Understanding Car Exterior (Explained for Beginners)

A car comes with numerous parts, and each has its function. These parts work in harmony to ensure your driving experience is remarkable.

Some parts are usually doors, windows, mirrors, sunroof, and lighting. These are specifically for access and visibility.

They may be common and familiar parts, but they are vital for your vehicle’s functioning.

You will drive safely, effectively, and comfortably if you get good access and visibility.

Since the access and visibility of any vehicle is quite crucial, we want to help you understand each of the parts linked with access and visibility so that you can be a knowledgeable driver or car owner.

We shall expound and give you a broad understanding of each part.

Let’s get started…

car body assembled car plant
The car body is assembled in a car plant

Car Doors

As many car owners and drivers say, car doors are fascinating aspects of the entire personality of their vehicles. With different extraordinary styles of car doors, most people are usually lured to cars because of their unique design of car doors.

Car doors comprise several parts, which include:

  • Auto door latches
  • Locking wire
  • The automatic driver seat opening
  • Automatic door lock

Let’s have a look at each of them to understand better.

1. Auto Door Latches

They are usually mechanical or electrical. This implies that they work without you using a remote compared to many automatic doors that utilize a knob, button, or a knob combination for turning the doors on and off.

You will also find a switch or a lever on the driver’s side at the door, which enables them to control the auto door latches.

2. Locking Wire

For the smooth functioning of auto door latches, they usually use a locking wire, a thick, round handle joined to a door handle mainly on the passenger’s side. It functions in a manner that whenever you press a button on your door handle, a magnet within your door latches usually engages the locking wire.

Then the locking wire transmits an electric signal to your car door, enabling it to close automatically. This also implies that you can unlock or lock your door without necessarily coming into physical contact with your door handle.

3. Automatic Driver’s Seat Opening

You may have seen in some cars that they can automatically turn the driver’s seat from this side to another after you exit the vehicle. The position usually contains a spring that opens the door when the seat has been designed on one side.

The seats use electricity, which makes them costly to replace or repair.

4. Automatic Door Lock Brakes

Automatic door locks are a vital component of car doors as they lock the door once the car starts moving. This helps passengers or kids in the car from accidentally opening the door and falling off.


6 Types of Car Doors

Below are the different types of car doors you can find in the market.

1. Butterfly Doors

Butterfly doors tend to look like scissor doors. However, butterfly doors tend to open in two directions, outward and upward. They usually enlarge their wings like a butterfly. You will find them in supercars like Ferraris, McLarens, and Lamborghinis.

2. Swan Doors

You will find swan doors in top-of-the-line premium speed cars. They have an elegant opening mechanism that can entice anybody passing around them. What makes them outstanding is that they open more comprehensively than any door type.

Their door resembles a swan. No wonder the name.

3. Scissor Doors

Scissors doors came into light in the 1970s. They are sharp and scored so high.

They are primarily seen in Lamborghini and other modern models. The door opening is straightforward; the doors slide upwards and not outwards.

4. Gull-Wing Doors

Gull-wing doors are mostly seen in automotive luxury cars like Mercedes Benz. These outstanding doors are one-of-a-kind in Mercedes and Briston Fighter Tesla X.

5. Dihedral Synchro-Helix Doors

A man named Koenigsegg was the one who created dihedral synchro-helix doors. These doors have got a unique mechanism. Rather than opening outwards, they circulate at a 90-degree angle as they open.

6. Canopy Doors

These door types are also unique on their way. Most people know them as bubble canopy, cockpit canopy, and articulated canopy, among many other names. The door opening usually resembles a canopy making it draw attention among people.

The door opens such that it settles on the top of a vehicle. You can find the entries in Nova Sterling Kit, Lamborghini Egoista, and Renault Trezor.

Every time you shop for new car doors, always consider the following.

  • Color and condition of the door
  • Any electronic parts that come with a door
  • Aftermarket doors
  • Non-standard car doors
  • Upholstery

Car Windows

Windows are crucial for every vehicle. That’s why you should maintain your car windows so that they can serve you better.

Below are several functions of car windows.

  • They enable your car to be aerodynamic, thus lowering drag and enhancing your car’s efficiency. Without car windows, a vehicle will strain to work, increasing the fuel you use.
  • They protect you and other passengers from dust, insects, and stones.
  • They protect you from the wind. You will see the road clearly while driving.
  • They prevent you from accessing unfavorable weather like rain, stormy weather, and hail.
  • In case of a collision, the windscreen will keep you inside your car.

The Different Types of Car Windows

Here are different types of car windows you can find in the market. Take a look.

1. Laminated Glass Window

Laminated glass is usually manufactured by connecting two layers of glass. Designers use a binding agent known as polyvinyl butyral (PBV). PBV is commonly preferred because it is clear and binds both pieces of glass, giving a tight joint for a sturdy and safe window.

Here are more benefits of laminated glass;

  • Laminated glass usually absorbs any impact of a car compared to ordinary window glass. Even if it cracks, it won’t fall apart because it has been joined firmly and held in place by the PBV.
  • It ensures you and the passengers are kept safe because the glass remains firmly attached to the frame, securing your car’s internals too.
  • In case you hit the windscreen, it will remain inside the car.

2. Tempered Glass Window

Tempered glass windows have undergone the process of being strengthened to design car windshields safely. It is toughened using temperature treatments. The glass is inserted into a furnace, then cooled using air drafts when the glass attains an optimal temperature while in the furnace.

The main benefits of tempered glass windows include:

  • In cases when there are accidents, the glass usually shatters into blunt pieces, not sharp, dangerous pieces. It makes it safer for the driver and other passengers.
  • It also makes it easier to repair the internals in case of accidents.

Here are some factors you can consider when buying new car windows.

  • If there are many scratches in a window you are using.
  • The type of car you have.
  • Is your windshield convertible or hardtop?
  • The cost you will incur to do a replacement.
  • Will your insurance cater for replacement?
  • Your car’s windshield safety features.
  • The company or workshop you want to contact.

Car Mirrors

Your car has several mirrors meant to reflect the various activities happening around your vehicle as you are driving. They help in safe driving. You will find some as electronic while others manual depending on the type and size of the vehicle.

They are different types of car mirrors which include:

1. Driving Mirror

If you have this mirror type, you will find it inside your vehicle on top of the driver’s seat. It helps you know what is around the car. Additionally, it assists the driver in calculating the distance between their vehicles and those behind them.

2. Side Mirror

The side mirror is also called a door mirror or car wing. They are usually fitted at the car doors as the driver will have to sit at the right so that the offside exterior door mirror will help them. It goes in hand with the driving mirror, so you must use it.

Left-handed drivers can use the opposite exterior mirror.

3. Front View Mirror

This mirror type mainly reflects the images around the car. You use it alongside the rear-view mirror.

You can also use the front view mirror to start the vehicle. When you want to begin driving, only use the front view mirror for few times since its function is mainly performed by side and interior mirrors.

4. Rear View Mirror

A rear-view mirror is mainly seen in cars with a flat end. Their work is to give you a close range of objects by reflecting objects to the interior driving mirror. Some drivers usually get cameras to perform this role or sensors to alert them in case of things around while driving.

Some car owners and drivers usually need help adjusting their mirrors adequately. Here is a perfect guide on how to adjust your car mirrors correctly.

  • Access the Driver’s Seat

Ensure you set your seat and steering wheel in a manner that you are comfortable so that you reach the brake pedal, gear shifter, and accelerator.

Steadily adjust the rear-view mirror so you can see well out of the middle of the back windshield, and do not move your head. The strategy is seeing if you can glance from the front of the road as you gravitate towards the road behind you while not moving any part of your body.

  • Find the Levers that Specifically Adjust the Side Mirror

You will find tiny buttons in newer models on the driver’s side door that electronically controls the side mirrors. On the other hand, older models frequently need you to manually control and adjust the mirrors by pressing them or the lever.

  • Start by adjusting the driver’s mirror.
  • After you have made the adjustments, take a seat to see if you can see the road behind you.
  • Adjust your passenger’s side mirror.
  • If you like doing it manually, you must adjust between the driver’s and passenger’s seats until you make a proper adjustment.
  • After adjusting all the mirrors, sit on your driver’s seat and check each to ensure they are perfectly well. You should see everything behind you in portions as you watch along.

How to Use Car Mirrors Correctly

Here is how to use your car mirrors correctly for a safe drive:

  • Connecting on the Interstate: As you change lines, always ensure you check the rear-view mirror first and see if there are any vehicles behind you.
  • Safe Driving: Cars experts usually advise that you ensure regular scans of your car mirrors when driving. Check each mirror after every five seconds beginning with the driver’s side mirror.
  • Parallel Parking: Every mirror on your car is vital for safe parallel parking. So always ensure you use them safely to park your vehicles and to avoid inconveniencing cars near you.

Car Sunroof

Just like other parts are vital, not having a sunroof can be disadvantageous. Here are several uses of a sunroof.

1. Makes the Cabin Feel Airier

The primary usage of a sunroof is to ensure that your cabin has more natural light compared to other regular glass areas.

Sunroofs contain sunblind and a tint to stop the cabin from getting excess heat. They work best by allowing natural light and ensuring the cabin looks larger.

Some car owners also say that they make their cars look classier.

2. Ensures Heat Dissipation

When you park your car for an extended period, it may heat up, but with a sunroof opened, that heat will rise faster, making the hot air dissipate from your cabin quickly.

Cars with global up allow you to open the car windows from the key. And if your vehicle has a sunroof, it will eventually open.

3. Enables You to Enjoy a Cruise

If you drive at low and medium speeds, the sunroof usually provides an experience like a convertible car without having to get one. You enjoy your drive, especially at night-time cruises while the sunroof is open. Additionally, in cold weather, you can experience a cool breeze; hence you don’t have to open the windows.

4. It Makes the Car Looks Nicer

As mentioned, a sunroof adds class to your car. Its black tinted glass on your vehicle’s roof incorporates a very excellent touch to the entire vehicle look. Moreover, it gives people a glimpse that your car has a part from the segment above, which is commonly associated with luxury cars.

As you can see, a sunroof is a must-have feature in your vehicle. However, some people usually misuse this feature. Here are things that you should refrain from doing with a sunroof.

5. Peeping Things Through Your Sunroof

It is not good to peep through your sunroof even if your car is moving slowly. Your work is to sit and drive. Also, educate your passengers about sitting and enjoying the ride without having to peep through the sunroof.

6. Retrofitting

Most car owners may retrofit sunroofs using aftermarket suppliers, which is not good. Car manufacturers, when they incorporate a sunroof into the car, carry out tests and follow the body structure of a vehicle while designing a sunroof.

Aftermarket fittings will always comprise the car’s structure, cause leakages and interfere with your comfort.

6 Different Types Of External Lighting

Proper lighting lets you see where you are heading in the dark. This implies that you can drive at night comfortably, and the lights can signal to others when you try to make a turn.

The lighting of a car comes with several components, which include:

  • Headlights
  • Tail lights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Fog lights

We shall look at each car light to help you know about them.

1. Tail Lights

You will find taillights at the rear part of the car. They mainly give red lights and are wired to shine when the headlights are lit. They also offer signals to motorists riding your attention and assist them in evaluating the distance from their cars.

2. Headlights

Headlights come in two types – low beams and high beams. They help car owners and drivers get a clear view of the road, especially in the dark or at night. They also alert other drivers of another car’s presence.

Low beams provide a light distribution that creates adequate lateral and sends illumination without the excess glare that will make other motorists not see. High beams give intense, center-weighted light amounts without specific glare control. People are usually advised to use it when there is no visible vehicle.

3. Daytime Running Lights

Daytime running lights are mainly located at your car’s front and back parts. They automatically turn on, but you will find a switch in some vehicles. They make the cars more visible so that other drivers may see them.

4. Fog Light

They are mainly fitted near headlights. They are also mounted low to avoid refraction and glaring toward the driver. Additionally, you can use them when the headlights are not working well in fog.

5. Brake Lights

Brake lights are fitted close to the rear lights.

You use them to signal motorists when you are slowing or stopping down. They are mainly activated when you are using brakes. So always ensure they are in perfect shape and work effectively.

6. Signal Lights

They are also referred to as turn signals or blinkers. You will find them in your car’s front or back area near the headlights and taillights. You use them to notify pedestrians or motorists that you are about to turn in the way indicated by the lights.

Then the drivers and pedestrians will receive your message and get out of the way or slow down.


Doors, windows, mirrors, sunroof, and lighting have got one thing in common, and that’s to provide access and visibility. We have looked at all parts in detail and provided you with as much information about them as possible. Now you know different types, how they work, and their functions, and as you drive, you will be a knowledgeable driver or car owner.

Always maintain these parts and use them properly to serve you better and longer. Pay attention to all details since a car with no access and visibility is less functioning.


The Different Kinds of Car Doors

What are the Functions of Windscreens

Types of Car Lights and When you Should use Them

Vehicle Light System and Parts

Car Sunroofs; the Dos and Don’ts

Car Mirrors and their Functions