Glossary

Confused by the technician’s lingo? View our shop glossary and find what it is you may be looking for!



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
TERM Explanation (note that links followed by >> links to an external website and opens a new window);
A
ABS: Antilock Braking System – a computerized system that prevents wheel lockup and skidding during braking.
AMPERE The unit used to measure electrical current in an electrical circuit. The current is limited by a fuse in order not to overload the wires and thereby cause fire or other damage, for example at 16 A (Ampere).
AIR SHOCKS A shock absorber or MacPherson strut with an air chamber that adjusts its length and thus the height of the vehicle’s chassis.
ALTERNATOR A generator driven by the engine that produces electricity to charge the battery and power the vehicle’s electrical components.
B
BODY-ON-FRAME A vehicle body construction that utilizes a rigid steel frame separate from the body.
BRAKE ASSIST A provision that increases braking power when the computer detects that the driver is making a panic stop.
BRAKE FADE A condition in which brakes lose their effectiveness due to overheating.
C
CHASSIS A vehicle’s structural framework, excluding the body.
COIL SPRING A helical suspension spring used predominantly on passenger cars.
CURB WEIGHT The weight of a vehicle with a full tank of fuel and all necessary fluids but no passengers or cargo.
D
DIFFERENTIAL A gear assembly that permits either side of an axle, or two separate driveshafts, to rotate at different speeds, which allows different wheels to rotate at different speeds as the vehicle turns.
DISC BRAKE A brake system that slows a wheel’s rotation by squeezing an attached metal disc in a viselike hydraulic caliper.
DISPLACEMENT The volume of an engine’s cylinders, a general indicator of its size and power.
DRIVELINE The parts of the drivetrain excluding the engine and transmission.
DRIVETRAIN All components that generate power and propel a vehicle.
DRUM BRAKES A brake system that slows a wheel’s rotation by pressing curved brake shoes against the inside of an attached metal drum. These days most common as rear wheel breaks and usuallu regaded as less efficient compared to disc brakes.
E
EFI Electronic Fuel Injection See fuel injection/electronic fuel injection..
F
FUEL INJECTION A fuel-supply system that has taken the carburetor’s place, increasing vehicle reliability, efficiency and emissions performance. Can be mechanical or electronic.
G
GAS SHOCKS A shock absorber or MacPherson strut that incorporates compressed gas to prevent the oil from foaming
H
HORSEPOWER A measures of the force exerted by an engine and its ability to do work. 1 hp == 735 Watt.
I
INDEPENDENT SUSPENSION A suspension arrangement in which the left and right wheels are attached independently to the chassis rather than sharing a single, solid axle
INTERCOOLER A type of radiator that cools the air compressed by a supercharger or turbocharger in order to gain higher horsepower.
J
K
KICKDOWN A downshift in an automatic transmission triggered when the driver pushes the accelerator to the floor.
L
LEAF SPRING A type of suspension spring that uses one or more flat steel strips, typically used in heavy-duty applications such as trucks.
LEAN BURN An engine type or mode of operation that combusts a leaner-than-normal fuel/air mixture.
LED Light Emitting Diod – used insted of light bulbs, for greater illumination and longevity.
M
MUFFLER A device in the exhaust system with the purpose of lowering the sound level engine.
N
O
OVERDRIVE Refers to the transmission’s highest gear; allows for efficient cruising.
OVERSTEER A condition in which a vehicle turns more sharply than the driver intends.
P
Q
R
RACK-AND-PINION Refers to a steering system that turns the wheels by means of a small pinion gear that meshes with a toothed bar or rack.
S
SHOCK ABSORBER A suspension component that controls the up-and-down motion of the vehicle’s wheels.
SPRINGS In suspensions, the components that support the vehicle’s weight and absorb shocks from bumps and dips in the road.
STABILIZER BAR A steel bar that connects suspension components on opposite wheels, a measure to combat body roll.
SUPERCHARGER A device driven by a belt, chain or gears that increases engine power by pumping air into the combustion chambers.
SWAY BAR See stabilizer bar.
T
TRACTION CONTROL A system that helps a vehicle maintain traction and stay on course during acceleration.
A gearbox that divides power between two separate axles in a four-wheel-drive system and, in some vehicles, offers an additional, low-gear setting for offroad use.
TURBOCHARGER A device driven by exhaust gases that increases engine power by pumping air into the combustion chambers .
U
UNDERSTEER A condition in which a vehicle turns less sharply than the driver intends.
UNIBODY A vehicle body construction in which the frame and body are a single unit.
UNSPRUNG WEIGHT The weight of all components not supported by the vehicle’s springs.
V
VISCOUS CLUTCH/COUPLING A limited-slip device that uses heat-activated viscous fluid to transfer power between two driveshafts.
VOLT The unit used to measure electrical potential between points in an electrical circuit. The voltage in most modern cars is nominal 12 V..
W
X
Y
Z