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 (some can save you money on your fleet insurance cost) 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.