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Car Terms & Simple Troubleshooting You Should Know

Some people are so passionate about cars. They seem to know all the motoring jargon out there and rarely have to take their vehicle to a repair shop as they are so experienced in car problems. And when they are resting, they think there is nothing better to do than settle down for a good read of a favorite motoring magazine. What a nerd! But hey, you can’t blame us (now including myself) if we find some satisfaction and a good adrenaline when we see our fave cars.

However, if you find motoring jargon to resemble Double Dutch on the other hand, and have no idea how to solve even the simplest of motoring issues and quite frankly would rather watch paint dry than read the latest motoring magazine, then you’ve come to the right place! You should learn a little and perhaps engage you to like what we love. This will save you time and money too.

Below are the most common car terms that we should all understand. We’ve also included a few troubleshooting points along the way.

  • ABS.  Anti-lock braking system (lets you have control when braking heavily).
  • Brake Disc. Each wheel has one. It’s a rotating metal disc that turns with the wheel. When you brake, a clamp squeezes the disc causing the rotation of the wheel to slow down.
  • Cam Belt / Timing Belt.  A rubber belt that drives the moving parts of the engine. They need to be replaced at specific intervals or you are in for a hefty repair bill.
  • Fan Belt.  It uses the car engine to drive the circular fan (you know that weird looking grill bit under the bonnet). If you get a squealing noise when you first start up the engine, you may have a problem with the fan belt.
  • Handbrake / Parking Brake.  Used to apply the brakes to keep the vehicle still.
  • Ignition.  Usually this is the keyhole where you put your key in to get the engine started. Granted, the ignition does refer to a lot of electrical processes that happen when you turn the key as well, but remember this is just a foolproof guide for novices, a pro guide is more complex of course!
  • Puncture.  When a car tire gets a leak. This often means that you have ran over a sharp object. If you get one, try not to drive on as you’ll likely cause more damage, as well as put yourself in danger. Call your local tire center and get them to come save you!
  • Suspension.  A complicated set up that we aren’t going to go into detail on. However the bottom line is that is allows the wheels to move independently of the chassis helping your car to ‘bounce’ over bumps.

Whilst we have provided you with some of the most common car terms, as well as a few simple troubleshooting tips, there are plenty more to learn about! Even if motoring is not your biggest ‘thrill topic’ in life, if you are a driver it’s a good idea to inform yourself of at least the basics. Now only will you feel more competent behind the wheel, but you’ll actually be able to understand a fraction of what your garage man is talking about!

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