12 Essential Car Parts You Should Know and Their Functions

Happy lady looking out of car window

It’s common to take your car to the service centre once in a while where professional mechanics can take a look at it. But it also helps to educate yourself should your car ever break down. Let’s take a look at some of the most important car parts, their functions and what they look like.

External parts


Red coloured break caliper behind the rim of a tyre

In commercial cars, it is usually located at the front or the back wheels. The brake calliper (seen above in red colour) clips on the brake pads to the surface of the brake rotor that is connected to the wheel. Brakes can be used to control the speed by slowing down or stopping the car safely. Be wary if your brakes start to squeak. That’s a sign that the brake pads are wearing out and you need to get them changed.

Spare Tyre + Car Jack

Spare tyre and car jack in the trunk of the car

Technically not a part of the car, but still an essential item to have. Calling a tow truck is never fun after all. Your spare tyre is usually found in the trunk along with the trusty car jack. You need the car jack to lift the automobile several inches off the ground in order to change the tyre.


Windscreen is one of the most underappreciated car parts

This glass window may be the most underappreciated car part ever. Modern commercial cars have windscreens that are made from laminated safety glass that is tough to break. Despite its name, it doesn’t just screen you from the wind, but also debris, insects, raindrops and small rocks which, at 100km/h, can hit you like bullets.

#TiqOurWord Did you know that you can get On-the-Go windscreen servicing with Private Car Insurance? It’s a service to repair or replace your faulty windscreen anytime, anywhere.

Inside the car

AC Compressor + Air Filter

Air filter that connects to other car parts like the AC compressor

While AC compressor and air filter are not needed to make the car move, without it, the Singapore weather will leave you scorching hot. AC compressor cycles Freon (a non-flammable gas) into the air-conditioning unit, which cools down temperature while the air filter ensures that no debris, sand or other particulates make it into the car. Sometimes, the air-conditioner will only blow hot air or make a droning sound. These are signs that the AC compressor may be damaged or you need to clean the air filter.


Gear box, also known as the car's transmission

The brain of the automobile. Commonly known as the gear box, the transmission contains different gears that the vehicle needs to change speed. The transmission transfers the power of the engine onto the wheels. Nowadays, most cars use automatic transmission, which might be harder to repair if broken. But the gear box can bring the oldest cars up to speed if fixed and taken care of properly.

Shock absorber

Spring suspension next to the wheel acting as a shock absorber

The shock absorber, also known as suspension, keeps your car stable even on the worst road. It also helps your wheels grip the road better by providing tension on the road surface. This is important to prevent the vehicle from swerving or tipping over due to uneven surfaces. It also contributes to a more comfortable drive as the driver won’t be feeling every single bump on the road.

#TiqOurWord Did you know that you can make insurance claims for minor damages and broken windscreen without meeting adjusters or making police reports? With e-Cleva from Etiqa, your claims can be processed on the spot within minutes. Read here to find out how.

The Engine

Spark Plug

A person holding up a spark plug

The piece that starts the engine. It fires up to ignite a mixture of fuel (from the carburettor) and oxygen (from the intake tract) to create a small explosion. This pushes the piston down in the engine cylinder, which causes the engine to roar and ready to move.

Oil Filters

Oil filter protecting the engine

Oil filters are needed to segregate dust and abrasive particles from the engine oil. If the particles are not filtered, they can damage the engine over time by causing wear and tear on the protective film, which covers the inner wall of the engine. Modern petrol even contains additive formulated to remove dirt and prevent deposits from forming in the petrol itself. This is not only to protect the engine walls, but to ensure you get the most out of your petrol mileage.

Battery + Alternator

A person holding up the car battery

The heart of the car. Without the car battery, the engine won’t ignite and the light and air-conditioner won’t work. It is often located near the engine under the hood – or in the trunk, depending on the car model. You can spot the (+) and (-) terminals on it.

The alternator charges the battery using a dynamo when your engine is running. This is why excessive use of lights can eventually kill the battery. Do note, even with the alternator functioning, the battery should be changed at least once every three years for optimal performance.

#TiqOurWord If you ever need to jumpstart the engine, remember this: Red clamps of the jumper cable connect to the (+) terminals and Black clamps connect to the (-) terminals.

Remember to service your car regularly

A couple of professional car mechanics consulting a lady on her car's performance

It can be bothersome to service your car once or twice every year. But you would be at ease knowing the vehicle is working the way it should through careful maintenance of car parts and replacing those that have worn out. If your car is in need of a repair, you can get quality service islandwide from authorised workshops with 9-month repair warranty, plus other benefits. That is if you have Private Car Insurance. Get yours today at Tiq by Etiqa here.


Information is accurate as at 20 March 2020. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

Tiq by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.

A digital insurance channel that embraces changes to provide simple and convenient protection, Tiq’s mission is to make insurance transparent and accessible, inspiring you today to be prepared for life’s surprises and inevitabilities, while empowering you to “Live Unlimited” and take control of your tomorrow.

With a shared vision to change the paradigm of insurance and reshape customer experience, Etiqa created the strong foundation for Tiq. Because life never stops changing, Etiqa never stops progressing. A licensed life and general insurance company registered in the Republic of Singapore and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Etiqa is governed by the Insurance Act and has been providing insurance solutions since 1961. It is 69% owned by Maybank, Southeast Asia’s fourth largest banking group, with more than 22 million customers in 20 countries; and 31% owned by Ageas, an international insurance group with 33 million customers across 16 countries.

Discover the full range of Tiq online insurance plans here.



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