Below are key auto repair terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through your auto’s repair from beginning to end.
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aftermarket auto parts
Auto repair parts not made by the original manufacturer are commonly referred to as aftermarket auto parts. Aftermarket parts fit and function like original parts, but they’re often less expensive than OEM parts. Some aftermarket auto parts are redesigned to increase vehicle performance.
Also known as: aftermarket parts, functionally-equivalent auto parts, off-brand auto parts, off-make auto parts, performance aftermarket parts, high performance auto parts
auto repair shop
An automotive repair shop that maintain and repair the internal working parts of automobiles. Some auto repair shops specialize in specific repairs, such as auto electrical repair shops, automobile brake shops, muffler repair shops and automobile engine repair shops. Other vehicle repair centers are general repair garages that do all types of maintenance and service repairs.
Also known as: car repair shop, auto mechanic shop, car mechanic shop, automobile repair shop, auto repair garage
Four-wheel drive systems increase traction on slippery roads and off-road surfaces. All-wheel drive is different from 4-wheel drive because drivers cannot disengage AWD systems.
Also known as: AWD, allwheel drive, all wheel drive
Liquid in the cooling system that dissipates heat. Antifreeze prevents freezing during winter, cools the engine in summer and protects the cooling system from corrosion and rust.
Also known as: coolant
The undercarriage of a vehicle is known as the chassis. The chassis carries all power train and suspension parts.
Also known as: framework, auto case, auto frame, auto undercarriage
auto electrical repair
Auto repairs to the electrical system of a vehicle are simply known as auto electrical repairs. Vehicle electrical repairs may include alternator repair, auto starter repair, ignition repair, and auto electrical wiring repairs or replacement.
Also known as: automobile electrical repair, automotive electrical repair, car electrical repair, auto electrical service, vehicle electrical repairs, auto electrical diagnostics
An auto mechanic is a professional auto technician who repairs and maintains vehicles. Auto mechanics may be factory-trained or may work on any type of vehicle.
Also known as: mechanic, car mechanic, automobile mechanic, auto repair technician
car air filter
A paper or synthetic filter that blocks dust, dirt and debris as air enters the engine.
Also known as: auto air filters, car air filter, performance air filter, auto air filter replacements, auto cabin air filter
car catalytic converter
A vehicle’s catalytic converter isolates exhaust particles and burns them before they leave the tailpipe.
Also known as: cat, catcon
The largest engine section, the crankcase contains the crankshaft.
The rod that transfers power from the engine to the transmission.
Also known as: crank
The differential is important for turning and cornering. It’s the gear system that allows one wheel to rotate faster than the other.
Also known as: auto differential, rear differential, car differential, vehicle differential repairs
domestic auto repair shops
Auto repair garages that specialize in repairs on domestic vehicles. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler (also known as The Big Three) are considered domestic vehicle manufacturers.
Also known as: American car repair, domestic car repairs, domestic auto repairs, factory-trained domestic auto repairs
When a vehicle’s engine runs fast while the vehicle is stopped and idling.
Also known as: vehicle fast idle, fast idling, auto idling fast, car idling fast, racing idle
When too much fuel is in the cylinders and makes starting difficult or impossible.
Also known as: engine flooded with gas, car flooded, engine stall, flooded vehicle
foreign auto repair shops
Foreign auto repair shops perform repairs and maintenance on vehicles manufactured by foreign car companies, including some models built in the United States, including BMW, Toyota, Honda and Lexus.
4WD is a drive system that powers all four wheels and provides better traction during off-road use and poor weather conditions.
Also known as: 4WD, 4×4, four by four, sport utility vehicle
A driving system that powers the front wheels of the vehicle. Front-wheel drive systems can be automatic or manual shift.
Also known as: FWD
The fuel delivery system where injectors, known as fuel-injector nozzles, spray fuel into the cylinders for better fuel control and fuel efficiency.
Also known as: electronic fuel injection, EFI
Hesitation is the brief loss of power during acceleration that causes a vehicle to hesitate or lag when gaining speed.
Also known as: engine hesitation, auto hesitation, acceleration hesitation engine sputtering, auto stumbling, vehicle lagging, engine lag
The amount of energy produced by a vehicle’s engine.
Also known as: car HP, mechanical horsepower, car horsepower, vehicle horsepower, electrical horsepower
The term used to describe a vehicle that is stationary but running.
Also known as: idling
mobile auto repair
A mechanic who repairs vehicles on-site is considered a mobile auto repair service. Mobile auto repair shops can often do minor and major repairs and tune-ups.
OEM auto parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
Auto parts made by the vehicle manufacturer. While they may cost more than aftermarket auto parts, OEM parts usually fit better, last longer and are covered by warranties.
Also known as: Original Equipment Manufacturer parts, stock vehicle parts, stock parts
When an engine runs at reduced speed or requires more throttle to maintain speed.
Also known as: auto power loss, low power output, automobile hesitating
Referring to the transmission and engine of a vehicle, the powertrain is an inclusive term that defines the parts of the vehicle that deliver power.
rebuilt auto parts
Rebuilt auto parts are used auto parts that have been remanufactured, reconditioned and restored.
Also known as: salvage auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts, refurbished auto parts, rebuilt auto parts
revolutions per minute
The speed at which the engine crankshaft is turning.
Also known as: rpm, RPM, RPMs
Rough idling is when the engine shakes and vibrates while the vehicle is running and stationary.
Also known as: vibrations, auto choking, engine sputtering
salvage auto parts
Auto parts taken from recycled vehicles are called salvage auto parts. These are often inexpensive auto repair parts, but they usually don’t come with warranties because they haven’t been repaired or altered so their reliability can’t be guaranteed. Salvage auto parts are often a last resort for vehicle owners looking for hard-to-find parts for rare or older vehicles.
Also known as: salvage auto parts, salvage car parts, salvaged parts, used auto parts, replacement parts, used car parts
Serpentine belts are the long, continuous belts that run many automotive engine components, such as the alternator, power steering pump, air pump and car water pump.
Also known as: multi-vee belts, multi-v belts, multi-rib belts
When a vehicle does not accelerate smoothly or quickly enough.
Also known as: auto hesitation, vehicle loss of power
The shock absorbers and springs that create a smoother ride by dampening the motion of a vehicle as it drives.
Also known as: suspension system
The timing belt is a toothed belt run by the crankshaft. The timing belt drives the vehicle camshaft. Broken timing belts cause engine valves to remain open and can cause engine damage if the valve is struck and bent by a piston.
The underside of a vehicle that supports and creates the framework.
Also known as: automobile framework, car body, auto frame, vehicle chassis
A hose that creates vacuum suction force in the engine. Vacuum hoses move fluids from one part of the engine to another.
vehicle control arms
The moving suspension components mounted between the vehicle frame and the wheels.
Also known as: car wishbone, auto double wishbone, vehicle suspension
Side-to-side motion that causes a vehicle’s tires and steering wheel to shake is typically known as vehicle vibrations or car vibrations.
Also known as: car shaking, shimmying, car shimmy, car shaking
Auto water pumps are the engine pump that moves coolant (antifreeze) through the radiator and engine.