From the moment you start driving, you start to realize quickly that cars have a unique language all their own. From AWD (All-Wheel Drive) to EVs (Electric Vehicles), you’ve likely heard a variety of terms, but you wouldn’t be alone in admitting you hardly know what any of them actually mean.
1. ABS is a safety anti-skid braking system used on aircraft and on land vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. ABS operates by preventing the wheels from locking up during braking, thereby maintaining tractive contact with the road surface.
2. Dipstick A dipstick is a physical stick that you dip into the oil container in your car to check your oil levels.
3. Direct Fuel Injection is a fuel-delivery technology that allows gasoline engines to burn fuel more efficiently, resulting in more power, cleaner emissions, and increased fuel economy. This system is typically found in luxury models or as a high-end trim feature, but keep an eye out for it – it’s beginning to appear as a standard feature in more models each year.
4. ISOFIX This is not slang for what your mechanic does to your car. This is the international standard system that allows you to easily attach a child’s car seat in your car. On all cars made after 2006, the back seats feature metal brackets that allow you to safely clip in your child’s seat. The best part is, the size of the ISOFIX brackets are universal and most car seats are optimized to be able to use them.
5. A, B, and C Pillars The A pillars on your car hold either side of the windshield in place. B pillars start where the driver and passenger-side windows end as you look backward along the length of the car. C pillars hold the sides of your car's rear window in place. Well-designed pillars don't create huge blind spots for you as you drive your car.
6. OBD stands for "on-board diagnostics". All modern road cars have some sort of engine computer in place. The computers within your vehicle speak in code, so you'll have to decipher it. In models since 1996, the standard used is OBDII. You can find out more about the specifics of individual codes here.