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Car Related Terms You Need To Know Before Heading to the Garage

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Motorists are urged to brush up on their motoring lingo before their next trip to the garage to help understand their bill.

The holiday car rental experts at have compiled a list of some of the essential terms to help educate drivers on their motor vehicles

Although many drivers have the privilege of owning a car, a surprising number are unaware of their key components and can therefore feel overwhelmed when they check their receipt from the garage. 

Some car-related words are self-explanatory. However, the more complex terms can confuse drivers when figuring out what they mean. 

A spokesperson from commented: “Being aware of what is going on underneath the bonnet is extremely useful in ensuring that the correct problem has been fixed and you’re not overcharged.

“Not only this, but the more you know about your car, the more likely you will be able to fix any problems yourself. We’re encouraging drivers to educate themselves not only to save them money but ultimately to keep them safe.”

15 Essential Pieces of Motoring Jargon Are Decoded Below:

This refers to the Anti-Lock Braking System, which takes control of your brakes when it senses that your wheels may lock up and cause skidding. The ABS rapidly applies and releases your brakes to help give you steering control under heavy braking.  


An automated vehicle speed management system can identify traffic ahead and alter the car’s speed accordingly. This could also be referred to as ‘intelligent cruise control’.


All-wheel drive. This means that power is sent to all of the car’s wheels. AWD cars can either be permanent, where energy will always be sent to every spin, or switchable. The latter means that power is primarily fed to two wheels but can be fed to all four when a slip is detected. Some manufacturers refer to this as 4×4 or 4WD.


A Diesel particulate filter traps and stores any soot from diesel exhaust. This is to reduce the emissions of diesel cars.


Double Overhead Camshaft – is a modern engine design with two camshafts instead of one. These are positioned at the top of the cylinder heads, making the car more powerful and efficient than an engine with a single overhead camshaft.

Brake Calliper 

The brake calliper is the part of the brake that squeezes the brake disc when you press the brake pedal, slowing the rotation of the wheels.  

Cam Belt 

The cam belt is a rubber belt that controls the timing of certain aspects of a car’s engine. Manufacturers often recommend changing the cam belt after a certain amount of miles, which can be very costly to repair if it breaks.

Catalytic Converter 

The catalytic converters turn the exhaust’s harmful emissions (e.g. carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide) into less toxic gases or water vapour.  


A car’s base frame or carriage consists of the frame on which the body is mounted.  

Cruise Control 

Also known as speed control, cruise control is a system that automatically controls the speed of a car – often employed on motorways. Drivers can set their desired speed (a series of buttons usually located on the steering wheel) 

Fan Belt 

The fan belt uses the engine to drive things like the alternator and water pumps. Fan belts tend to stretch and sometimes even fall off, so they might need adjusting or replacing periodically. 


This is a metal disk that provides power to and from the engine and transmission. Pretty much every motor vehicle has one of these. 


An immobiliser is a piece of electronic theft prevention equipment that is wired into your car’s engine and ignition system. Even with the key, you can’t start the engine when the immobiliser is active. 


A complicated spring setup at each corner of the car allows the wheels to move independently of the chassis, reacting to bumps and unevenness in the road.  


The patterns cut into the rubber on car tyres. When the tread wears down, tyres provide less grip, which is why there is a legal requirement to have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the central 75% of the width of your car’s tyres.

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Safety reminder – Please buckle up! Seat belts save lives every day. Always wear seat belts and use appropriate restraints for all child passengers.


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