I was doing a bit of snooping around and found a great resource for car/truck related information... AAA of Michigan (I'm sure they have them for every state...). Please visit the website if you want more information on car care.

http://http://www.autoclubgroup.com/...an/welcome.asp


Automotive Terms

Aftermarket: Part not made by the original manufacturer.

All-wheel drive (AWD):Permanent, full-time four-wheel drive system designed for improved traction on slippery surfaces and off-road use. The main difference between AWD and 4WD systems is that AWD does not use a transfer case and cannot be disengaged by the driver.

Antifreeze (coolant): The liquid located in the cooling system and engine that is used to dissipate heat. Engine coolant prevents freeze-up in winter, reduces the engine temperature in the summer, and protects the cooling system from rust and corrosion year round.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS): System that prevents wheel lock-up by automatically regulating the brakes. ABS can decrease braking distances, prevent skidding and allow more control during sudden stops.

Backfire: Gunshot-like sound from the engine or tailpipe.

Balancing: By adding small amounts of lead weights to the wheel, it is possible to equal out any unevenly distributed weight which may be present in the tire or wheel. Proper balance helps eliminate unwanted wheel and tire vibrations, and uneven wear caused by an out-of-balanced tire and wheel condition.

Battery acid (electrolyte): The fluid in most automotive batteries. Electrolyte is a solution of sulfuric acid and water.

Brake fluid: The liquid in the brake system that acts as a hydraulic fluid. As you step on the brake pedal, the fluid is forced through the brake system and initiates the braking components.

Battery hold-down: A fastening device used to secure the battery in place. The two most common types are the wedge type (which fastens near the bottom of the battery), and a strap or bracket type (which goes across the top of the battery to hold it firmly in place).

Bottoming: Car scrapes the ground.

Brake drag: Brakes do not completely release.

Brake fade: Brakes are slow to respond.

Brake master cylinder (master cylinder): Master cylinders are used on braking systems to turn the mechanical power -- provided when you step on the brake pedal -- into the hydraulic power that is needed to apply the brakes and slow or stop the vehicle. The brake master cylinder is where the brake fluid reservoir is located on most vehicles. The reservoir stores the fluid until it is needed.

Bucking: Engine stalls, kicks in, and the car lurches.

CCA (cold cranking amps): A rating that indicates the amount of power that a battery can provide for engine cranking in cold-start conditions.

Chassis: Undercarriage of a vehicle that carries all suspension and powertrain components.

Coolant (antifreeze): The liquid located in the cooling system and engine used to dissipate heat. Engine coolant prevents freeze-up in winter, reduces the engine temperature in the summer, and protects the cooling system from rust and corrosion year round.

Coolant recovery reservoir: A tank that stores coolant for when the cooling system either needs coolant (coolant is then sucked into the cooling systems radiator) or when the system needs to expel excess coolant. The coolant reservoir can then store that coolant for future system requirements.

Compression ratio: Relationship between the cylinder volume when the piston is at the top of the stroke and the volume when it is at the bottom of the stroke. For instance, a compression ratio of 9:1 means the piston has compressed the air/fuel mixture into a space that is nine times smaller than it would normally utilize.

Control arms: Pivoting suspension components mounted between the frame (or uni-body) and the wheels.

Crank: If the car "will not crank" you hear only a clicking sound when you turn the key in the ignition.

Crankcase: The single largest section of engine containing the crankshaft in an oil-tight housing.

Curb weight: The weight of a vehicle measured with no passengers or loads, and carrying a full tank of fuel.

Cuts out: When an engine "cuts out" it loses power or misfires.

Detonation: Rapid, rattling combustion, also called knocking.

Dieseling: Engine runs when you turn off the car because fuel continues to burn.

Differential: Gear system that allows one wheel to rotate faster than the other while providing equal power to each wheel, as necessary, when turning or cornering. It is located in the rear axle (transaxle) of a front-wheel drive vehicle, or the transaxle of a rear engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle.

Differential lube (gear oil): A heavy-duty lubricant designed specifically to handle the requirements of the internal gear and mechanisms. It is located within the differential case.

Dipstick: The device used to measure the level of a fluid (usually oil or transmission fluid). It is commonly known as an "oil dipstick" or "transmission dipstick," but also can be found in power steering reservoirs and other fluid reservoirs.

Disc brake: Brake design in which brake pads press against a disc (commonly known as a brake rotor) to slow or stop the vehicle.

DOHC (Dual overhead camshafts): An engine with two camshafts located in the upper portion of the cylinder head.

Drive shaft: Shaft coupled to the transmission that supplies power to the drive wheels.

Electrolyte (battery acid): The fluid in most automotive batteries. Electrolyte is a solution of sulfuric acid and water.

Electronic fuel injection (EFI): A fuel delivery system in which nozzles (injectors) spray fuel into the intake manifold or cylinders. This allows for precise fuel control and better fuel efficiency than a carburetor system.

Engine block: The lower portion of the engine. An enclosed casting which contains the cylinders, pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft.

Fast idle: Engine runs fast while vehicle is stopped.

Flooding: Excess fuel in the cylinders makes starting difficult or impossible.

Four-wheel drive (4WD or 4X4): Drive system that powers all four wheels. It provides better traction during adverse road conditions and for off-road use.

Front-wheel drive: Drive system that provides power to the front wheels of the vehicle. Front-wheel drive systems incorporate a differential into a transmission, creating what is called a transaxle. A transaxle can be automatic or manual shift.

Fuel injection (electronic fuel injection or EFI): A fuel delivery system in which nozzles (injectors) spray fuel into the intake manifold or cylinders. This allows for precise fuel control and better fuel efficiency than a carburetor system.

Gear oil (differential lube): A heavy-duty lubricant designed specifically to handle the requirements of the internal gear and mechanisms. It is located within the differential case.

Grab: Brakes "grab" when the car stops even when applying light pressure on the brake pedal.

Group number: A designated number identifying the battery height, terminal design, length, width and overall physical description of the battery.

Hesitation: Momentary loss of power on acceleration.

Horsepower: The measurement of the engine’s ability to produce energy.

Intermittent: A problem that comes and goes with no obvious pattern.

Knocking: Rapid, rattling combustion, also called detonation.

Master cylinder (brake master cylinder): Master cylinders are used on braking systems to turn the mechanical power that is provided when you step on the brake pedal into the powerful hydraulic power that is needed to apply the brakes and slow or stop the vehicle. The brake master cylinder is where the brake fluid reservoir is located on most vehicles. The reservoir stores the fluid until it is needed.

Misfire (Miss): Engine runs rough or unsteady at idle or speed.

Multi-point injection: A fuel delivery system that utilizes a fuel injector for each cylinder.

PCV (Positive crankcase ventilation): If the PCV valve is clogged, your car will run rough or stall.

Play: Degree of "looseness" in steering wheel, delay between turning the steering wheel and the wheels turning.

Port fuel injection: A fuel delivery system that utilizes a fuel injector for each cylinder.

Power loss: Engine runs at reduced speed or requires more throttle to maintain constant speed.

Pull: Vehicle moves to one side when braking.

Ride: The driver’s comfort level while driving. Factors that determine a vehicle’s ride include the suspension, steering and braking characteristics.

RPM (Revolutions per minute): The number of times an object, such as a tire, completely rotates in the time frame of one minute.

Rough idle: When vehicle stops, engine vibrates or shakes.

Rust-proofing: A protective coating is applied to vulnerable areas on your vehicle (usually the under-carriage and bottom of the vehicle).

Shimmy: Side-to-side motion that makes tires and steering wheel shake.

Shock absorber: A suspension component designed to dampen spring oscillation. It can be either gas- or oil-filled, depending on make and model of vehicle.

Sidewall: The most visible part of the tire when viewing the vehicle from either side. The sidewall contains information about the tire size, grade, and ratings as well as the manufacturer’s name.

Sluggish: Vehicle does not accelerate smoothly or with authority.

SOHC (Single overhead camshaft): An engine with one camshaft located in the upper portion of the cylinder head.

Specific gravity: This term is usually used in connection with the testing of the battery’s electrolyte. A specific gravity test is used to determine the battery’s state of charge. On sealed "maintenance free" batteries there is usually an indicator on the top of the battery that serves the same function.

Stall: Engine dies.

Strut: Also known as a "MacPherson strut." This suspension component incorporates the dampening ability of a shock absorber with the rebound of a coil spring. It is mounted to the outer portion of the assembly. If no spring is present, it is called a "modified strut."

Stumble: Engine begins to stall but then kicks in.

Surge: Vehicle speeds up and slows down with no acceleration or braking by driver.

Torque: Force produced by the engine.

Transaxle: Used in front-wheel drive and rear-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicles. Transaxles incorporate both a transmission and a differential into a single unit.

Transverse mounted engine: An engine that is mounted from side-to-side, in relation to the vehicle.

Tread: The pattern that is designed into the area of the tire that comes into contact with the road (or other driving surface). These patterns or grooves in the tire provide increased traction.

TSB (Technical service bulletin): an advisory issued by manufacturers that describes performance problems for vehicles of a specific make, model and year.

Under carriage: Supporting structure and framework. Essentially, it is the under-side of the vehicle.

Vacuum: Vacuum is produced by the engine. A suction force is created (similar to your vacuum cleaner) through the vacuum hoses to activate various components in the engine.

Vacuum hose: A hose (usually rubber or hard plastic) that transfers vacuum to various components in the engine.

Wander: Vehicle drifts from side to side while driver steers straight.

Wheel (rim): This is what the tire is mounted on. Wheels can be made of steel or an alloy, such as aluminum.