Automobiles are a means of transportation that allows people to travel long distances at relatively high speeds. They can also reach places that are not easily accessible by public transportation such as mountainous areas and deserts. Automobiles are powered by engines that run on fuel such as gasoline or diesel. The engine is located in the middle of the vehicle and powers a transmission system which transmits power to the wheels. The wheels are surrounded by suspension which reduces road shock and vibration.
The interior of an automobile offers seating, storage space and a number of systems that help to keep passengers comfortable and safe. The exterior of an automobile protects the passenger from the elements and provides visual appeal. Some parts of the car are designed to crumple in the event of a crash, and other safety features include a firewall between the engine and the passenger compartment.
Modern automobiles have thousands of individual parts. These are arranged into several semi-independent systems that work together like the human body. For example, the automobile has circulatory systems for coolant fluid (often water) and lubricating oil. It has a heart-like internal combustion engine that runs on fuel. The engine produces a lot of heat, which is reduced by the cooling systems and other devices.
Many people depend on their cars for daily life. The average American drives about three trillion kilometers (almost five billion miles) each year. Without access to an automobile, it would be hard to get to school, work, or social events on time. Unlike taking public transport, automobiles put the driver in control of the driving experience and allow for more flexibility when traveling.