Glossary of terms and acronyms

Glossary of Terms A

  • A/C or Air Con - Air Conditioning
  • ABC - Active Body Control - keeps the car as level and stable as possible in all driving conditions
  • ABI - Association of British Insurers
  • ABS - Anti-locking Braking System - means you can brake and steer at the same time without the wheels locking up
  • APR - Annual Percentage Rate - the cost of the loan you take out on your car
  • ASU - Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance
  • AUTO - Automatic
  • AWD - All Wheel Drive
  • A/Wheels - Alloy wheels

Glossary of Terms B

  • BHP - Brake Horse Power - a unit of measurement of the engine's power. 1 horsepower = 745.7 watts. A Formula One car operates about 700hp and a Mini S has about 165hp, but also note that an F1 car weighs less than a mini!
  • BIOFUEL - Biofuels include corn-based ethanol and rapeseed-oil biodiesel
  • BIODIESEL - Fuel recycled from organic oils and fats
  • BIOETHANOL - A mixture of petrol and ethanol

Glossary of Terms C

  • C/LOCKING - Central Locking
  • CAT - Catalytic Converter
  • CATI (2) - Alarm (Immobiliser)
  • C/CONTROL - Cruise control
  • CLIM/CONT - Climate Control
  • CNG - Compressed Natural Gas
  • CO2 - A waste product produced by running your car. How much CO2 a car produces determines the tax band it sits in, so the less polluting your car is the less tax you pay
  • COUPE - A two door vehicle usually with 4 seats (definition varies between manufacturer)
  • CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission
  • CLOCKING - Turning back the odometer reading that shows how many miles the car has done, making it seem like it had covered fewer miles, affecting the car's value
  • CONTRACT HIRE - Rather than buy the car you rent the car over a set period
  • CYLINDERS - A cylinder is the principal working part of an internal combustion engine, the space in which a piston travels. Cylinders are usually arranged side by side in a bank.

Glossary of Terms D

  • DEPRECIATION - It's a sad fact that your shiny new car will be worth less the moment you drive it for the first time, that's depreciation. If you're buying a used car it's worth researching which cars depreciate the least, since these are better value. Even those cars which depreciate the least will lose around 50% of their value after 3 years
  • DERV - Diesel Engined Road Vehicle
  • DI - Diesel Injection
  • DOHC - Double Overhead Camshaft
  • DOWN PAYMENT (DEPOSIT) - The money you pay upfront for a car to reduce your monthly payments
  • DSC - Dynamic Stability Control
  • DSG - Direct Shift Gearbox
  • DVLA - Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. You need to let this agency know any changes of vehicle ownership, including your address.

Glossary of Terms E

  • EBD - Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. this spreads brake pressure evenly between the wheels, which reduces the chance of skid
  • ECU - Electronic Control Unit
  • E/F/W - Electric Front Windows
  • E/M - Electric Mirror
  • E/S/R - Electric Sunroof
  • E/SEATS - Electric Seats
  • ESP - Electronic Stability Program. Detects differences in the driver's actions and the response of the car, auto correcting if there's a difference, so it improves vehicle stability and reduces over or understeer, especially on icy or low grip surfaces
  • ESTATE - A five door vehicle that provides a much larger boot space due to the roofline being extended. Usually an estate car has easily folding rear seats to create even greater load capacity. Some manufacturers use the names station wagon or tourer to describe the same body shape
  • EURO NCAP - European New Car Assessment Program. An independent scheme which assesses the safety features of each new car, rating each from 1 to 5, 5 being the safest
  • E/W - Electric Windows

Glossary of Terms F

  • F/F - Factory Fitted
  • F/F/S/R - Factory Fitted Sunroof
  • FDSH - Full dealer service history
  • FLA - Finance & Leasing Association
  • FSH - Full Service History
  • FWD - Front Wheel Drive

Glossary of Terms G

  • GPS - Global Positioning System. A navigation aid

Glossary of Terms H

  • H/L - Head Light
  • HP - Hire Purchase - financing arrangment
  • H/R/W - Heated Rear Window
  • H/SEATS - Heated Seats
  • H/TOP - Hard Top
  • HATCHBACK - A three or five door vehicle. The boot is counted as a door since it opens into, and provides access to, the main interior space of the car (unlike a saloon where the boot is completely enclosed)
  • HGV - Heavy Goods Vehicle
  • HYBRID - A vehicle that has an electric motor and an engine. at the moment these cars are the most environmentally friendly and fuel efficient available

Glossary of Terms I, J, K

  • INDEPENDENT SUSPENSION - Each wheel on the vehicle is sprung separately so when any one wheel goes over a bump it doesn't affect the whole vehicle
  • IMMOB - Engine immobiliser
  • JAG - Jaguar; a British luxury car manufacturer, headquartered in Whitley, Coventry, England. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Indian company Tata Motors Ltd., it is operated as part of the Jaguar Land Rover business
  • KIT CAR - A car built from a collection of parts

Glossary of Terms L

  • LEASE - A form of finance where you take the car for a predetermined period of time and make payments based on the difference between the retail price and the value of the car at the end of the term, at the end of which you return the car to the leasing company
  • LHD - Left Hand Drive
  • LP - Lease Purchase - financing arrangment
  • LPG - Liquid Petroleum Gas
  • LWB - Long Wheel Base

Glossary of Terms M

  • MAN - Manual
  • MET - Metallic - refers to a paint finish. A metallic paint finish is much more common
  • MOT - Ministry Of Transport (Roadworthiness certificate). Every car over 3 years old has to pass an annual test to get a roadworthy certificate
  • MPG - Miles Per Gallon. The number of miles the car can run on a gallon of fuel. Manufacturers tend to give these figures based on simulated 'urban' and 'motorway' ideal driving conditions, so they're not exact but they give you an idea of how efficient the vehicle is, the higher the MPG number the more miles you'll get to the gallon
  • MPH - Miles Per Hour
  • MPI - Multi Point Injection
  • MPV - Multi Purpose Vehicle

Glossary of Terms N

  • New Number Plates - From 2010, the year identifying number will continue to use the last two digits of the year for cars registered in March, with 50 added to that number for those cars registered in September. So, for example a new car bought in March 2010 would have the licence plate registration number MC10 UKC, etc:
    2010March 10 and September 60
    201111 and 61
    201212 and 62
    201313 and 63
    201414 and 64
    201515 and 65, etc.

Glossary of Terms O

  • O/D - Over Drive
  • OHC - Overhead Camshaft
  • O.I.R.O - Offers in the region of
  • ONO - Or nearest offer

Glossary of Terms P

  • P/X - Part Exchange
  • PAS - Power Assisted Steering
  • PCP - Personal Contract Purchase. The vehicle is leased over a set period of time with a milage limit and the option to buy or return the vehicle at the end of the term. These are rarely offered at present.

Glossary of Terms Q

  • Q-Reg - A 'Q' number is a clear indicator to a prospective purchaser that the age or identity of a vehicle is unknown. The vehicle may be rebuilt from parts, some or all of which may not be new. This also applies to vehicles imported without supporting evidence to identify the vehicles age.

Glossary of Terms R

  • R/CASS - Radio Cassette
  • R/H/R - Rear Head Restraints
  • R/W/W - Rear Wash Wipe
  • RESIDUAL VALUE - What a vehicle is worth after it has depreciated in value
  • RFL - Road Fund Licence - also known as car tax or Vehicle Excise Duty (DVLA)
  • RHD - Right Hand Drive
  • RPM - Revolutions per minute

Glossary of Terms S

  • S/R - Sunroof
  • S/TOP - Soft Top
  • SIP - Side Impact Protection
  • SOHC - Single overhead camshaft
  • STEERING RATIO - How far you have to turn the steering wheel compared to how far the wheels actually turn
  • SUV - Sports Utility Vehicle
  • SWB - Short Wheel Base

Glossary of Terms T

  • T & T - Taxed & tested (MOT)
  • T/GLASS - Tinted Glass
  • TCS - Traction Control System
  • TD - Turbo Diesel
  • TORQUE - The amount of turning force an engine can generate. More torque means faster acceleration and more pulling power
  • TURNING CIRCLE - The radius of the smallest turn that the vehicle is capable of making.

Glossary of Terms U, V, W

  • V5 - Vehicle Registration Document - Log Book. The log book is essential to register the vehicle so you shouldn't buy a vehicle that doesn't have one
  • VCA - Vehicle Certification Agency
  • VED - Vehicle Excise Duty aka Road Tax or Road Fund licence - duty paid to legally allow your car to travel UK roads
  • VIN - Vehicle Identification Number. This is the information on where and when the car was built. The VIN must match the number in the V5 (log book)
  • VRM - Vehicle Registration Mark
  • VTS - Vehicle Tracking System
  • VVC - Variable Valve Control
  • VVT - Variable Valve Timing

Glossary of Terms X, Y, Z

  • ZEV - Zero Emissions Vehicle. A vehicle that produces no harmful emissions when it runs, e.g. an electric car

Glossary of Terms NUMBERS

  • 16V - 16 Valves - the more valves, the more air and exhaust flow which equates to more power
  • 4WD - 4 Wheel Drive - power is supplied to the front and rear axles at the same time
  • 4WS - 4 Wheel Steering
  • 3DR - 3 door - 2 doors and a boot
  • 5DR - 5 door - 4 doors and a boot
  • 5SPD - 5 Speed gearbox (does not include reverse)
  • 6SPD - 6 Speed gearbox