Even though you may not know how to repair your own car, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to talk about it. Here are a few simple car terms that every used car driver should be familiar with.
This is short for anti-lock brake system. ABS is a pretty standard braking technology that prevents car wheels from locking up if you stop suddenly.
Contrary to popular belief, FWD is not an acronym for four-wheel drive. It actually stands for front-wheel drive. This type of engine system uses only the front wheels to steer, while the back wheels stay stationary. Most cars on the road today use FWD, but some people need or prefer cars with all-wheel drive (AWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), or 4-wheel drive (4WD).
This one is easy to remember because the function is right in the name! Spark plugs cause an actual spark in your engine to start combustion, which is a fancy way of saying that spark plugs start your used car.
A timing belt is a rubber belt that synchronizes with other parts of your used car’s engine to keep all of the gears running smoothly. Not having one can wreak havoc on your car and can be an expensive repair.
You often hear about a transmission repair being really expensive — and rightly so. The transmission is another name for a used car’s gearbox, which is the internal system that controls the power from the engine and translates it into movement.
Another easy one to remember. A dipstick is an actual stick that you dip into the oil container in your used car to check your oil levels.
This refers to how well your used vehicle moves on straight roads, around corners, and over varying types of terrain.
Horsepower is a unit of measurement equal to 550 foot pounds per second. It’s used to describe the power of a vehicle’s engine and higher numbers mean more power and more speed.
PSI stands for “pounds per square inch” and is used to describe tire pressure. Your used car’s owners manual will tell you the appropriate PSI for each of your tires.
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