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Body Parts

Body parts of a vehicle help define the type of vehicle. They are a major component and define style. For reference, the right and left sides of the vehicle are defined as if you are sitting in the driver seat. Not all variations or unique components will be mentioned here to maintain clarity. The body parts listed will be from a standard four door sedan or pickup truck. Most are major parts of the vehicle however some will be strictly cosmetic. Let’s start at the front and work our way to the back.

Car and Truck Body Parts

  • Front bumper
  • Grille
  • Right and left fender
  • Hood
  • Firewall/Bulkhead
  • Wiper cowl
  • Front windshield
  • A pillar
  • Roof
  • Floor pans
  • Right and left side mirrors
  • Front right and left doors
  • Front right and left windows
  • B pillar
  • Rear right and left doors
  • Rear right and left windows
  • C pillar
  • Rear windshield
  • Rear bumper

Car Body Only

  • Right and left quarter panels- The right and left quarter panels are the large pieces of metal on the side and rear of cars. They surround the rear tires.
  • Deck lid or trunk lid– The trunk lid covers the contents of the trunk or the cargo storage area.

Truck Body Only

  • Cab– The cab is the part of the truck where the driver and passengers sit. It is separate from the cargo bed.
  • Cargo bed– The cargo bed is the rear portion of a truck that is designed to carry goods or materials. There are many styles of cargo beds available today.

Minivan, Truck, and SUV Body Only

  • Tailgate– The tailgate is a single rear door that raises or lowers vertically. On minivans and SUV’s this door will raise up and most likely have a glass window that can be opened and closed separately. On trucks, the tailgate will fold down to allow access to the cargo area.

Van Body

The side doors on a full size or cargo van are the forward and rear cargo door, respectively. The doors on the back of the van are referred to as the right and left rear doors.

Car and Truck Body Parts

Front Bumper

The front bumper absorbs some of the impact in a crash. Today, most cars have a bumper cover over the bumper itself. The bumper cover is the cosmetic part that we see when looking at a vehicle. Most heavy duty trucks built today have steel bumpers.


The grille is the opening in front of the radiator. Each manufacturer has their own signature when it comes to the grille. While body styles change, the grille stays very similar to the original design.

Right and Left Fender

The fenders are the large pieces of metal on the front sides of the vehicle that surround the wheels.


The hood covers the engine. It is located between the fenders.


The firewall or bulkhead is the rear wall of the engine compartment and it forms the front wall of the passenger compartment. Accessories such as the wiper cowl, brake booster, heater case, and dashboard will be mounted to it.

Wiper Cowl

The wiper cowl is the part between the hood and front windshield. The windshield wipers are located in this area. Wiper cowls are usually made of plastic.

Front Windshield

The front windshield is the large piece of glass on the front of the vehicle.

A Pillar

The A pillar is the piece of metal that rises vertically on each side of the front windshield. It provides support for the roof. NOTE- All vertical supports that support a fixed roof are pillars. They are defined by sequential letters starting with A at the windshield. Limos may have up to five or more pillars.


This is the large piece of metal that covers the cab or interior of the vehicle.  This part is retractable on convertibles.

Floor pans

The floor pans are just that–the floor of the passenger compartment. The seats are attached directly to the floor.

Right and Left Side Mirrors

The right and left side mirrors are used to locate traffic and objects next to and behind the vehicle. The are located on the front doors of the vehicle. Sometimes these mirrors may be heated or have turn signals in them.

B Pillar

The B pillar is the upright piece of metal directly behind the driver and passenger front door. This part is a major structural part of the body. the B pillar supports the roof, is where the seat belt is attached on most cars, and is a mounting point for the door striker.

C Pillar

The C pillar is most similar to the A pillar. It is located behind the rear doors and outlines the back glass.

Rear Windshield

The back glass is the rear most glass on the vehicle. Most vehicles have a defroster on this piece of glass to melt snow and ice. This windshield may be made of glass or clear vinyl plastic on convertibles.

Rear Bumper

The rear bumper is identical to the front bumper in form and function.


Unique features and components have been left out to keep the description of current body styles easy to understand.

The doors and side windows have been intentionally left out because their function and purpose is obvious. The main thing to know when referring to the doors or windows is the proper location. The driver door and window is referred to as the left front. The passenger front door and window position is referred to as the right front. The other doors are referred to in their respective locations.

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