You may be enamored with your car’s exterior; beautiful paint job, sleek chrome accents, or custom window tints. But do you have any idea what’s under the hood? There are some basic car parts you should know about before you hit the gas. 

What’s Under the Hood – Internal Combustion Engine

If you drive a gasoline or diesel vehicle, here’s what the Murray car repair experts at Master Muffler think you should know.


Some vehicles have a rear-engine design, which means the engine is in the back of the car. This is the case for vintage VW Beetles, Porsche 911, and even some school buses. So unless you’re driving a vintage, European car or a bus, chances are your engine is under the hood.


The battery can be found on a corner of the engine block and should be checked regularly for leaks or loose connections. Without a battery, your vehicle’s electric parts won’t function. This includes your headlights, interior lights, power locks, and power windows. The battery also stores power so your engine will start. One of the most common car repair suggestions is to check your alternator before replacing your battery; it may be the real source of the problem if your car is having trouble turning on.


This works in conjunction with the battery to deliver electrical power throughout your vehicle. The alternator acts as your car’s generator and turns mechanical energy into electrical energy. A battery provides the initial source of power, and the alternator actually helps keep a battery charged. If you’ve ever had trouble starting your car but found it ran fine after a push or jump-start, it’s because the alternator is still working properly and is helping your battery limp along until you replace it. In contrast, if you have a faulty alternator, it can prevent your battery from storing energy, and it may need replacing as well.


After the engine, the transmission is the next biggest part under your vehicle’s hood. It is usually located behind the engine, underneath other components. In both automatic and manual transmission vehicles, this element shifts gears.


In the front of your car’s engine, you’ll find the radiator. It is responsible for regulating the temperature of your car. Coolant moves through the engine and heats up, and is then moved into the radiator, which uses air to cool the liquid.


There are a number of fluids found under the hood, including windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. You can also find the oil reservoir near the engine, as well as your coolant and transmission fluid. All of the caps for these fluids should be labeled, making them easy to identity and top off as needed.

What’s Under the Hood of an Electric Vehicle

For Murray car repair, did you know Master Muffler can offer services for both internal combustion engines and electric vehicles? Let us know what your car repair needs are, and we’ll see what we can do to help. 

Electric Motor

Instead of a traditional internal combustion engine, an electric vehicle (EV) has a motor under the hood. Its job is to convert the electrical energy to kinetic energy so the car’s wheels move. An EV motor is usually quieter than a regular engine, as you probably noted the first time you rode in either a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. In addition to being quieter, the electric motor is smaller, making a bit more room in the car for other bells and whistles, or simply more space for the occupants in the cabin.

In a gas or diesel engine, the battery and alternator work together to generate and store energy so the engine can start. In an electric vehicle, the motor is also part generator. The motor can save energy in the battery while the car is in neutral, whereas a traditional engine needs the car actively running to store energy.


Compared to a gasoline-powered or diesel vehicle, the battery in an electric vehicle is much bigger. It also works with a higher voltage than a battery in an internal combustion engine and holds more power in reserve than a regular car. This is because the battery has to power not just some electrical components in your vehicle, but the electric motor as well.

The battery of an EV determines the distance it can travel on one charge, and the life of the battery is affected by factors such as daily use, frequency of charges, and size of the battery in the first place.


Instead of a transmission, an EV has a reducer. Because electric motors are so efficient at producing energy, they produce a higher revolution-per-minute (RPM) than is needed for the wheels. As a result, the reducer works like a transmission to send the right amount of energy to turn the wheels of the vehicle. 

On-Board Charger (OBC)

Electric vehicles have an on-board charger under the hood to convert alternating current (AC) charges to direct current (DC) charges. 

Electric Power Control Unit (EPCU)

Finally, under the hood of an electric vehicle, you’ll find the electric power control unit. It contains the following:

  • Inverter: This converts direct current (DC) charges to alternating current (AC) charges and sends it to the motor.
  • Low Voltage DC-DC Converter: This converts that battery’s high voltage current into lower voltages and sends it to various electronic systems in the vehicle.
  • Vehicle Control Unit: This unit is used to control all of the vehicle’s electric power control systems, including the motor and the braking system.

We’re here for all your Murray car repair needs, whether you’re driving with an internal combustion engine under the hood, or an electric motor. Turn to Master Muffler for brakes, air conditioning tune-ups, tire alignment, and more. Give us a call, or pay us a visit, today.