car’s electrical system is a bit like your body’s circulatory system in that it has a battery (the heart) from which electricity (blood) flows along the wires (the blood vessels) to the parts that require it, before returning to the battery. Great analogy right! The battery stores the electricity generated by the car’s alternator and distributes it around the car to the vehicle’s so-called ancillary circuits that include the lights. The other main circuit is the power-hungry ignition circuit that includes the spark plugs, while the starter motor has its own connection. In this vehicle electrical system explainer video, we show you how your cars electrical system works, using the help of our animation, helping you understand how a car works.

Engine Mechanical Servicing

Get in the habit of conducting regular vehicle maintenance and you’ll avoid potentially costly breakdowns as well as extend the life of your car. But do you really need to service your car? It’s a common question that’s often asked by people who are cautious about where they spend their money when it comes to their cars. While many new cars with low mileage can go up to three years without needing a service, but for the majority of cars, regular servicing is highly recommended. In this scheduled maintenance explainer video, we use animation to show why maintaining your car with yearly car services is important.

Car Engine

For most people, a car is a thing they fill with gas that moves them from point A to point B. But have you ever wondered how the combination of an engine, fuel, and air makes your car move? How does it actually do that? An internal-combustion engine is a heat engine in that it converts energy from the heat of burning gasoline into mechanical work, or torque. That torque is applied to the wheels to make the car move. In this engine explainer video, we use animation to explain in plain English how your car engine works, just in case you’re not an engineer.

Engine  Management

The engine management system is arguably one of the smartest systems in today’s vehicle. After all, it is responsible for the entire combustion process – mixing the right amount of fuel to the air entering the engine and igniting the compressed air/fuel mixture in the cylinder – more than earning its reputation as the brains of the car. You could have all the right parts to make the power, but if the tuning is not optimized you’ll be down on power, suffer from poor gas mileage and you may even cause damage to your engine. There is nothing more critical to the performance of an engine than the amount of fuel delivered and the timing of when the spark plug is ignited. In this engine management explainer video, we use animation to describe the purpose of the engine management system and how it works.

Exhaust System

Your exhaust has four main functions: to control noise, to direct exhaust fumes away from passengers, to improve the performance of the engine and to improve fuel consumption. As you’re sitting in a traffic jam, gazing at the smoke coming out of the tailpipe in front of you and rising to join the smog in the sky, think for a moment about what that smoke is. It might not look like much, but that smoke has come a long way since it was pushed through the car’s engine just moments before. In this exhaust explainer video, we use animation to show you in simple terms, exactly what your exhaust does, helping you understand how a car works.


Since the invention of the automobile, drivers have sought ways to make their cars more efficient and reliable. Today’s cars are the best they’ve ever been, but they’re still not the maintenance-free wonder machines. Fluids play a huge role in almost every facet of your car, including fuel economy and longevity. Keeping them at the proper level will help your car last longer and drive better, something we can all get behind. Cars need frequent TLC, so in this fluid management explainer video, we use animation to explain why your vehicle fluids need attention, helping you understand how a car works.

Fuel System

Ever wondered what happens to the fuel you always have put into your car? The function of the vehicle fuel system is to store and supply fuel to the engine. The engine intake system is where the fuel is mixed with air, atomized, and vaporized. Then it can be compressed in the engine cylinder and ignited to produce energy or power. Although fuel systems vary from engine to engine, all systems are the same in that they must supply fuel to the combustion chamber and control the amount of fuel supplied in relation to the amount of air. In this fuel system explainer video, we use animation to show you how the fuel system supplies fuel to the engine. It’s amazing really!

Heating & Air Conditioning

Most of us take our vehicles heating and cooling for granted. We expect our vehicle heating systems to keep us warm during the winter, and we depend on air-conditioning to keep us cool during the summer. Ever wondered how your heater and air conditioning (A/C) actually works? In this heating and air conditioning explainer video, we use animation to take a look at how both systems work to keep us driving comfortable all year round, helping you understand how a car works.

Ignition System

The purpose of the ignition system is to generate a very high voltage from the car’s 12-volt battery, and to send this to each spark plug in turn, igniting the fuel-air mixture in the engine’s combustion chambers. One could argue that the ignition system is where it all comes together, with a perfectly timed spark. In this ignition system explainer video, we use animation to help you learn about ignition systems and how they work, helping you understand how a car works.

Manual Drivetrain

Ever wondered what happens when you use your gear stick? A manual transmission, also known as a manual gearbox, a standard transmission, stick shift, or simply gearbox, is a type of transmission used in motor vehicle applications. It uses a driver-operated clutch, usually engaged and disengaged by a foot pedal or hand lever, for regulating torque transfer from the engine to the transmission; and a gear selector that can be operated by hand. The workings of a Manual transmission is explained in an illustrative and logical manner in this video with the help of an animation, helping you understand how a car works.

Steering System

When you rotate the steering wheel, the car responds. But how does this steering system in cars give you a smooth route forward? A group of parts called the steering system transmits the movement of the steering wheel down the steering shaft to move the wheels left and right – although car wheels don’t turn at the same angle. If you’d like to know the anatomy of a steering system and how it supports handling, road holding and driveability, here is an easy to understand explainer video, with the help of an animation, helping you understand how a car works.

Suspension System

You’re able to enjoy a comfortable and stable ride thanks to your car’s suspension system – it absorbs the lumps and bumps found in every road surface, and allows you to accelerate, brake and corner safely. The job of a car suspension is to maximize the friction between the tires and the road surface, to provide steering stability with good handling and to ensure the comfort of the passengers. In this suspension explainer video, we’ll explore how car suspensions work using the help of our easy to understand animation, helping you understand how a car works.

Tyre Wear

Whenever you’re driving, whatever type of road you’re driving on, it’s a sobering thought that the most important part of the vehicle which ensures that you keep yourself, your passengers, your cargo, and all other road users safe, is the area of roughly 23 to 28 square inches (15,000 to 18,000 square millimetres) at any one time. This is the amount of your fitted tyre surface which is in direct contact with the road at any one time – that’s no more than the average pair of shoes. But when you consider that this amount of contact is keeping you, your car, your occupants and everything else you’re carrying moving safely at all times, that’s quite a lot of responsibility for four patches of rubber to be carrying. In this tyre explainer video, we use animation to show what your tyres do in an easy to understand way, helping you understand how a car works.