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Glossary of Automotive Terminology

Adjustable Suspension: A system that is used to create variations in the firmness of the shock absorbers to provide a better ride.

Air Suspension: A unit that is similar to a bellow that contains pressurized air and is mounted at each corner of a vehicle to provide a softer ride.

Anti-Lock Brakes: Brakes that are controlled by computer so they will not lock and cause the wheels to skid.

Automatic Transmission: A transmission that does not have to be shifted manually.

Auxiliary Lighting: Extra lightening such as driving lights or fog lights that improve visibility under adverse conditions.

Caliper: Part that houses disc brake pads on either side of the brake rotor, which is forced together when brakes are applied.

Car Donation: a number of charities accept car, boat, RV, truck, and motorcycle donations that may result in a tax deduction for the donor. When you donate a car or other property, you can help your favorite charity and yourself.

Camshaft: Shaft in which the lobes open and close engine-cylinder intake and exhaust valves: driven by the crankshaft.

Continuously Variable Transmission: Transmission in which power is transmitted from the engine to the drive wheels in a continuous flow; contains no gears and does not require manual shifting.

Differential: A device that is usually located on an axle that allows wheels to rotate at different speeds (outside wheels turn faster than inside when taking a corner).

Disc Brakes: Discs that are squeezed together by the brake calipers when the brake is pressed causing the vehicle to slow.

Drive Shaft: The metal shaft that rotates on a rear-wheel drive vehicle allowing power to transfer from the transmission differential gear assembly to the vehicle’s rear wheels.

Engine: The part that burns fuel and produces mechanical power in the vehicle.

Exhaust Manifold: Part that carries exhaust gases from the exhaust ports to the header of the exhaust system.

Fan Belt: A flexible drive belt that transfers power from the crankshaft pulley to the alternator or the water pump.

Gasket: A thin, soft material that is placed between two metal parts to create a seal.

Global Positioning System: An automotive navigation system that accesses a satellite to locate the users vehicle and how its position on a road database.

Halogen Headlight: Headlight that contains a high-output, white-light lamp.

Ignition Coil: A transformer that boosts the battery voltage through a primary and secondary winding from 12 volts up to 30,000 volts to make the spark plugs fire.

Intake Manifold: A metal part that either carries the air/fuel mixture from the carburetor to the intake ports, or the air in an injected engine to the intake ports.

Joint: The junction where essential parts are joined.

Lug Nut: A six-sided, threaded device that holds the wheels on a vehicle that has lug studs.

MacPherson Strut: A type of front suspension in which the shock absorber is mounted directly below the coil spring.

Manifold: A part that channels the air/fuel mixture into the engine or the exhaust out of the engine.

Manual Transmission: A transmission that is shifted manually by either engaging a foot pedal operated clutch and a gear selection level that may be mounted on the floor, or steering shaft

Odometer: The gauge that indicated how many miles the vehicle has been driven.

Oil Pressure Indicator: The gauge that measures the oil pressure.

Parking Pawl: Part that locks the transmission’s output shaft.

Quad-Cam Engine: An engine that has four camshafts.

Rack and Pinion Steering: Steering assembly has a gear or pinion at one end of the shaft that engages a rack with tie rods at either end that attach to the steering arms.

Radial Tire: A tire that has ply cords at right angles to the beads as well as belts under the tread section to decrease tread distortion while in motion. This minimizes tread wear and friction.

Safety Rim: The groove that runs around the outer edge of a rim that provides a lock for the tire bead.

Sunroof: A window-like opening in the roof of a vehicle.

Timing Belt: Belt that connects the crankshaft with the camshaft.

Torque: The rotational force that the engine causes on the crankshaft.

Universal Joint: A connection in the driveline that is jointed, thus allowing the driving angel to change.

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