Motoring Jargon Buster

Motoring Jargon Buster

When you’re taking your car into the garage for a service, the last thing you need is a stream of motoring gibberish hurled in your direction. It can be embarrassing when you’re not familiar with the terms but, above all, it just isn’t helpful.

Not all garages are like this. In fact, most mechanics worth their salt would aim to explain such terms in a manner that every motorist could understand. However, it doesn’t hurt to build up a mental glossary just in case, and this article will help you do just that.


Your vehicle’s alternator is a little device which converts mechanical energy from the engine into electricity and, in turn, charges your car’s battery and powers the electrical system. This is a term certainly worth knowing, firstly, for the fundamental role that it plays in your vehicle and, secondly, because it is prone to playing up!


AWD simply stands for all wheel drive, meaning that the car in question is powered by all four wheels. However, different manufacturers may coin their own name for the term, for example, xDrive (BMW), 4MATIC (Mercedes-Benz) and quattro (Audi).


BHP stands for brake horsepower, and measures the maximum power output of an engine before any frictional losses caused by other components come into play. Ultimately, it reflects a car’s top speed and maximum rate of acceleration.


One of the simpler terms on the list, the chassis is the underpart of your vehicle to which the wheels are attached. However, some definitions actually incorporate the wheels and transmission into the chassis and, in such cases, it is known as a rolling chassis.


Also known as shock absorbers, dampers are mechanical devices designed to absorb or dampen shock impulses whilst driving. Dampers come into their own on rough terrain, and contribute towards a better ride quality.


Perhaps this particular definition may not be of use unless you have a very powerful car, but there’s no harm in having it in the locker. An intercooler is used to cool the air compressed by the turbocharger before entering the engine, so, if your car is turbocharged, it’s certainly worth getting familiar with this term.


Parents take note: ISOFIX is the international standard for child safety seat attachment points in cars. Specifically, ISOFIX seats allow you to securely attach a child seat to the car’s chassis by virtue of two anchor points embedded into the backseat.


This is not a problem with your car, but could well cause a problem with your car if it happens on the road! Oversteer occurs when the rear of the car loses grip, usually in wet conditions, and slides out unintentionally.


Unfortunately, torque is not simple to define and any definition not involving additional mathematical jargon might not capture the concept properly. That said, it’s worth having a loose understanding of its role in your vehicle. Crudely, torque measures how quickly power from the engine can be transferred to the wheels.

Wyatt Auto Services are the experts you need to carry out all manner of maintenance, repairs and testing on your vehicle. With over 17 years experience as an established autos company, you can rest assured that when you book an MOT with us, you are in the safest hands no matter where you are in the South Yorkshire region. For more information, or to book an MOT or repairs at Wyatt Auto Services, contact our team today!

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