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Ball Joint   The ball joint is a part of the front suspension holding the front wheels assembly.



 (usually there are one or two ball joints at each front wheel). When it wears out you may hear some knocking sounds coming from the front end, particularly while driving over bumps or making sharp turns. If this is the case, your vehicle could be unsafe. Have it inspected because the ball joint, when badly worn, may disjoint causing the vehicle to lose control unexpectedly.

Band  Bands are like a metal belt which is in the shape of a circle where the two ends are close, but do not meet. They wrap around parts inside the transmission called "drums." The drums house the gears and clutches and freewheel until a certain gear needs to be applied. When first gear needs to be applied, the drum for first gear is locked up by the application of the band. By locking up the drum, the gears now drive the wheels rather than freewheel inside the drum.

Battery  The battery is the vehicle's initial source of energy used to start the engine. The battery is then taken over the alternator to supply the car's electrical needs and to restore energy to the battery.

 A 12-volt storage battery consists of layers of positively and negatively charged lead plates that, together with their insulated separators, make up each of six two-volt cells. The fluid in the cells are electricity-conducting liquid (electrolyte) that is usually two-thirds distilled


water and one-third sulfuric acid. Spaces between the immersed plates provide the most exposure to the electrolyte. The interaction of the plates and the electrolyte produces chemical energy that becomes electricity when a circuit is formed between the negative and positive battery terminals.

Battery Acid  An electrolyte used in a battery; a mixture of water (H2O) and sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

Battery Cables These are used to connect the battery to the rest of the starting and charging circuits. The battery cables must be of sufficient size to carry such heavy current as a starting motor will draw about 200 amps of current. The cables are prone to corroding as they are close to the battery and therefore it is important that the cables make good electrical contact with the cable clamps. Similarly, clamps must make good electrical contact with the battery posts. Any looseness or corrosion could result in high resistance and consequent voltage drop.

Also see Jumper Cables

Battery Capacity The energy output of a battery measured in amp/hours.

Battery Cell  That part of a battery made from two dissimilar metals and an acid solution. A cell stores chemical energy for use later as electrical energy.

Battery Charge The restoration of chemical energy to a battery by supplying a measured flow of electrical current to it for a specified time.

Battery Charger An electrical device that is used for restoring a battery to its original state of charge by passing a current through the battery in a direction opposite of the discharge current flow.

Battery Efficiency A battery's ability to vary the current it delivers within a wide range, depending on the temperature and the rate of discharge.

Battery Terminals  The points which connect the wires are called the

battery points. The "post" type terminals are being phased out by the "side-mount" type of terminals which use a bolt to screw into the side of the battery and clamp on the battery wire. The vapors from battery acid causes corrosion


to form on the lead surfaces, which makes it necessary to clean these periodically. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly as the corrosion on the terminals is acidic!

BELT DRIVE  A system where the final drive from gearbox to wheels is by leather or rubber belts that are contained on pulleys. Today many of the engine-driven auxiliaries use belt drives.

Big Block   A large-size V8 engine block, as designated by the automaker. For example, most Ford big-blocks feature a displacement of 429 or 460 cubic inches in stock form. Ford's FE-style big-blocks displace from 252 to 428 cubic inches. Chevrolet big-blocks displace 396 to 502 cubic inches. Chrysler Wedge big-blocks displace 383 to 440 cubic inches. And most Chrysler Hemis displace 426 cubic inches.

Bleed Nipple  see bleed screw

Bleed Screw   A valve on a brake wheel cylinder, caliper or other hydraulic component that is opened to purge the hydraulic system of air.

Block  That part of the engine containing the cylinders.

502 ci / 502 Long Block Base Engine

See Cylinder Block

Bottle Jack 

A hydraulic lifting device which is in the shape of a bottle





Brake  To slow down a vehicle. Also see Brakes

Brake bleeding Procedure for removing air from lines of a hydraulic brake system.

Brake Booster  A mechanical device which attaches to the brake system to multiply the force the driver applies with his foot (or hand as in the case of a motorcycle). The device uses air, vacuum, or hydraulic fluid to accomplish this purpose. Sometimes called "power assisted brakes," "vacuum assisted brakes," "hydraulically assisted brakes," or just "power brakes." In most cars, the boost comes from engine intake vacuum. In motorcycles it comes from hydraulic fluid. See hydraulic brake booster and vacuum brake booster

Brake disc The component of a disc brake that rotates with the wheels.
Brake drum The component of a drum brake that rotates with the wheels.

Brake Fluid  Brake fluid is a special liquid used in hydraulic brake systems. It should be impervious to heat, freezing, thickening, and bubbling. There are different types of brake fluids made for different types of systems. These should never mixed. Be sure of what you use in the master cylinder reservouir, because, if the brake fluid gets contaminated, you'd have to change all of the piston seals and hoses. It should be noted that brake fluid is highly corrosive to paint, and care should be used not to get it on your car's finish.

Brake linings The friction material which contacts the brake disc or drum to retard the vehicle's speed. The linings are bonded or riveted to the brake pads or shoes.

Brake pads The replaceable friction pads that pinch the brake disc when the brakes are applied. Brake pads consist of a friction material bonded or riveted to a rigid backing plate.

Brake Pedal  The brake pedal is located on the left side of the accelerator pedal and it slows down or stops the vehicle. The brake shoes and friction pads are forced into contact with the brake drums and rotors to slow the rotation of the wheels. The friction between the tires and the road surface then slows the speed of the vehicle. The pedal is solidly mounted to the firewall, and works as a force-multiplying lever. If the power assist fails, the pedal's leverage allows you to generate pounds of pressure at each wheel cylinder. A brake pedal should not sink more than an inch or two, no matter how hard it is pressed with the foot. Warning: Any change in this is a cause for serious concern.

Brakes The mechanism that converts motion (kinetic energy) into heat energy through friction. The most common instance is found in the wheels of cars where the brake shoes or disc pads are designed to press against the brake drum or brake disc.

See Also

Brake shoe The crescent-shaped carrier to which the brake linings are mounted and which forces the lining against the rotating drum during braking.

Breaker Cam  The lobed cam rotating in the ignition system which interrupts the primary circuit to induce a high tension spark for ignition.

Bulkhead  The insulated partition between the engine and the passenger compartment.

Bumper Jack A device for lifting one corner of a vehicle to change a tire. Older cars used a long bar which fitted into a base. A device on the long bar had a hook which was placed in a strategic place on the vehicle. A lug wrench was inserted into the other end of the device and used to move the device up the long bar thus lifting the vehicle.


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The objective of this Web Page is to familiarize you with basic auto maintenance
-  in some common emergencies -
not to make you an expert in auto mechanics

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