Ever listened to your mechanic or panel beater and thought they must be speaking a different language? We are here to help.

Continuing our dictionary of automotive terms, part 2 of our handy guide takes you through letters G – Z.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

  • A network of satellites that communicate with devices to give accurate location data. This can be installed into the dashboard computer, mounted in portable devices or utilised off a mobile phone. See: Sat Nav/Satellite Navigation

Horsepower (hp)

  • A unit for measuring engine output that is comparable with the drawing power of a horse. See: Kilowatts

Head Up Display (HUD)

  • Any system that allows information to be displayed to the driver without moving their sight from the road ahead.


  • Technology that shares the effort of moving the vehicle between battery powered motors and liquid fuel powered motors.

Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC)

  • The evolution of cruise control, this will monitor distances between vehicles before and aft of the car. The system then slows the set speed to avoid collisions.

Kilometres Per Hour (km/h)

  • A measurement of speed that indicates how far the vehicle will travel if maintaining speed for an hour. A great game for kids on long trips is figuring out how long until the next town.

Kilowatts (kW)

  • A measurement of engine output based on the metric system. One kilowatt is worth about 1.34 horsepower. We never said they made sense.

Labour Description

  • On a mechanic’s invoice, this section describes the work done, parts used and any notes for future maintenance.

Labour Rate

  • The cost of one hour of work by one mechanic on your vehicle.

Labour Time

  • Listed as the time spent working on your vehicle. Will be multiplied by the labour rate to establish the fee.

Miscellaneous Charges

  • Charges that are to cover the costs of the disposal, management or environmentally friendly recycling of consumable parts. Most common is motor oil disposal.


  • The increasing numbers found on the dashboard. This indicates the distance travelled by your vehicle since commissioning.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

  • A label used to indicate the authenticity of a motor vehicle part. OEM parts are supplied by the manufacturer and are the same or better than the original parts the vehicle shipped with.

Power Steering

  • A system of hydraulics that aid in steering.


  • The mechanism in the seatbelt that stops the seatbelt from gaining slack. This is to prevent a passenger being flung from their seat during a collision, not just to annoy you when you sit forward too fast.

Rack-and-Pinion Steering

  • A mechanical steering system that turns the front wheels. A shaft connecting to the steering wheel ends with a round gear (pinion), that gear then moves the rack left or right to turn the front wheels.


  • The cooling system in your vehicle. Filled with special radiator fluid called coolant, this feeds coolant into the engine, absorbs heat, then passes the hot coolant through the fine fins of the radiator grill to cool down.

Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)

  • Commonly associated with sports cars, the rear wheels apply engine power to the road. This allows the front tyres to use all available grip in turning the vehicle.

Sat Nav/Satellite Navigation

  • The computer system that communicates with the GPS satellites. See: Global positioning system.

Stability Control

  • A computer system that acts to maintain traction (grip between tyres and the road surface) during loose, wet, or emergency conditions. The computer will regulate throttle, apply brakes or in some cases stiffen suspension to maintain driver control. Can be called ESC (electronic) or DSC (Dynamic)

Supplementary Restraint System (SRS)

  • More commonly known as airbags, these are pillows that are deployed by explosives to inflate in the event of a collision.


  • Springs that push your wheels into contact with the ground. Soft suspension is likely to be more comfortable to drive, while hard suspension can be found in sports cars and may result in a bumpy trip.


  • The power to twist. This is produced by the engine at lower engine speeds and controls the ability of a car to notice (low torque) or not notice (high torque) loads.

Traction Control

  • A computer system that maximises acceleration by ensuring no wheel spins. The bane of many teenagers.

Turbo Charger

  • A device that forces more air into the engine for combustion (a good thing). This increases power and can improve fuel efficiency. Traditionally found on sports vehicles, is becoming more and more common on smaller cars to give you more bang for your buck.

Two Wheel Drive (2WD)

  • The most common drive style in a car where engine power is only applied to two wheels. Referring to either front wheel drive or rear wheel drive.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

  • The number etched into a plate on the chassis of your car. Found under the hood, this number can be used to check the financial history of a car, or by the police to find stolen vehicles.

Do you want the most professional and specialised service for automotive smash repairs? Call Peter Wilkinson & Co. today to get your vehicle as good as new.

Website perfected by