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The Ultimate Guide: A-Z of Car Parts – Part Four

Welcome to episode four of our A-Z of car parts. It pays to understand your car and how it works as well as you can. Even a little bit of knowledge could help you to drive more efficiently, treat your car better, and even be able to temporarily fix it in emergencies. Over the last three blogs, we have covered everything from air filters to clutches. This week, we are ready to introduce you to the delights of the distributor and the engine fan, their functions, most common problems and whether there are any quick fixes, or if you need to head straight to your local garage.


Definition: If you own a relatively new car, you don’t need to worry about your distributor, because you probably don’t have one. If, however, you own an older car, your distributor plays a very important role. The distributor literally distributes high voltage power from the ignition coil to spark plugs in the right order to allow the engine to get going.

Common problems: The distributor works hard, so wear and tear can be a problem, as can a build up of grime in the distributor cap, which can cause faults.

Quick fix: Basic engine maintenance will help your vehicle to run better and last longer. By keeping your distributor cap clean and free of a build up of engine sludge, you can prevent problems. However, if your cap needs placing, the wise move is to get your local mechanic to replace the cap and rotor professionally.

Engine fan

Definition: The engine fan is another unsung hero under your bonnet. When you are moving along, air streams into your engine to help keep it cool. However, if you are stuck in traffic, there is no air circulating, so your engine would quickly overheat. The fan is temperature controlled, kicking in to cool the engine when it reaches a certain temperature.

Common problems: If your fan stops working, your engine could overheat, which could lead to serious problems. This could usually be because of a faulty fuse, damaged or lose wires, or a damaged temperature gauge.

Quick fixes: It can be hard to get to your engine fan, and even harder to know what to do when you see it. There is no harm in checking for anything immediately obvious, such as clearly damaged or loose wires. In general, however, repairing the engine fan is a professional job; as soon as your engine light comes on, give your local garage a call.

At Trust A Garage we aim to match happy customers with trusted local garages to help keep drivers safely on the road. If there is a car part you would like to know more about, let us know on Facebook or Twitter. In the meantime, follow us to catch next week’s blog.

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