102 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2000
How Cars Works is refined simplicity. I work for a major Auto Parts chain and when I get new employees, the first day they read this book. Just from two hours, an average "Joe" off the street can get the feel for how a car works. This book is well illustrated to fit the text. Granted, this book does not go deep into any specifics, but gives general information on all subjects such as Engine (top and bottom end), brakes, cooling system, chassis, and much more. I would recommend this book to any new drivers as well as anyone wanting to know more about cars.
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2002
This book is intended for the individual who knows very little to nothing about auto mechanics. Each page covers one specific aspect of how a vehicle operates with a short and simple explanation accompanied with large and detailed diagrams. There are seven chapters over the seven most essential automotive systems with a brief test at the end of each. One cannot rebuild a car after reading through this book, but what it does give is an overall knowledge of how a car works. The reader will gain the knowledge to understand what is going on in a mechanic's shop and to better maintain his or her own vehicle. This book is not for someone who already knows the basics of or has worked on automotive systems. However, it is excellent for anyone who has never picked up a wrench or wants a brief introduction to the subject.
85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2002
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book contains very basic material on the operation of the car; it appears to be a decent read for teenagers looking to grasp the basic; but the more mature readers will find this very shallow. The text contains the fundaments of auto mechanics; it is split into seven chapters; and each chapter describes a major automotive system. It has a test section at the end of each chapter to gauge how much you have learned. This book does not cover details on 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines; how the engine starts spinning after turning the ignition etc.
I must admit that it was enertaining reading this books with all the descriptive pictures.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2003
I consider this book is a "must have" for anyone except perhaps auto technicians. I am a novice when it comes to car parts. I heard of or knew of (or I think I knew) terms like "Front Wheel Drive", "Rear Wheel Drive", and many other common car terms but I can't tell them when I check my car. But after only a few hours reading on this book, all these common car terms in my brain and their inner relateness begin to fall into their rightful places. THIS BOOK IS THAT GOOD.
What make this book stand out are :
1. The authur strived for clarity while not skimp on details either. The writing is in clear, concise, to the point fashion that leaves no ambiguity but contains enough details to out-content many 300+ page auto books (It must be a fashion these days. I found many such thick books wasted much of their contents on third-rate humors /jokes I found annoying while wasted rest of their contents on ambiguous, not to the point technical writing. To those authors, I will say : PLEASE, either be a stand up comedian or a technical writer, but not BOTH. If you do both, you will fail at both).
2. Detailed illustrations. Almost 50% of this book is devoted to detailed illustrations. Each page deals with a specific car part (be it crankshaft, fuel pump, timing chain, or else) - half of that page is technical writing, another half is detailed illustration. The illustration is not just for that specific part alone. It also illustrates other related parts in the same subsystem so you understand how the part works within the group that it belongs.
The book comes in 96 pages but in generous 8.5 inches x 11 inches size. That's how such detailed illustration is able to fit into half of page. Another thing I like is that the pages are made of high grade, pure-white (not tinted, or neutral colors) paper. Very few books these days are made from such good papers.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2000
As an automotive enthusiast, I'm often called upon to describe the mechanical inner workings of cars. Newton's book takes on some very complex automotive relationships, but expresses them in a way that is clear, even for the uninitiated. It's a great family reference book that should be kept nearby, especially for those who have teenagers of driving ages. The book helps to underscore the importance (and necessity) of maintaining such mundane tasks as checking and refilling the engine oil. A volume II would be nice for the computer controlled functions in a car such as tuned-port injection, speed density and mass air flow systems. Keep up the good work, Newton.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2001
Kids love cars, and kids will love this book because it explains in a straightforward manner exactly how cars work. The book divides the automobile into systems and describes each system in detail. The drawings are excellent. Knowing how cars work helps young drivers become better drivers, and mechanical knowledge helps all drivers understand their machines when something goes wrong. I give a copy to every young person I know when he or she first gets a driver's license.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2002
My sons are Avery (5), and Ethan (3). One unusually warm day in late fall we were walking past a neighbor's house and saw a few kids gathered around a huge fire truck engine. This neighbor is a volunteer fireman, and this engine looked newly painted. We go to take a closer look and Avery says "look Dad, the crankshaft". A moment later Ethan identifies the crescent moon shape of the top of the combustion chamber where the gas burns (his exact words escape me, but he indentified the area and function, perhaps with my prompting). We had been reading and re-reading the first few pages for a week or so prior. Beaming with pride I considered sending the author a blank check, then realized he would ask me to sign it..since I was (and still am) unemployed, I thought the better of it. But the sentiment was there. I found the book on the internet because Avery had taken to asking me how cars work whenever we drove in our van. My answers were shallow, meaningless, and likely very incorrect.
I had to do something.
We never finished the book together, and lately they have been asking for it again. I have nearly completed it. When it comes to car repairs, I have been taken to the cleaners so many times that I may not even have to shower anymore. Had I read this book much earlier in my life, I would have had the confidence to at least question some repair charges. This alone makes it worth its weight in precious metals. In truth, I am a mechanical idiot. If this book can assist my young sons and me in understanding how the engine works with the crankshaft to get the wheels moving, likely it will help others too.
I could have (and maybe should have) just said 'buy the book, you won't regret it. So doit. AND, if Tom ever offers a CD of his jazz guitar playing, I promise I won't write any more verbose reviews. I'll probably be too busy stealing his licks.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2003
If you or someone you know needs to learn the basics about cars, you need two books: How Cars Work and Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care. Both are great gifts for new drivers. I purchase How Cars Work and Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care for my nieces and nephews when they turn 16. Being an automobile technician, I think everyone that drives cars should know a little about them. How Cars Work does a great job using drawings to show car parts and what they do. Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care uses actual photos to show parts. Auto Upkeep also explains how to buy a car and choose automobile insurance. How Cars Work includes a worksheet for review at the end of each chapter, while Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care has a CD with review activities and internet links.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2002
I was looking for something that covered the basic car and this was perfect. It even has a test at the end of each chapter so you can see how you are doing. Recognizing that cars are complex, the author does a great job of simplifying and making good use of pictures of car parts. If you have an interest in learning about cars, this book would be a great place to start.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2000
I found this book to be an excellent explination of all facets of the automobile. Even very difficult subjects such as how limited slip differentials work or how the various components of a suspension act together were very clearly explained. Each subject has very straight forward illustrations which support the text. All in all, it's the best explination of how cars work that I've seen. This would be great for every new driver.