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Focus on: Car Talk – Terms You Need to Know

Focus on: Car Talk – Terms You Need to Know

When you take your car to your local garage, you of course want the mechanics to be skilled professionals who are able to give you the best possible advice about your car and what it needs to keep it working safely on the road. However, understanding what your mechanic is saying when they use industry-specific terms can be a challenge.

Take a look at our A-Z of car terminology, especially for those who don’t know their ABS from their ALKS.

ABS – the anti-lock braking system is the function that stops your wheels from locking when you brake hard. This is a standard feature in modern cars and a yellow light will show if your ABS is faulty.

ALKS – automated lane keeping system is one of many ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), and can help to keep your vehicle within a driving lane.

Big End – this rather vague term is used to describe the large end of the conrod (connecting rod) which powers the thrusting motion of the piston in a combustion engine.

Dampers – also known as shocks, these absorb some of the shock when you go over bumps, preventing erratic up-and-down movement.

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) – can be found in diesel cars and are designed to reduce emissions and collect soot.

EHB - Also known as the SBC (Sensotronic Brake Control), the electrohydraulic brake system is used in electric and hybrid vehicles and uses sensors that are controlled by an electric motor to use hydraulic pressure on the brakes.

Engine Management Light (EML) - the dreaded EML light (also known as a MIL light) connects to the engine control unit (ECU) and tells you if there is a problem with your engine. If your EML light comes on or you notice your car isn’t running as smoothly, head to your local garage.

Head Gasket – The head gasket seals the two surfaces at the top of the engine. Its role is to seal the oil and water ways between the cylinder head and block, allowing oil to flow through the engine. It also seals the cylinder so that the engine retains pressure. If your engine is overheating or you notice white exhaust smoke, your head gasket could be the culprit.

Shocks – see Dampers.

Tracking – often overlooked, tracking is important for safe driving as well as reducing wear and tear on your tyres. Tracking describes how your wheels are aligned and can be impacted when you hit a pothole or kerb at speed. If you notice that your car is dragging to the side, you could have a tracking problem.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) - measures your tyre pressure in metric (bar) or PSI (pounds per square inch) and alerts you if it senses that your tyre pressure is not within the range recommended by the manufacturer.

If your car isn’t behaving quite how you are expecting it to, check out Trust A Garage’s directory of rated and reviewed garages near you. For more advice and information, follow us on Facebook or X.


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