7 Car Terms You Don’t Know But Should

car terms

If you’re part of the 95% of households in the United States that own a car, it’s important to know some car terms.

Understanding what’s wrong with a used car when you’re looking into buying one make a wise purchasing decision. You can also make better decisions when taking your vehicle in for repairs.

Keep reading to learn seven of the most common vehicle terms that many people don’t know.

1. Supercharger and Turbocharger

Both of these things perform the same job for your car but in different ways. They increase the power of your engine by pulling more air into it.

A supercharger accomplishes this by using a compressor, whereas a turbocharger uses an exhaust-driven turbine.

2. Discs and Drums

These are two different types of brakes.

Disc brakes use brake pads that are clasped to a brake rotor to stop your car. Drum brakes have brake shoes that put pressure on a metal drum to brake.

3. ABS

ABS stands for anti-lock brake system.

It uses braking technology to prevent your wheels from locking up when you have to stop suddenly. Locked wheels can actually prevent you from stopping, making for a more dangerous situation.

ABS technology can also help you drive more safely in snowy and wet conditions. These conditions put you at an increased risk for your wheels locking.

4. Powertrain and Drivetrain

These are two more similar car terms you need to know. The powertrain is made up of the engine and transmission and provides power to the vehicle.

The drivetrain is a combination of all of the components needed to turn the wheels. The specific components vary depending on the type of vehicle.

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5. Traction Control

This is a safety feature that activates when the engine torque and throttle input are unequally matched.

When that happens, the wheels can spin too much, and your car may not be able to get traction. Traction control slows your wheel spin so that you can stay in good contact with the road.

6. Chassis

The chassis is a term used to describe the frame of a vehicle along with all the mechanical parts attached to it, including the suspension and powertrain.

7. Driveability

This vehicle term is about how easily you can drive a car. There are a few things this covers:

  • How well the car starts at different temperatures
  • How well it adapts to various driving conditions
  • How smoothly a vehicle idles and accelerates

When a car does all of these things, and better, it is considered more drivable because the drive is more enjoyable.

Learn More About These Car Terms

Now you’ve mastered seven common car terms that you may not have known before.

As you can see, knowing these will help you understand what’s happening with your vehicle when you’re buying a car or taking it in for repairs.

To learn more about your car and how it works, keep reading our blog. A great post to visit next is the one on gas mileage myths.


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