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16 Interior Car Parts Explained (With Photos)

16 Interior Car Parts Explained (With Photos)

If you own or drive a car, it is good to have a basic understanding of the parts and components of the vehicle. Not only can this knowledge help with general maintenance and troubleshooting, but it can also improve overall safety while on the road.

One area many people may overlook when it comes to understanding their car is the interior. A car’s interior consists of various components that play a vital role in providing comfort, control, and safety for the driver and passengers. We will explore and explain the different interior parts of a car and why it is important to be familiar with them.


1. Dashboard

BMW X5 dashboard

BMW X5 dashboard

The dashboard is the central control panel of a car that displays important information and gives the driver control of various aspects of the vehicle.

The dashboard typically includes a speedometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, and other warning lights that indicate issues or potential problems with the car.

The speedometer displays the vehicle’s current speed in miles or kilometers per hour and is important for maintaining safe, legal traveling speeds.

The fuel gauge is another crucial dashboard component and indicates how much fuel is in the gas tank. Keeping track of this gauge is essential to prevent running out of gas while on the road.

The temperature gauge on the dashboard shows the current temperature of the engine. If this gauge rises too high, it may indicate that the engine is overheating, which can cause damage to the vehicle.

The dashboard also includes warning lights that indicate potential issues or problems with the car. These warning lights can include the check engine light, oil pressure warning light, battery warning light, and others.

If any warning lights turn on, addressing the issue as soon as possible is important to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards.

2. Steering Wheel

Tesla Model S steering yoke (steering wheel)

Tesla Model S steering yoke (steering wheel)

The steering wheel is a critical car component that allows the driver to control the vehicle’s direction. It is typically located in front of the driver’s seat and is connected to the wheels through a series of linkages and components.

There are several different types, designs, and steering wheel mechanisms, including standard steering wheels, sport steering wheels, and racing steering wheels. Each type of steering wheel may have unique features or design elements that cater to different driving preferences.

Car manufacturers also use the design and functionality of the steering wheel as part of the car’s aesthetics in some models.

3. Seats

Tesla Model Y seats

Tesla Model Y seats

Seats are an essential interior part of a car that provides comfort and support to the driver and passengers. Car seats come in various types, materials, and designs to cater to different preferences and needs.

The most common types of car seats include bucket seats, bench seats, and split-folding seats. Bucket seats are individual seats that provide support and comfort for the driver and front passenger.

Bench seats are single, continuous seats that can accommodate multiple passengers. Split-folding seats can be folded down to enlarge the cargo space in the car’s trunk.

Car seats can also have various adjustment options, including lumbar support, headrest height, and seat height. It is important to adjust the seats properly to ensure a comfortable, safe driving experience.

Proper seat placement is crucial for safety while driving. The driver’s seat should be adjusted to allow for full control of the vehicle’s pedals and steering wheel.

4. Seatbelts

Seatbelts are one of the most revolutionary important safety features in modern cars. They are designed to restrain the car’s occupants in the event of a collision, helping to prevent serious injury or death.

Seatbelts prevent the car’s occupants from being thrown forward or expelled from the car in the event of a sudden stop or collision.

There are two types of seatbelts; lap belts and shoulder belts. Lap belts are designed to fit across the occupant’s lap, while shoulder belts are designed to fit across the occupant’s chest and shoulder.

In most modern cars, both lap and shoulder belts are combined into a single unit called a three-point seatbelt.

Some sports car models capable of high speeds replace the seatbelt with a harness similar to the type used in motor racing.

Proper use of seatbelts is essential for ensuring their effectiveness. The lap belt should be positioned across the occupant’s hips, and the shoulder belt should be positioned across the occupant’s chest and shoulder. The seatbelt should be snug but not too tight, and there should be no slack in the belt.

It is important to note that seatbelts should always be used while driving, regardless of the vehicle’s speed or distance traveled. Even at low speeds, a collision can cause serious injury or death if the car’s occupants are not properly restrained.

In addition to wearing seatbelts, it is also important to ensure they are in good working condition. Any defects or damage to the seatbelt system should be repaired immediately to ensure that the seatbelt is functioning properly in the event of a collision.

5. Gear Shift

BMW X5 gear shift

BMW X5 gear shift

The gear shift is a component that allows the driver to control the car’s transmission and change gears while driving to attain higher speeds at lower engine revs and to adjust the vehicle’s power.

The gear shift is typically located in the car’s center console or on the steering column, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.

There are two main types of gear shifts; manual and automatic. Manual gear shifts require the driver to shift gears manually using the clutch pedal and a gear stick.

Automatic gear shifts use sensors and electronics to shift gears automatically without requiring a clutch pedal or the driver to manually operate the gear stick.

The automatic gear shift typically includes several different positions, including Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and sometimes additional positions for specific driving conditions, such as Sport or Low.

The driver uses the gear shift to select the appropriate gear for the driving conditions and the vehicle’s speed.

Proper use of the gear shift improves driving safety and efficiency. Shifting gears too quickly or too slowly can cause damage to the transmission or engine.

6. Pedals

Pedals are the foot-operated controls in a car that allow the driver to control the speed, braking, and clutch engagement. There are three main pedals in a car with a manual transmission, the accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals.

The accelerator pedal, or gas pedal, is located on the right of the driver’s footwell and is used to increase the car’s speed. Pressing the accelerator pedal down allows more fuel to flow into the engine, increasing the car’s speed.

The brake foot pedal is located on the left of the driver’s footwell and is used to slow down or stop the car. Pressing the brake pedal down causes the brake pads to engage with the wheels, slowing them down and stopping the car.

The clutch pedal is only present in manual transmission cars and is located on the far left of the driver’s footwell. The clutch pedal engages and disengages the clutch, allowing the driver to shift gears manually.

7. Center Console

Mercedes Benz GLE-class center console

Center console of Mercedes Benz GLE-class

The center console is the area between a car’s driver and passenger seats. It typically includes several different features and components that can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

Some common center console features include the radio or infotainment system, climate control system, cupholders, storage compartments, and USB or auxiliary ports. The center console may also include enhanced features such as a GPS navigation system, a wireless charging pad, or even a built-in cooler.

In some vehicle models, the radio or infotainment center and GPS are located centrally on the dashboard rather than the center console.

The climate control system allows the driver and passengers to adjust the temperature and airflow within the car. It may include features such as air conditioning, heating, and defrost settings.

8. Roof And Headliner

The roof and headliner are often overlooked components of a car’s interior, but they play an important role in providing a comfortable and stylish driving experience. The headliner is the fabric material that covers the car’s roof, while the roof itself can come in various materials and styles.

The headliner serves several functions, including insulation, noise reduction, and aesthetics. It helps to insulate the car’s interior from external temperatures and reduce noise from the road or other sources.

The headliner also adds to the overall appearance of the car’s interior and can come in various colors and patterns to match the rest of the car’s design.

The car’s roof can be made of various materials, including metal, glass, or a combination of both. Some cars also have sunroofs or moonroofs that allow for additional light and ventilation in the interior.

Some cars have overhead lights on the roof to provide light in the vehicle’s interior for purposes such as map reading.

9. Emergency Or Parking Brake


The emergency or parking brake is an important safety feature that prevents the vehicle from moving when parked or in an emergency situation.

It is generally located on the center console or the car’s floor, next to the driver’s seat. When activated, the emergency brake engages the car’s rear brakes, holding the vehicle in place.

It is important to use the emergency brake when parking on a slope or incline, as it provides additional security and prevents the car from rolling or sliding.

The emergency brake can also be used in emergencies when the primary braking system of the car fails. In this case, the driver can activate the emergency brake to slow down or stop the car.

To engage the emergency brake, the driver must lift a lever or push a button near the brake pedal or on the center console. The driver must press a button or release the lever to release the emergency brake while simultaneously pressing the car’s brake foot pedal.

It is important to ensure that the emergency brake is in good working condition and is properly maintained. Over time, the emergency brake cables or mechanisms can wear out or become damaged, affecting their effectiveness.

Regular inspections and servicing can help ensure that the emergency brake is functioning properly and can be relied upon in an emergency situation.

10. Rearview Mirror

The rearview mirror is another important safety component of a car’s interior that provides the driver with a clear view behind the vehicle. It is typically located on the windshield, above the dashboard, and can be adjusted to provide the best possible view.

It allows the driver to see other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles in the car’s blind spot or behind it. This is especially important when backing up or changing lanes on the highway.

There are different types of rearview mirrors, including manual and automatic. Manual rearview mirrors require the driver to adjust the mirror by hand, while automatic mirrors can adjust the angle of the mirror with the push of a button or a lever.

Some cars also come equipped with additional features, such as built-in cameras or sensors that provide a wider view of the area behind the vehicle.

10. Glove Or Storage Compartment

glove compartment

The glove or storage compartment is a useful feature in a car that provides additional storage space for the driver and passengers.

It is typically located on the dashboard or the center console and is designed to store small items such as sunglasses, phone chargers, and other personal items.

The glove compartment can be locked with a key, providing additional security for valuable items left in the car. Some car models also come with additional storage compartments, such as armrest storage, door pockets, and seat-back pockets.

11. Air Bags

car side air bag

Airbags are a fairly recent safety feature in modern cars and are designed to protect the occupants in the event of a collision or accident. They are located in various positions throughout the car, including the steering wheel, dashboard, and side panels.

When a collision occurs, the airbag system is triggered by sensors that detect the force of the impact. The airbag inflates rapidly, providing a cushion between the occupants of the car and the hard surfaces of the car’s interior.

This can help prevent injuries such as head trauma, chest injuries, and other serious injuries resulting from a collision.

Airbags are intended to work in conjunction with seat belts, which are the primary safety feature in a car. The combination of airbags and seat belts can significantly reduce serious injury risk or death in a collision.

Proper maintenance of the airbag system is important for ensuring it is functioning properly. This includes regular inspections of the airbag system to ensure there are no defects or damage to the system.

Any defects or damage should be repaired immediately to ensure that the airbag system functions properly in the event of a collision.

It is also important to note that airbags can be dangerous if not used properly. Children under 12 years of age should always ride in the car’s back seat, as airbags can cause serious injury or death if deployed while a child is sitting in the front seat.

It is also important to ensure that the driver and passengers sit properly in their seats and wear their seat belts at all times.

12. Driver’s Console

wipers control

The driver’s console, also known as the instrument panel, is an important component of a car’s interior that provides the driver with essential information and controls. It is typically located directly in front of the driver and includes a variety of gauges, indicators, and controls.

We have already covered some of the important gauges on the dashboard, but there are additional controls in front of the driver to assist in the car’s operation and driving safety.

  • Turn Indicators. The turn indicators are located on the driver’s console and are used to signal the car’s direction of travel. They are typically operated by a lever located on the steering column.
  • Wiper Control. The wiper control is used to operate the windshield wipers, which is essential for maintaining visibility in rainy or snowy conditions. The control is typically on a stalk or lever attached to the steering column.
  • Light Control. The light control is used to operate the car’s headlights and other exterior lights. It is typically located on a lever attached to the steering column or via buttons on the console in front of the driver.
  • Hazard Indicator Control. The hazard indicator control activates the car’s hazard lights, warning other drivers of a potential hazard or emergency situation. It is typically located on the console or on the top of the steering column. The hazard indicator causes all the turn indicator lights on the car to flash simultaneously.

It is important for drivers to be familiar with the location and operation of each control and gauge on the driver’s console and to use them properly while driving.

13. Interior Door Handles

interior door handles

Interior door handles are positioned on each door to allow the doors to be opened from inside the vehicle. A handle is usually present on the interior of each door of the car.

Most interior car door handles incorporate locking mechanisms to enable the car doors to be locked from the inside. Some models offer kids locks on the rear doors which disengage the interior door handles in the rear of the car to prevent the doors from being opened accidentally.

14. Window Controls

Most vehicles have windows in the doors that can be lowered to provide airflow and ventilation inside the car.

The windows are controlled by mechanisms inside each door to raise or lower the glass panel. The mechanism can be controlled electronically or manually. In the case of manual control, a lever in the door is rotated to raise or lower the window.

Electronic window controls have a motor that drives the window mechanism, which is controlled by a button on each door that is pressed to lower the window or lifted to close the window.

Many car models have a feature whereby the driver can lock the window mechanisms on the other doors via a control on the driver’s door console. This normally allows the driver to open or close any window in the vehicle or lock the windows to prevent them from being operated.

15. Air Vents

car air vents

Air vents are located in various positions in the car’s interior to direct airflow and climate control from the air conditioning system.

The vents for the people in the front seats are generally located centrally on the dashboard and to either side of the dashboard. Vents for passengers in the rear seats can be located on the roof, the center console, or under the front seats.

The airflow direction from the vents can be controlled, and the vents can be closed completely to stop the airflow.

16. Headrests

bentley mulsanne headrests

Headrests on a Bentley Mulsanne

Headrests are not present in all cars, but most modern cars feature this important component of a car’s interior. The headrest can be used to rest your head on long trips to prevent neck strain, but it is also an important safety feature.

Collisions from the rear can cause the car’s occupants to experience whiplash, where their heads are violently jerked backward as a result of a rear collision. Headrests positioned on the top surface of each seat can minimize whiplash injury in such a collision.

The headrest height can be adjusted to cater to the height of the person sitting in the seat. Most headrests can also be removed, but it is recommended that they be replaced in position as soon as possible for safety reasons.

A car’s interior comprises many components that work together to provide a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable driving experience. Each component has a unique function and importance, from the dashboard to the pedals, the seats to the center console, and the roof and headliner.

Understanding the different parts of a car’s interior can help drivers better appreciate and utilize their vehicle’s features and capabilities. It can also help ensure that the car is properly maintained and cared for, which is essential for driver and passenger safety.