Motoring Jargon Buster

When you’re looking to buy a new vehicle, there are certain terms that can cause confusion if you haven’t encountered them before. With this in mind, below is a handy A-Z jargon buster to get rid of any confusion.


ABS –  ABS is an acronym for Antilock Braking System. This is a safety measure that prevents the wheels from locking if you need to emergency brake, giving you greater control over the vehicle and reducing stopping distances.


Appreciation –  Appreciation is simply when a vehicle’s value increases over time.


A/T – Automatic transmission - This is when a vehicle’s gears are changed automatically without the need for a gearstick.


BHP – Brake Horsepower - The amount of horsepower the engine has.


Chassis – The frame beneath the car that holds the different components together.


Cruise Control – A speed set by the driver that’s automatically maintained.


Cylinder – The part of the engine where the pistons move and the fuel mixture takes place.


CO2 – Carbon Dioxide - a type of exhaust emission that’s measured in grams per kilometer. CO2 emissions are important since they will affect the price you pay for vehicle tax.


Depreciation – Depreciation is when a vehicle loses value over time.


Differential – A device that allows the wheels of a car to turn at different speeds. This helps when making sharp turns.


Dual Fuel – A duel fuel car can run on different types of fuel.


ESC – Electronic Stability Control – An electronic safety feature that applies the brakes to a specific wheel of the vehicle in order to prevent oversteer or understeer during emergency breaking.


EV – Electric Vehicle – This is simply an umbrella term given to any vehicle that runs on an electric motor


GPS – Global Positioning System – The satellites that provide the data used by Sat Navs.


HPI Check – A service that enables you to check the history of a used vehicle to see if it has been stolen, damaged or written off.


Hybrid – A vehicle that can be powered either by petrol or an electric motor.


ICE – Internal Combustion Engine vehicle – A vehicle that is powered by a combustable fuel, such as petrol or diesel.


Independent suspension – A suspension system that allows wheels that share the same axle to move independently of each other.


Intercooler – A system that increases the engines power by cooling the hot gas that’s generated by a supercharger or turbocharger before entering it.


List price – The cost of a car that’s set by the dealership. This is essentially the retail price before any additional fees, such as tax and insurance are added.


LSD – Limited Slip Differential – A limited slip diff will prevent all power from going to a spinning wheel that’s off the ground or on a slippery surface and supply power to all the other wheels that have grip.


MPG – Miles Per Gallon – The number of miles a vehicle can travel per gallon of fuel. When cars are described as ‘city’ or ‘urban’, the MPG is usually what’s being referred to.


Notchback – This refers to a body style where the rear of the car is shorter than usual. This body style can be used to refer to a saloon, coupe or hatchback.


NVH – Noise, Vibration and Harshness – The amount of noise and vibration that a vehicle produces. Vehicle manufacturers spend a great deal of time trying to improve the NVH of their vehicles.


Odometer – The device that shows the total distance a vehicle has traveled in its lifespan.


OTR – On The Road – This is a term that’s used in vehicle pricing and is essentially the practical cost of a car once everything has been taken into consideration, including the cost of the car itself as well as tax

and insurance.

Power Steering – Electric-powered steering that allows the driver to make turns more easily.


Privacy Glass – Another term used for tinted windows.


Q Plate – A vehicle that has a Q plate was not originally registered in the UK and proof of age was not available when it was registered.


Road Tax Band – The group that a vehicle belongs to based on how much road tax must be paid. The tax that must be paid is based on the CO2 omissions of the vehicle.


Rear Wheel Drive – Only the rear wheels of the vehicle are powered by the engine.


Suspension – All the components that attach a vehicle to its wheels. The type of suspension a vehicle has goes a long way to determining the type of driving experience it provides.


VIN – Vehicle Identification Number – A unique number that’s assigned to vehicles during the manufacturing process. VIN numbers are used to do HPI checks to determine the history of a vehicle.


VRM – Vehicle Registration Mark – Another name for a vehicle’s number plate.


Xenon – A type of powerful headlight bulb that’s used to increase brightness.