Automobile: Definition & Components

An automobile (also called automotive) is a self-propelled vehicle which is used for, the transportation of passengers and goods on the ground. A self-propelled vehicle is that in which power is produced within itself for its propulsion. The various types of self-propelled vehicles are scooters, motor cycles, cars, buses, trucks, tractors, locomotives, motor boats, ships, aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets, etc. Since an automobile is propelled on the ground only, therefore, it differs from other self-propelled vehicles like aeroplane, ship, locomotive, motor boat etc.

An automobile is a combination of a large number of parts. It can be divided into two major constituents i.e. body and the chassis. The body is that part where passengers have their seats or the luggage and cargo to be carried is placed. The chassis is the main machine portion which have constituents like frame, wheels, axles, engine, steering, fuel tank, radiator etc.

In general, an automobile, is made up of the following components:

(a) Basic structure or frame work

(b) Engine or source of power

(c) Transmission system

(d) Body or super structure

(e) Auxiliaries

(f) Controls.

The basic body structure of automobiles is of two types:

(a) Body and frame type and

(b) Unit type (frameless structure also known as monocoque body).

In the body and frame type design, the body is bolted to a separate frame. Most of the suspension, bumper and brake loads are transmitted to the frame. In the unit type design, the sheet metal parts are welded together, forming a framework to which an outer skin is attached. In other words, the chassis is integral with the body. This type of design enables reduction in body weight, and consequently improves the fuel consumption and makes driving easy. It also increases the safety levels because of better impact absorption.

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