According to Toyota, the average modern car contains about 30,000 parts. That's pretty staggering, but if you consider that the grille alone is often held in place by multiple screws, bolts, clips or whatever else, and that's one of the least complex setups on most vehicles. Engines have become increasingly complex, thanks to the push to boost efficiency and lower emissions, as well as ensure reliable operation in all kinds of conditions.
Years ago, cars were fairly simple beasts. They could be worked on by shade tree mechanics, and just about every car owner changed their own oil and did other regular maintenance. Today's computer-festooned vehicles have made that a risky proposition.
There's a reason why automakers have large teams of engineers and designers working hard to develop a new vehicle. They often borrow components and even entire setups from existing models, because creating the whole thing from scratch requires considerable time and money. The good news is that mechanics can learn how most systems on a particular brand are set up more easily, and even find similarities among various competing brands.
To most people, all of this is a huge mystery. Are you an expert mechanic who can fix just about anything? Flex your car parts knowledge now by taking this quiz!