Dictionary / Glossary of Automotive Terms

We have put together a glossary of automotive terms to help you cut through some of the technical words found in the automotive industry.

This section is in Alphabetical order, so use the menu's to find your way through.

A A A A A A A A

A arm

See also Wishbone

A suspension linkage formed in the shape of an A or V found commonly on the front suspension.

The sides of the two legs of the A-arm are connected to the chassis by rubber bushings and the peak of the A-arm is attached to the wheel assembly.

In this way, the wheel can freely move up and down.

Sometimes there is an upper A-arm, a lower A-arm, or both upper and lower A-arms.

A arm

Something which converts the dynamic energy of motion into potential energy (e.g., of a spring) such as in a shock absorber.

See

air shock absorber

adjustable shock absorbers

damper

direct-acting shock absorber

double-tube shock absorber

friction shock absorber

gas shock absorber

impact absorber

lever-type shock absorber

shock absorber

single-tube shock absorber

telescopic shock absorber

uV absorber

Something which converts the dynamic energy of motion into potential energy (e.g., of a spring) such as in a shock absorber.

See

air shock absorber

adjustable shock absorbers

damper

direct-acting shock absorber

double-tube shock absorber

friction shock absorber

gas shock absorber

lever-type shock absorber

shock absorber

single-tube shock absorber

telescopic shock absorber

Shock absorber damper

A.B.S.

Abbreviation for Anti-lock Brake System.

The Abbreviation ABS comes from the German Anti Blockier System.

A computer, sensors, and solenoid valves work together to sense wheel speed in order to modulate braking force if wheels lockup during braking.

ABS can help the driver retain control of the vehicle during heavy braking on slippery roads.

It works on the principle of braking a wheel until it just begins to skid (this is the point where braking efficiency would drop off dramatically) and then releasing the brake pressure and re-applying the brakes.

Wheel speed sensors identify the skid point and trigger a release in brake pressure.

The cycle is repeated many times a second.

The driver will feel a rapid pulsing at the brake pedal and hear a chattering noise as ABS is applied

ABS system

A.B.S. Warning Light

Indicator lamp mounted in the instrument cluster. It illuminates when there is a problem in the anti-lock brake system. It will also illuminate momentarily when starting the vehicle to indicate that the lamp is functioning.

ABS Relay Valve

A.B.S.

Abbreviation for Anti-lock Brake System.

The Abbreviation ABS comes from the German Anti Blockier System.

A computer, sensors, and solenoid valves work together to sense wheel speed in order to modulate braking force if wheels lockup during braking.

ABS can help the driver retain control of the vehicle during heavy braking on slippery roads.

It works on the principle of braking a wheel until it just begins to skid (this is the point where braking efficiency would drop off dramatically) and then releasing the brake pressure and re-applying the brakes.

Wheel speed sensors identify the skid point and trigger a release in brake pressure.

The cycle is repeated many times a second.

The driver will feel a rapid pulsing at the brake pedal and hear a chattering noise as ABS is applied

ABS warning light

A.B.S.

Abbreviation for Anti-lock Brake System.

The Abbreviation ABS comes from the German Anti Blockier System.

A computer, sensors, and solenoid valves work together to sense wheel speed in order to modulate braking force if wheels lockup during braking.

ABS can help the driver retain control of the vehicle during heavy braking on slippery roads.

It works on the principle of braking a wheel until it just begins to skid (this is the point where braking efficiency would drop off dramatically) and then releasing the brake pressure and re-applying the brakes.

Wheel speed sensors identify the skid point and trigger a release in brake pressure.

The cycle is repeated many times a second.

The driver will feel a rapid pulsing at the brake pedal and hear a chattering noise as ABS is applied

ASR warning light

A.B.S.

Abbreviation for Anti-lock Brake System.

The Abbreviation ABS comes from the German Anti Blockier System.

A computer, sensors, and solenoid valves work together to sense wheel speed in order to modulate braking force if wheels lockup during braking.

ABS can help the driver retain control of the vehicle during heavy braking on slippery roads.

It works on the principle of braking a wheel until it just begins to skid (this is the point where braking efficiency would drop off dramatically) and then releasing the brake pressure and re-applying the brakes.

Wheel speed sensors identify the skid point and trigger a release in brake pressure.

The cycle is repeated many times a second.

The driver will feel a rapid pulsing at the brake pedal and hear a chattering noise as ABS is applied

gas pedal

Accelerator interlock

See also: Anti Gas

A connection between the gas pedal and the automatic transmission

Accumulator

See also: fuel accumulator, hydraulic accumulator, Pressure accumulator

A storage battery for an electric car.

A part of a hydraulic system filled with nitrogen gas and used to store high pressure fluid to provide pressure assistance for system operation.

A pressurized container for an automatic leveling suspension system.

A part of the hydraulic system which is charged by the fluid pump, absorbs fluctuating fluid delivery, stores fluid at pressure, and can provide a rapid flow of fluid under pressure.

A device in the fuel line between the pump and filter that keep up the fuel pressure when the fuel pump is off thus preventing vapor lock and excessive fuel pump noise in having to build up pressure when needed

A vessel that stores hydraulic fluid under pressure.

A storage tank which receives liquid refrigerant from the evaporator and prevents it from flowing into the suction line before vaporizing.

A refrigerant storage device used on General Motors and Ford systems that receives vapor and liquid refrigerant from the evaporator.

The accumulator, which contains desiccant, performs a function similar to that of a receiver-drier it separates liquid from the vapor, retains the liquid and releases the vapor to the compressor.

Always located on the low side of the system.

Acid

See: Battery Acid

Ackermann angle / steering

The Ackermann steering setup allows all wheels to rotate around a common turning point (CTP). To obtain this effect, the inside steered wheel must turn through a greater angle than the outside steered wheel, known as Toe Out On Turns (TOOT)

The Ackermann principle provides the required angular movement by inclining the track arm inwards, to the extent that theoretical lines drawn between the king pins (or steering axis), through the track rod ball joints, would meet in the centre of the rear axle when the wheels are in the straight ahead position.

Actuator

A device which controls or operates another device.

A regulating valve which converts a form of energy into mechanical motion to open or close the valve seats

A device which responds to an output signal from a computer.

The portion of a regulating valve which converts mechanical fluid, thermal energy, or electrical energy into mechanical motion to open or close the valve seats

An electrical mechanism for moving or controlling something indirectly instead of by hand, such as a door lock. The output device that the PCM controls such as solenoids, relays, fuel injectors and stepper motors.

See

Brake Actuator

Electrohydraulic Actuator

Feedback Carburetor Actuator

Hydraulic Actuator

Idle Speed Actuator

Spring Type Brake Actuator

A device which controls or operates another device.

A regulating valve which converts a form of energy into mechanical motion to open or close the valve seats

A device which responds to an output signal from a computer.

The portion of a regulating valve which converts mechanical fluid, thermal energy, or electrical energy into mechanical motion to open or close the valve seats

An electrical mechanism for moving or controlling something indirectly instead of by hand, such as a door lock. The output device that the PCM controls such as solenoids, relays, fuel injectors and stepper motors.

See

Brake Actuator

Electrohydraulic Actuator

Feedback Carburetor Actuator

Hydraulic Actuator

Idle Speed Actuator

Spring Type Brake Actuator

AdBlue

AdBlue is the registered trademark for AUS32, or Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5% that is used with the Selective Catalytic Reduction system (SCR) to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen from the exhaust of UK diesel vehicles.

Adjustable shock absorber

Shocks with adjustable bounce and rebound characteristics can be stiffened to compensate for wear or to fine tune a suspension for a particular application such as rough roads, heavy loads, or racing.

Manual types (especially on motorcycles) require that you physically make the adjustment from one level to another by rotating securing rings.

Automatic types are controlled by a computer as it senses particular changes in road condition.

Adjustable shock absorber

Adjusting shim

A thin washer or plate which reduces or increases the clearance between two components (depending upon where they are placed). While some valves are adjusted by screws on the rocker arm, others are set by inserting a shim to make the same adjustment.

Aeration

Act of combining substance with air

A foaming of a liquid because air has been introduced into the fluid.

When it occurs in certain liquids, it decreases the efficiency of the liquid.

Air-assisted hydraulic brake system (Air Over Hydraulic)

A hydraulic-type brake system actuated by an air over hydraulic power unit.

Airbag

A device which is part of the passive safety system. In the event of a collision, Sensors will cause the airbag to be deployed so that your head will be pillowed by the bag instead of hitting the dash or windshield.

Air Brakes

A system of braking which is usually found on large vehicles in which compressed air pushes against a brake piston or diaphragm in order to apply the mechanical brakes to stop or slow the vehicle.

Air Dryer

A device for removing the moisture from air as it enters a vehicles air braking system.

Air Filter / Cleaner

A device for removing impurities from the air which enters the combustion chamber.