Motor Repair Language

Many drivers are baffled by the language used by mechanics and this can create problems as items could be included in a repair bill which were either not required, or were not done. Choosing a garage that is recommended by a friend, or that is a member of the Motor Vehicle Repairers Association, can prevent this. Also check that the garage subscribes to the Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair. Never be afraid to ask questions and, if in any doubt, get a second opinion before committing to costly repairs.

It is a good idea to know a bit about your car. Even if you are not a mechanic, buying a repair manual, or joining an internet forum, will help you learn about your car, discover the common faults that can occur with your make of car, and understand what the mechanic is telling you about the repairs to your car.

Common terms used by car mechanics

Air Filter – this stops harmful debris in the air entering the car's engine.

Brake Line – stiff tubing that connects the hydraulic components of the brake system.

Differential – a type of gearbox which divides the torque into two outputs which are able to move at different speeds. A differential is required because wheels need to spin at different speeds, especially when turning.

Exhaust Manifold – refers to a group of passages that channel exhaust gases away from the engine. Gases are collected from multiple cylinders into one pipe.

Flywheel – is important for starting a car and connects to the engine. The flywheel also maintains the inertia of the engine at low revs. A gear ring is attached to the flywheel and is the contact point for the starter motor

Gasket – a type of seal which protects different components of the engine. Can be made of metal or asbestos, depending on where the gasket is used within the engine.

Hydraulic System – fluid is used in modern brake systems to transmit the force on the brake pedal to the discs and stop the car.

Manifold – refers to a collection of pipes used to connect cylinders to an outlet or inlet.

Relay – a switch that automatically opens or closes an electrical circuit.

Camshaft Belt – also called a timing belt, is used in some cars to turn the camshaft that then operates the engine's valves. If this belt breaks, serious internal damage can be done to the engine.

Alternator - works with the car's battery to generate the power required by the electrical systems.