Don’t Know your Crankshaft from your Jacking points? Read our Expert’s Jargon-Buster (Part 2)

Don't Know your Crankshaft from your Jacking points? Read our Expert's Jargon-Buster (Part 2)

According to Toyota, a single car has about 30,000 parts so it’s no wonder the motor trade and industry is littered with confusing terminology and jargon.

We’re trying to put this right in our ‘Ask the expert…’ series – you can find part one here – so here is our second instalment, featuring everything from intercooler to xenon…


If a car has a turbocharger or a supercharger this compresses hot gas before it enters the engine, and intercooler cools this gas, increasing its density and with it, the engine’s power.


While some child seats are fixed in place by seat belts, ISOFIX seats are attached to fixed anchor points within the car.

Jacking points

These are specific points on the underside of a car designed to fit the car’s jack and allow one corner of the car to be lifted clear of the ground. The location can be found in your owner’s manual and be sure to never put the jack anywhere else.

Limited Slip Differential

If a wheel is off the ground or on a slippery surface, a limited slip differential will stop the power being allocated to this wheel and transmit it to wheels that have grip. A standard differential will allocate 100% of the power to the wheel with least resistance – pretty useless if you get stuck in the mud.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)

A cleaner burning and more environmentally type of vehicle fuel that is a mixture of propane and butane and a bi-product of oil refinement. It delivers around 15% fewer miles-per-gallon (mpg) than diesel or petrol but relaxed UK duty means it’s around half the price.

Miles-per-gallon (MPG)

Simply the number of miles a vehicle can travel per gallon (4.55 litres) of fuel consumed. The higher this figure, the more fuel efficient your car.

Power steering

Steering that is helped along by electric or hydraulic motors to make turning the wheel and steering the car easier, especially at low speeds.


If a car’s registration plate begins with a Q this means it’s either a kit car, built with a load of off-the-shelf parts, or it wasn’t originally registered in the UK and its year of manufacture wasn’t known when it was registered.

Regenerative braking

A system used by most electric vehicles that take some of the power created when braking and uses it to help keep the battery charged.


A way to deliver more power by way of a compressor that is mechanically driven by the engine.


A vehicle is attached to its wheels by way of a series of springs, links, dampers and wishbones, all of which combine to give it specific ride and handling characteristics, and determine how it reacts to bumps and uneven roads.

Traction control

An electronic system that reduces wheel spin by either pumping the brakes or cutting engine power.


This is a basic measure of acceleration as it determines how quickly power can be transferred to the wheels.


This just refers to the type of gearbox a vehicle has, usually manual or automatic although some cars do have semi-automatic gears.


Similar to a supercharger, this delivers more power to the engine by getting more air into the cylinders by compressing it and blowing it in. The air is compressed by a turbine that gets spun by engine exhaust gases.


These open and close around the engine’s combustion chamber to allow the fuel mixture in and the exhaust gases out – think like the valves in heart as blood is pumped around.


This is just the distance between the middle of the front and rear wheels.


High-powered headlight bulbs that have increased intensity and brightness.

Have we missed anything out? Let us know and we’ll get the definition for you…


Now that you’re more knowledgeable about the car industry is it time for an upgrade on your vehicle? Find out how much your car could be worth with our online car valuation calculator.




Married with 2 large (and loopy) labradoodle dogs and a small cocker spaniel, I spend most of my time walking them to tire them out! Have a passion for Cars and F1, which fits excellently with my job here at We Buy Any Car

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