A to Z Car Terminology

What you need to know before buying car window tint in Malaysia?
November 3, 2018

We understand you are new to automotive, or cars, you might come across different terms and words that are unfamiliar to you. We put together a list of A to Z Car Terminology. We hope you can use this list of A to Z Car Terminology to help you know more about various words and terms before making a decision to buy any car accessories like body kit, window tint, coating.


ABS – Anti-lock Braking System. 

The Anti-lock Braking System was invented by Bosch to brakes from locking. Why prevent brakes to lock? When brakes lock it causes car to skid.

Air Bags

When car crash happens, air bag is there to prevent serious injuries.

Adaptive Transmission

Automatic transmission changes gear according to engine revs and how hard to press the throttle pedal.


Blind Spot

The area behind and to the side of a car that is hard to see in either the side or rear view mirrors.

Break Assist

Linked to the ABS system, this Mercedes-Benz development recognises a panic-stop situation and automatically applies extra braking force in the event that the driver has not hit the brake pedal hard enough to get the shortest possible stopping distance.

The system that monitors the swiftness of a driver’s brake pedal application and applies additional braking force if it determines a that panic stop is occurring.


The diameter, in inches, of the cylinders in the vehicles engine.



A device used on older internal combustion gasoline engines that is mounted on the engines intake manifold and supplies fuel to the engine.


Continuously Variable Transmission – This is a type of automatic transmission that essentially uses a cone and belt instead of sets of gears to transmit power from the engine to the wheels.

As a result, there are no regular shifts, just a constant and unbroken (“stepless”) progress as the engine maintains constant revs.

Catalytic converter

A canister in the exhaust system, usually situated before the muffler, containing a substance that reacts chemically with the exhaust in order to reduce harmful emissions.



Direct shift gearbox

Also referred to as “DSG,” “SMG,” “sequential manual gearbox” and “automated manual transmission.”

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes use curved shoes that are pushed out into turning drums connected to the wheel hubs.

Descent control

An off-road version of cruise control that uses the ABS and traction control systems to independently manipulate a vehicle’s four brakes, which allows the driver to descend steep and uneven terrain at a walking speed more effectively than the driver can by using a brake pedal that controls all four brakes at once.


Electro-hydraulic Steering

Electronic control of an otherwise normal hydraulic power steering system, enabling more assistance at low speeds where it is needed most, such as parking and city driving, and less at higher speeds where the driver want more feel and self-centering effect.

Electromagnetic Clutch

Electromagnetic clutch – relies on sensors to detect wheelspin on (usually) the rear axle and then electrically engages a clutch to apportion drive to the front axle, providing 4WD.

Electronic Brake-force Distribution (ebd)

An additional feature of more sophisticated ABS braking systems, where an electronic control system measures such parameters as road speed to distribute braking force more effectively.


Fan hub

The mechanical connection between the radiator fan and its point of attachment.


Front-engine front-wheel drive. A vehicle that is propelled solely by its front wheels and whose engine is located forward of its front axle.

Fog lights

A pair of driving lights that provides a wide, low beam in an attempt to undercut fog.


Ground Clearance

Ground clearance – the measurement taken between the lowest central point of the car and the ground.


Gross vehicle weight rating.

Gas/electric hybrid engine

A powertrain that combines an electric motor and a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine.



Headroom – often used as a general term by road testers, however is also refers to a measurement from the seat base to the roof headlining.

Other measurements include shoulder room, the internal width of the car from one internal door panels to the opposite panel, and legroom, taken from the edge of the seat base to either the firewall (front) or to the front seatback (rear) when fully forward.

Hybrid performance

A hybrid engine and electric motors combined ability to do work in terms of horsepower, torque or efficiency.

Heated windshield

A windshield with tiny embedded heating elements that act to resist fogging.


IRS – Independent rear suspension.

Instead of a solid rear axle with a built-in differential, IRS has the wheels connected to the diff by half-shafts so they can move up and down independently without affecting one another.

Inline Engine

An engine configuration in which all the cylinders are arranged in a row.

Almost all four-cylinder engines are inline and Ford’s six-cylinder unit as well, but Holden switched from inline to a V6 (two rows of three cylinders in a V formation) with the VN Commodore many years ago.

Intermittent wipers

A wiper setting that causes the wipers to pause for a driver-selected period between wipes.


Kerb weight

Kerb Weight is the total weight of a vehicle with standard equipment and all necessary operating consumables, including motor oil, coolant and fuel.

Kingpin bushings

Lubricated solid bearings or bushings usually present between the kingpin and steering knuckle.



Li-ion (Lithium-ion) battery is a type of rechargeable battery that offers better performance versus conventional rechargeable batteries such as NiCad (Nickel-Cadmium) and NiMH (nickel-metal hydride). Lithium-ion offers more power and less weight, which offers an extended driving range. However, Li-ion batteries are more fragile and can be damaged by extreme temperatures.

Lip spoiler

A spoiler that is flush-mounted to a vehicles trunk lid or liftgate that allows air to flow over it but not under it (and that is usually installed for aesthetic purposes).


Liquefied petroleum gas. Also referred to as “GPL,” “LP Gas” or “autogas.” A blend primarily of two hydrocarbon gases, propane and butane. Propylene and butylenes can also be present in small concentration. Ethanethiol, a powerful odorant, is also added so that leaks can be detected.


Manual transmission

A transmission that uses a clutch and a shift (gear) selector to change gears.


Miles per gallon.

Manual extending mirrors

A sideview mirror that can be manually moved further away from a vehicle when it is towing an object.




An abbreviation for six chemical compounds produced during high temperature combustion, containing only nitrogen and oxygen atoms, that react with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to create photochemical smog.



Original equipment manufacturer, i.e., the manufacturer of a vehicle.

Oil filter

A cartridge-filled canister placed in an engines lubricating system to strain dirt and abrasive materials out of the oil.


An instrument for recording distance covered.

Usually incorporated within the speedo arc and records kilometres and sometimes tenths of a kilometre.


Parking assist

An electronic system that employs laser, radar or sonar technology to enable a vehicle to park itself, in some cases without driver input.

Parking lights

Sometimes referred to as “daytime running lights.” White lights intended to increase a vehicles visibility to other drivers.

Passenger volume

The total volume of space available for passengers in the front and rear seat(s) of a vehicle.



Radiator core & AC condenser

The part of a vehicles radiator and air conditioning systems made up of small-diameter tubes with a series of thin, heat-conducting fins in between.

Rear area cargo cover

A feature that uses rainfall sensors to engage the wipers and adjust wiper speed accordingly.

Roof spoiler

A spoiler that is mounted from the rearward-facing edge of a vehicles roof to the liftgate just above the rear windshield, or to the upper edge of the rear windshield itself (and that is usually installed for aesthetic purposes).

Spark plug wires

Cables that carry a high-voltage electrical charge from the distributor cap or ignition coils to the spark plugs.


An attachment to a vehicle (or component of its body) originally introduced for the purpose of directing airflow over such device (or the entire vehicle) to decrease lift and increase stability at high speeds, but that is sometimes used on consumer vehicles solely for aesthetic reasons.


Throttle system

The components used to control the volume of air to the engine.

Tie rod ends

Ball and socket parts of the steering linkage that connect the wheel spindles to the rack and pinion or center link.

Timing belt

A “toothed” belt that drives an overhead camshaft or camshafts (and in some vehicles a water pump).



Under seat storage

A storage console located under a vehicles seat.

Unleaded Petrol (ulp)

The fuel that the vast majority of us use daily.

It has an octane rating of 91.

The alternative petrol is the more expensive PULP (premium unleaded petrol), which is 95 or 98 octane and is recommended for higher-performance engines.


It occurs when the front tyres lose traction in a corner, so the car has a tendency to want to steer straight ahead, causing it to run wider than where you are steering.

You counter it instinctively by simply backing off the accelerator, so most cars are designed to understeer at least slightly.

The opposite is oversteer, which is when the rear wheels slide out – this can be fun, but requires skilled driving to control.


V type engine

This is like two engines together side-by-side in a V shape, joined at the bottom with a common crankshaft.

For example, a V6 is just two three-cylinder engines joined together, but is much more compact than a straight-six (also called an inline engine).

The V is measured in degrees – for example, the usual angle for a V8 is 90 degrees.

Vanity mirrors

Mirrors commonly placed on the underside of a vehicles sun visors intended to be used for personal grooming.


W type engine

An unusual type of engine made by Volkswagen Group in which two narrow-angle V-type engines are joined together with a common crankshaft.

VW’s W12 is two V6 engines placed side-by-side and joined at the bottom.

In this way they get even more cylinders into a very compact engine.

VW also had a W8 engine that was once fitted to the Passat and its W16 is fitted to the world’s fastest car, the Bugatti Veyron.

Wheel alignment

The adjustment of various components to meet predetermined specifications for camber, caster, toe and ride height.

Water Cooled Engine

Most engines use water to keep them cool (the notable exceptions being the air-cooled VW Beetle and early Porsches).

Water-cooled engines use radiators to cool the water, which is pumped through the engine block and cylinder heads.

Here you go. We hope you can refer to this list in future if you do not understand any terms or words.