Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

By Abhinand

The word 'Car' originates from the Latin word 'Carrus or Carrum', which means 'wheeled vehicle'. In the Middle English context, the Old North French term, 'Carre' implies a two-wheeled cart. Meanwhile in the ancient language, Gaulish, the term 'Karros' implied a self-propelled automobile.

Historians believe that 'car' appeared in the English vocabulary around the 1300s. They claim that there was also a term called 'Craet' in Olden English, denoting some means of transport. 'Craet' eventually transformed into 'Cart'.

Now that you know how the term came into existence, let us learn more about how the actual car came into existence.

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

Although there were many forms of automobiles from an early period, the first modern car came into existence in 1886. German Inventor, Karl Benz was the mind behind it, and he named it the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.

But, that wasn't a mass produced model and was inaccessible to the masses. It was Henry Ford (The man behind Ford Motor Company), who built the affordable 'Model T' in 1908. From then, cars became more common.

But, how does a car work? Well, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to learn this. Let's learn how a normal internal combustion engine works.

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

Let us start off with the basic layout. A basic Internal Combustion Engine or ICE works when fuel-air mixture ignites in a 'Cylinder', forcing a 'Piston' to move away. This motion rotates the 'Crankshaft', connected to a metal disc called 'Flywheel'. This is where the 'Clutch' comes to play.

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

Once the engine starts, it keeps on running. But, the wheels shouldn't always rotate with it, right? A clutch basically prevents this.

The clutch lies between the Flywheel and the Transmission (Gearbox). It engages and disengages them, with the help of a clutch pedal.When the Clutch pedal is pressed, the contact between the Flywheel and the Transmission cuts, and only the engine runs. When it isn't pressed, the motion of the rotating Flywheel transfers to the Transmission, and ultimately reaches the wheels.

But what about the difference between a Petrol and a Diesel engine?

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

A Petrol engine uses a Spark Plug to initiate combustion in an engine. A Diesel engine uses a Fuel Injector to spray fuel into the cylinder, while the air is being compressed. Compressed air plus fuel causes a flame.

The process seems confusing? Well, let us talk about the steps, or more precisely, the strokes involved.

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

Intake - Intake valve opens; Piston moves down; Air comes in;
Compression - Intake valve closes; Piston moves up; Air is compressed
Power - Fuel is sprayed by a Fuel Injector(Diesel Engine); Or Spark Plug(Petrol Engine) gives a spark; In both cases, the air-fuel mixtures ignite, and the force created moves the Piston down.
Exhaust - Exhaust valve opens; Piston moves up; Burnt gases leave the cylinder.

There are four strokes above. Hence, a 4-stroke engine!
(In 2-stroke engines, things are different - No valves; Intake+Compression is one stroke, and Power+Exhaust is another stroke)

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

Let us talk a bit more. Do you know the types of engines?

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

Engines are generally classified by the arrangement of cylinders as shown in the image.

Why Are Cars Called ‘Cars’? — Learn Even More About Cars

So, to recap how an ICE vehicle moves, the motion transfers from -Engine(Crank)-Flywheel-Clutch-Transmission-Propeller Shaft-Differential(Rear Wheel Drive)/Transaxle(Front Wheel Drive)-Wheels

There you have it. Some basics facts to know about a car's working. Wasn't that hard, right?

DriveSpark Thinks!

An Automobile is made up of several components and involves many laws of Physics. Explaining everything on a single go is close to impossible. But it is always good to know a thing or two more about the things we like, right? That said, watch out this space for more car-related facts and trivia.

Most Read Articles

Read more on: #off beat
Article Published On: Sunday, November 26, 2017, 13:00 [IST]
Get Instant News Updates
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X