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I want to learn about cars

  1. Feb 21, 2014 #1
    One of my goals in life is to design a car completely from scratch. There is still some time before I am able to realize that dream as I am only in my second year of mechanical engineering. But I thought I might get a head start on some of the basics. Can you guys recommend me some good books or articles about cars? For now I am more interested in how cars work in general rather than the specifics of how to design a car. Assume that I have no previous knowledge of cars.
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  3. Feb 21, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The best way to get a quick start is by joining a club of car enthusiasts.
    Get a cheap car and tinker with it. That sort of thing.
  4. Feb 21, 2014 #3
    sadly I don't have room to work on a car itself. So I will have to do with books for now. Also I want to come at cars from an engineering point of view rather than a car mechanic's point of view. So I am looking for theory behind mechanism and formulas etc.
  5. Feb 21, 2014 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    You are already learning about them from the engineering perspective - to jump ahead of your course, read ahead in your coarse materials and get a tutor. You want the theory behind the engineering formulas - then that would be physics... and there is no "automotive physics" exactly - it's too general considering all the fields that intersect in a car.

    Perhaps if you were more specific?

    Note: Engineers with hands-on experience do better than pure theorists.
    You want to design your own car completely from scratch, you will need that visceral sense you get from getting up to your elbows in scorched lube. That's if you want to be any good.

    You know it's quite unusual for cars to be designed from scratch by just one person right?
  6. Feb 21, 2014 #5


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    Do you have room to work on a motorcycle or scooter?
  7. Feb 21, 2014 #6
    I know it's unusual to design a car from scratch by myself. Being a mechanical engineer I doubt I could get very far with the electrical stuff unless I spend a lot of time studying it. But I want to get as far as I can by myself and then get help where needed. I will get a summer job and hopefully save up enough money to buy tools and a cheap car. The problem is I live in an apartment and also that it snows or is too cold to work outside for most of the year. I might be able to work in the parking lot on a motorcycle during the summer. How close are bikes and cars?
  8. Feb 22, 2014 #7
    sorry to say that, but I don't think one person can design car from scratch. not what we currently understand as "car".

    if you find right internet discussion forums you can learn a lot. so read, read, read...
  9. Feb 22, 2014 #8
    Get the book Auto Mechanics Fundamentals by Stockel. It's not written for engineers or physicists, but it does have most of the basic background material you are going to need to know.

  10. Feb 22, 2014 #9
    I will see if I can get my hands on that. Thanks for the help everyone.
  11. Apr 1, 2014 #10
    The only people I've met who could actually build an entire car to their own specs were mechanics, at one point or another. It helps to have a first hand look at a lot of the systems the different manufacturers use so you can understand what works in certain applications and what doesn't.
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