Knowing your Car: Oil Filter, Leaf Spring, Shock Absorber
April 14, 2014
We all come to a point in our lives when we believe that we know all there is to know about our cars. Most of us, however, are not certified mechanics and it is merely our ego that tells us that we can fix whatever needs fixing. But, in the bigger picture called reality, there is always a ton of things that we have yet to gain knowledge about when it comes to vehicular components and how they work. A great start would be to learn about the engine oil filter, and parts of the suspension such as leaf springs and shock absorbers.
The oil filter is the cylindrically-shaped component of the car engine. Depending on which brand it was manufactured from, oil filters may come in white, black or orange. But enough about its shape and color. Oil filters are actually pretty easy to locate if you know what you’re looking for, so let’s focus this question instead: What exactly does it do?
An oil filter’s primary purpose is, as you may have guessed, filter the engine oil that circulates around the entire engine while it’s running. As the oil pump does its job to make sure that oil gets to every moving component of the engine, the filter makes sure that the oil passing through is clean. Ridding the oil of metallic scraps, sludge and grime that come off the engine is essential to performance. Without the oil filter, cars would bog down within a few trips.
Remember that, despite the cleansing process of oil filters, regular oil change is obligatory for your vehicle’s maintenance.
Another fact about oil filters that many do not know is that it serves a secondary function. When a car isn’t running, the engine oil drains down into the bottom of the engine, leaving the moving components at the top without any lubrication. When the car is started again and these parts do not get lubricated in time, the engine could suffer severe damages. What an oil filter does is store a small amount of oil within its chambers. The purpose of this is to get oil as quickly as possible to the top parts of the engine the moment the car is started.
The leaf spring is one of history’s earliest form of suspensions. Its usage can be traced back to the medieval ages. Even Leonardo da Vinci used a leaf spring in his diagram for a self-propelled car. All of this really only points to one fact: leaf springs work.
Nowadays though, not every vehicle is equipped with a leaf spring. The automotive industry has evolved too much to rely on only one form of spring for suspension. Coil springs, for example are used in newer cars. However, there are still plenty of automobiles out there that put this mechanism to use.
A leaf spring is a common part of the suspension of a vehicle, and although they don’t look fancy and high tech, they serve their purpose very well. Modern leaf springs are made of arched pieces of steel that sort of resemble a bow without a string.
Additionally, leaf springs are designed to hold a tremendous amount weight while providing a vehicle with the ability to absorb shocks from bumps other obstructions on the road. It’s important to keep this component of the suspension in good shape so regular maintenance and checks is a must.
A shock absorber is a suspension component that controls the up-and-down motion of the vehicle’s wheels. Although given the name one would think it’s obvious what the job of shock absorbers do, but you’d be wrong to make assumptions. It is not actually the job of shock absorbers to “absorb shock,” for that is the job of the springs. What absorbers really do is dampen the motion of the wheels as it passes over bumps and dips and cracks on the roads. They basically keep a vehicle’s chassis from bouncing on and off the road due to the spring.