Car Parts That Start With Each Letter: 187 Parts From A to Z

Close-up of car parts under the open hood

Since their introduction in the early 20th century, cars have become integral to human life.

They take us to and from work, around town on errands, and on fascinating road trips near and far.

There are estimated to be over a billion vehicles on the road today — and we’re expected to reach two billion by 2040![1]

Cars are as complex as they are numerous. The average car actually contains over 30,000 individual parts,[2] all of which have to work together to get us where we need to go!

Below, we list the common car parts that start with each letter, from A to Z.

Scroll past the list for tips on finding out more about car parts and how they work.


  1. Airbag
  2. Alternator
    turns mechanical energy into electrical energy
  3. Antenna
  4. Axle
  5. Air filter
  6. Anti-lock braking system
    helps prevent the wheels from locking up or skidding
  7. Airbag sensors
  8. Armrest
  9. Air conditioning system
  10. Air duct
  11. Accelerator
  12. Air vent
  13. Alarm
  14. Axle shaft
    load-bearing parts that transfer rotational force from the transmission to the wheels and axles


  1. Battery
  2. Brake pads
  3. Brake lines
  4. Bumper
  5. Brake light
  6. Ball joints
    connect the control arms to the steering knuckles
  7. Bucket seat
  8. Bearings
  9. Brake drum
  10. Backup camera
  11. Brake pump
  12. Bench seat
  13. Blower motor
    fan that pushes air through the dashboard vents
  14. Brake pedal
  15. Battery cable
  16. Brake shoe


  1. Caliper
    houses the brake pads and pistons
  2. Camshaft
    rotating shafts that activate the intake and exhaust valves for engine cylinders
  3. Carburetor
    mixes air with fuel in the engine
  4. Coolant hose
  5. Chassis
  6. Combination valve
    valve in the brake system that helps balance braking
  7. Clutch assembly
  8. Cooling fan
  9. Catalytic converter
    controls emissions from the engine
  10. Crankshaft
    rotates inside the engine to help it run smoothly
  11. Compressor
    pumps refrigerant into the condenser to power the air conditioning
  12. Cabin filter
    removes pollutants like pollen and dust from the interior of the car
  13. Control arm
  14. Cylinder head
    houses elements like intake and exhaust valves at the top of the engine block
  15. Condenser
  16. Cooling system
  17. Control arm bushings
    sits between the control arm and the car’s frame


  1. Door handle
  2. Drive belt
  3. Dipstick
  4. Door latch
  5. Distributor
    routes current from the ignition coil to the spark plugs
  6. Driveshaft
  7. Door seal
  8. Dashcam
  9. Distributor cap
    protects the distributor and holds the contacts for the rotor and spark plug wires
  10. Differential assembly
    allows the wheels to turn and rotate at different speeds


  1. Engine
  2. Exhaust manifold
    collects the engine cylinders’ exhaust gases into one pipe
  3. Engine fan
  4. Evaporator core
    absorbs heat and removes humidity from the air
  5. Exhaust pipes
  6. Expansion valve
    attaches to the evaporator to reduce pressure
  7. Engine block
    engine casing that contains the cylinders and other components


  1. Fender
  2. Fuel tank
  3. Fan belt
  4. Fuel cap
  5. Fuse box
  6. Fuel gauge
  7. Fan blade
  8. Flywheel
    thick, heavy disc that balances the engine and connects it with the transmission
  9. Fuel filter
  10. Fuel injector nozzle
  11. Fog lamp
  12. Fuel pump
  13. Fuel pressure regulator


  1. Grill
  2. Gearbox
    set of transmission gears with casing
  3. Gasket
  4. Glowplug
    heats the incoming fuel and air in a diesel engine
  5. Gear pump
  6. Gear shift
  7. GPS


  1. Hood
  2. Hinges
    found on the doors, hood, trunk, and fuel door
  3. Headlights
  4. Hubcap
  5. Handbrake
  6. Headlamp
  7. Heater core


  1. Ignition coil
  2. Interior light
  3. Inverter
    electrical transformer
  4. Intake manifold
    moves fuel and air through the engine
  5. Ignition switch


  1. Jack point
    reinforced metal under the car where you can safely place jacks when lifting the car


  1. Keyless entry system
  2. Knock sensor
    engine sensor that detects vibrations and sends messages to the engine control computer to adjust the engine timing
  3. Kickdown switch
    electric shift that can downshift the transmission
  4. Kingpin bushings
    lubricated bushings that fit the spindles of the car’s axle


  1. Lug bolt
  2. Lug nut
  3. Light sensor
    detects light to turn automatic lights on or off
  4. Leveling kit


  1. Motor
  2. Muffler
  3. Mudflap
  4. Mirrors
  5. Mass airflow sensor
    determines the mass flow rate of air entering the engine
  6. Master cylinder


  1. Navigation system
  2. Neutral safety switch
    prevents automatic transmission vehicles from starting unless in the “Park” or “Neutral” position
  3. Negative battery terminal


  1. Odometer
  2. Oil filter
  3. Oil pump
  4. Oil gasket
  5. Oil pressure gauge
  6. O2 sensors
    measures the proportion of oxygen in the fuel


  1. Power door lock
  2. Piston
  3. Power steering assembly
  4. Propeller shaft
    transmits power from the engine to the wheels
  5. Positive battery terminal


  1. Quarter panel
    body panel between the rear door and the trunk


  1. Rims
  2. Rotors
  3. Radiator
  4. Roof rack
  5. Radio
  6. Radiator hoses
  7. Rain guards
  8. Rearview mirror


  1. Suspension springs
  2. Spoiler
  3. Starter
  4. Spark plug
  5. Suspension
  6. Shock absorber
  7. Sunroof
  8. Steering column
  9. Speaker
  10. Seatbelt
  11. Steering wheel
  12. Strut
  13. Speedometer
  14. Side mirrors
  15. Steering knuckle
    located behind the front wheels; connects the wheel hub to the suspension
  16. Spindle
  17. Steering shaft
  18. Subwoofer
  19. Seatbelt buckle


  1. Tire
  2. Turn signal control
  3. Tire pressure gauge
  4. Tail light
  5. Transmission
  6. Timing belt/chain
    connects the camshaft and crankshaft in the engine
  7. Trunk
  8. Tie rods
  9. Trailer hitch
  10. Tonneau cover
    fabric or aluminum that covers the bed of a pickup truck or the seats in a convertible
  11. Tuner
  12. Thermostat


  1. Upper radiator hose
  2. Universal joint


  1. Valve cover
  2. Valve housing
  3. Vacuum booster
    enhances the performance of brakes
  4. Valve spring
  5. Vents
  6. Visors


  1. Windshield
  2. Window motor
    allows you to use a switch to open and close the vehicle’s windows
  3. Water pump
    part of the vehicle’s cooling system
  4. Wheel bearings
    connect wheels to axles
  5. Wheel well
  6. Window
  7. Windshield wiper
  8. Window seal
  9. Window crank
    hand crank that allows you to roll a car window up and down on a car without power windows
  10. Wheel
  11. Wind deflectors
    attaches to the hood, sunroof, or windows to redirect wind


  1. Xenon headlights
    headlight bulbs that last longer than halogen but not as long as LED bulbs


  1. Yoke
    part of the driveshaft


  1. Z-bar
    sway bar used on some older vehicles

Understanding a Vehicle’s Parts

While some car parts are found in the large majority of vehicles on the road today, each vehicle model has its own design peculiarities, features, and technologies.

Crankshafts, for example, were once actual cranks that the driver would turn to start the engine, while today, they’re small, internal components of the motor.[3]

You can gain a better understanding of the different car parts and how they work by researching your own vehicle or a favorite vehicle model.

Gather information using the following steps:

  • Check the owner’s manual. It might seem like an obvious place to start, but the owner’s manual will be packed with helpful information — not just the types of parts you can find in your car (or any vehicle you choose to research) but where they’re located and how to troubleshoot them. The manual will include detailed diagrams with every part labeled, and even if you need to search for more information than you can find in the manual, you’ll at least have a basic idea of how the part operates.
  • Consult with auto parts dealers. The growth of online retail has made it easier than ever for you to understand which parts work for a particular car. Stores like NAPA Auto Parts and AutoZone allow you to add basic details about a vehicle (year, make, model, engine, or even the VIN) and find all the parts relevant to that particular make and model.
  • Keep customizations in mind. Upgrades and modifications can enhance the look and performance of a vehicle, and they also expand the types and varieties of parts to explore. For example, suspension modifications like lift kits can help you understand different types of springs and how to balance the front height of the vehicle with the rear height.

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