Monday, September 30, 2013

5 Basic Car Terms to Know Before Talking to Your Mechanic

Let me know if this sounds familiar. Saturday has thankfully risen and you’ve made a few plans, packed the car and called to your significant other it’s time to go. Road trips are made for weekends and nothing is going to waylay a long awaited trip south to nowhere. You turn the key and nothing. Again, and still nothing. You wait a minute, aware it has been a week since you’ve sparked the engine into life and try again. The car coughs – once-twice and dies. You’re no mechanic, but you lift the hood anyway, wave the smoke away and peer into its puzzling depths. The interior lights are working, so you don’t suspect the battery; you will have to see a mechanic and book a tow truck. The guy is sweaty, covered in grease and confident in his profession; so self-assured, in fact, you barely understand what he’s saying.

So let me now pose this question, if you don’t understand his explanation, how will you bust through the jargon and decide if the quote is fair? While most mechanics are ethical, qualified professionals, arm yourself with a bit of knowledge before stepping into the garage.

Jargon Buster 1: The Distributor

You can guess what the distributor is by its title. It distributes something to the something, right? Essentially, yes. Common sense will get you a long way in understanding some automotive terms; but more specifically, a distributor supervises and carries the correct measurement of voltage to your car or SUV’s spark plugs, according to a designated order.

Jargon Buster 2: Torque

You might hear car enthusiasts bragging about how much torque (among other things) their four wheel baby puts out; so what is it? Torque is simply a force that compels things to spin or turn. Torque is produced anytime a proportionate amount of pressure is administered, using some kind of wrench. Calculating torque is a basic formula – multiply the force by the distance from the centre.

Jargon Buster 3: Diff

What’s a diff? Diff is a shortened form of differential, a component that divide engine toque two ways; the separate outputs rotate at different speeds. All modern cars have one, though depending on your vehicle of choice, it can be located at the front, central or rear points. Cool extra? Repairing and upgrading the diff is called diff lapping.

Jargon Buster 4: Radiator

Radiator is perhaps the most common term in a tune-up vocabulary, owing to its sensitivity and essential nature. The radiator is the car’s cooling system, circulating through a succession of networks and ventilating through air ducts. It keeps the several types of liquids coursing in lines of your car temperate.

Jargon Buster 5: Oil Filter

The oil filter acts as a buffer for your engine oil, keeping it clean and impurity free. A good mechanic will switch an ageing filter during a routine check-up or repair.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with your fellow readers? Let me know in the comments.

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