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TUMAG – The Ultimate Motoring Acronym Guide

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TUMAG - The Ultimate Motoring Acronym Guide

Car forums, classified ads and motoring websites are awash with hundreds of car-related acronyms, so much so that it can be pretty daunting if you’re new on the scene. Do you know the difference between your PAS and your OBO? Do you think you find ABS in the gym and QUADR in the Middle East? Well, we are here to decipher this cryptic car code with TUMAG: The Ultimate Motoring Acronym Guide!

Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything!

  • AAW – Aftermarket Alloy Wheels. A car fitted with non-standard alloys.
  • A/T – Automatic transmission i.e. not a manual car
  • A/C – Air conditioning. Absorbs heat and blows refrigerated air into the cabin of the car, cooling it to below the ambient air temperature. Also AAC (Automatic Air Conditioning)
  • ABS – Antilock Braking System – when this computer controlled braking system detects impending wheel lockup it pulses the brakes to prevent it. By preventing the wheels from locking the driver can maintain control of the steering.
  • ACC – Adaptive Cruise Control – this feature allows you to set a maximum cruising speed, which the vehicle automatically adjusts to keep the vehicle a safe distance from the car in front.
  • AFM – Can mean two different things, either Air Flow Meter (also often referred to as a MAF – Mass Air Flow Meter) or Active Fuel Management. Also known as MDS (Multi Displacement System) or VCM (Variable Cylinder Management). During light operation the car’s engine can shut off cylinders so less fuel is used.
  • AWD – All Wheel Drive – also referred to as four-wheel drive or 4WD
  • BHP – Brake Horse Power – an arbitrary measurement invented by James Watt to measure the power of his steam engines against the horses they were replacing.
  • BOV – Blow off Valve, also known as a dump valve. Part of the turbo system which releases unused boost pressure. Atmospheric blow off valves are what makes that loud Tshhhhh sound you hear on modified cars
  • BSM – Blind Spot Monitoring – a sensor in the vehicle that detects objects to the driver’s side and rear blind spots.
  • CAT – Catalytic Convertor – a device that converts toxic gases in the exhaust to less toxic gases.
  • CRD – Common Rail Diesel
  • Cd – Drag Coefficient – essentially how aerodynamic the vehicle is. A low number indicates less drag; most modern cars have a Cd of 0.30 – 0.35.
  • CVT – Constantly Variable Transmission. A type of automatic transmission that can vary drive ratios seamlessly using an internal belt and cone arrangement. Great in principal but really annoying in reality!
  • DOHC  – Double Over Head Camshafts. A common type of engine design where two camshafts are located at the top of the cylinder head
  • DRL – Daytime Running Lights – these low energy lights switch on when the engine is turned on.
  • DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox – this is a Volkswagen Group name for its dual-clutch automatic gearbox, as found in the Golf GTi, Bugatti Veyron, Skoda Fabia and many other cars.

The Ultimate Motoring Acronym Guide DSG

  • EBD – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution – this braking system varies the force applied to each wheel depending on conditions.
  • ECU – Electronic Control Unit. Basically an electronic ‘brain’ that controls pretty much everything in your car.
  • EGR – Exhaust Gas Recirculation. A proportion of your engine’s exhaust gasses are redirected back into the car’s engine to help burn fuel more efficiently and significantly reduce emissions.
  • ESP – Electronic Stability Programme – this system improves the stability of the vehicle by reducing skidding by applying the brakes to individual wheels to prevent over- or understeer.
  • EV – Electric Vehicle – this uses an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine.
  • FCV – Fuel Cell Vehicle – a hybrid vehicle that uses a battery and fuel cell (chemical reaction) to power its electric motor. The Toyota Mirai is a fuel cell car.
  • FSBO – For Sale By Owner – the person selling the car is the owner of that car.
  • FSH – Full Service History – this can be checked by looking at the stamps in the car manual or checking the receipts.
  • FWD – Front Wheel Drive – the engine drives power to the front wheels.
  • GVW – Gross Vehicle Weight – the maximum weight your vehicle can operate. Your vehicle should not exceed this weight.
  • HAC – Hill Assist Control – what you wish your car had when you were doing your driving test. This holds your car in place on a gradient, much like a handbrake start without using the handbrake.
  • HEV – Hybrid Electric Vehicle – these combine an internal combustion engine and electric motor. The best-selling HEV is the Toyota Prius.
  • HID – High Intensity Discharge – there’s a cream for that, or maybe it’s a special type of headlight…
  • HUD – Head Up Display – no more looking down and taking your eyes off the road. The HUD projects driver information on to the windscreen so you can continue to look straight ahead.
  • i-VTEC – Intelligent Variable Timing Electronic Control – a valve control system developed by Honda to improve the efficiency of its engines.

The Ultimate Motoring Acronym Guide ivtec

  • IWSTI – Impreza WRX STI – a World Rally legend.
  • kW – Kilowatt – how the power of an engine should be measured. No, honestly, it is the real scientific measurement of power – one horsepower is the same as 0.7457 kW.
  • KM/H – Kilometres Per Hour
  • KWT – Kerb Weight – how much a car weighs without people or luggage on board.
  • LED – Light Emitting Diode – long life and efficient bulbs often used for daytime running lights.
  • LHD – Left Hand Drive – the side of the car the wheel is on when you go on holiday.
  • LSD – Not the stuff the Beatles survived on in the 70’s but a Limited Slip Differential. Commonly found on high performance cars, a limited Slip Differential allows two driving wheels to operate in unison when one breaks traction. It provides improved control and traction in slippery conditions and is essential for doing donuts and drifting like a boss!
  • L/KM – litres per kilometre – usually used to measure fuel consumption e.g. 4.5 litres/100km, which means the car uses 4.5 litres of fuel to travel 100km.
  • LWB – Long Wheel Base. stretched versions of standard cars. Commonly found on  4×4’s, commercial vans and some executive saloons
  • M/T – Manual Transmission – not an automatic.
  • MPG – Miles Per Gallon – the old school way of quoting fuel economy.
  • MPH – Miles Per Hour – how fast we used to go in the good old days.
  • Nm – Newton metre – is a measurement of torque, which is the force you feel when you accelerate. It is how much ‘shove’ the engine has.
  • NOx – Nitrogen Oxides – gases comprised of nitrogen and oxygen that are bad for the environment. These are produced by all internal combustion engined vehicles.
  • ODO – Odometer – the instrument that tells you how far the vehicle has travelled in its lifetime. Make sure the odometer hasn’t been tampered with or clocked when buying a used car.
  • OLO – One Lady Owner – of course there was. Usually accompanied by the word ‘careful’.
  • PAS – Power Assisted Steering
  • POA – Price on Application – seeing this on a classified really is a PITA. Just tell us the price already!
  • PS – Pferdestärke – the metric equivalent of BHP and HP. PS roughly equates to 735.5 watts or 98.6% of BHP. Not confusing at all, is it?
  • PWR – Power to Weight Ratio – if you really want to know how fast a car is, forget HP and check its PWR – the higher the number the better.
  • QBYAM – Q By Aston Martin – is Aston’s personalisation service. Want your car to match your shoes or suit? Q can make that dream a reality. Nothing to do with 007.
  • RHD – Right Hand Drive – the side of the car our steering wheels are placed – just in case you had forgotten.
  • RPM – Revolutions Per Minute – how quickly the engine spins. No, not the room after a few scoops.
  • RWD – Rear Wheel Drive – the engine sends power to the rear wheels, which makes it a little bit easier to get the car to go sideways, if you are into that sort of thing.
  • SAT-NAV – Satellite Navigation – prevents you getting lost and arguing with your partner!
  • SUV – Sport Utility Vehicle – the ‘sport’ refers to the game of avoiding the dangerously parked SUVs outside schools and the local shops.
  • TDI – Turbo Diesel Injection – Probably the most common type of engine on the road today. Bonus points for you if you have a red ‘i’!

The Ultimate Motoring Acronym Guide

  • TPMS – Tyre Pressure Monitoring System – this system does exactly as the name suggests.
  • TWD – Two Wheel Drive – two wheels are powered by the engine. Can be FWD or RWD.
  • ULEV – Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle – driven by ultra smug people.
  • USB – Universal Serial Bus – the things that there are never enough of in cars. Seriously!
  • VIN – Vehicle Identification Number – a unique code used to identify vehicles, which can be found in different locations in different makes and model.
  • VRC – Vehicle Registration Certificate – an important document that all cars first registered after 1 January 1993 must have. It is the proof of registration of a vehicle.
  • ZEV – Zero Emission Vehicle – a vehicle that emits no exhaust pollutants. A so-called ‘green car’.

This blog was provided to us by our partners over at MicksGarage.com

MicksGarage is one of the UK & Ireland’s largest car parts and accessories online retailers, and pride themselves in being car part experts. With their customer service team collectively having over 100 years of experience in the automotive sector, MicksGarage can cater for all types of motoring consumers. With over 5.6 million car parts and accessories listed online, they’ll be the right part or tool for everyone

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