glossary of vehicle terms

glossary of vehicle terms

Item Definition
0-60mph The time it takes a vehicle to go from a standstill to 60 miles per hour (mph) is a popular measure of acceleration, although some now favour 0-62mph.
0-62mph A measure of acceleration similar to 0-60mph but easier to convert into metric as 62mph is approximately 100 kilometres per hour.
2+2 Seating arrangement commonly found in sports cars, where two small rear seats are fitted behind two front seats.
4WD Short for Four-Wheel Drive
4x4 A system which distributes the engine’s power to all four of the wheels on the car.
50-50 split-folding Seating system in which one rear seat can be folded while the other is left in place.
60-40 split-folding Similar to 50-50 split folding mostly applicable for cars with three rear seats: two can be left up and one folded or vice versa.
ABI ABI is an acronym for the Association of British Insurers.
ABI code The ABI code refers to the Association of British Insurers' code of practice e.g. in relation to those with road traffic injuries.
ABS Anti-Lock Braking System or Anti-Skid Braking System: a safety system which reduces the chances of the wheels locking up (not rotating) under heavy braking, helping to avoid skidding.
ACC Active Cruise Control or Adaptive Cruise Control: an advanced form of cruise control designed to prevent front-end collisions. It uses laser or radar to automatically brake or accelerate the car to match the speed of the vehicle ahead without any input from the driver.
acceleration kph Acceleration - the rate of change in velocity per unit of time - expressed in kilometres per hour (kph or km/h)
acceleration mph Acceleration - the rate of change in velocity per unit of time - expressed in miles per hour (mph or mi/h)
ACT Active Cylinder Technology: a feature developed by the Volkswagen Group which improves fuel consumption by shutting off some of the engine’s cylinders when cruising. Also known as Cylinder on Demand (CoD).
active / adaptive headlights Active or adaptive headlights are designed to increase safety by improving visibility e.g. by shining into corners or over hills. By temporarily shutting off certain bulbs, some versions can stay on full beam even when there’s oncoming traffic.
adaptive cruise control An advanced form of cruise control designed to prevent front-end collisions. It uses laser or radar to automatically brake or accelerate the car to match the speed of the vehicle ahead without any input from the driver.
adaptive suspension A system which enables you to alter aspects of the suspension, such as the rigidity or ride height, in order to deliver a sportier or more comfortable ride.
additional drivers A named second driver or multiple drivers insured to operate a vehicle.
aerodynamics Relating to the way air moves around shapes e.g. a sports car will be more aerodynamic than a lorry. Designers usually try to reduce drag and wind noise while preventing instability.
aftermarket accessory Extras such as roof racks and tow bars which aren't fitted by the vehicle manufacturer but can be purchased and installed after the vehicle has left the factory.
air brakes A type of brake technology common on heavy-duty vehicles, it uses compressed air to apply pressure to the brake pad.
air conditioning Also known as aircon, AC or A/C, this system controls the temperature in a vehicle interior by pumping in warm or cool air, often through vents on the dashboard or in the footwells.
Air suspension A suspension system which uses compressed air instead of the more common spring set-up. Can also be used to adjust the ride height.
Airbags Safety cushions which deploy in the event of a crash to prevent the occupants colliding with hard interior surfaces such as doors or the dashboard. Most new cars are fitted with multiple airbags as standard.
Alcantara A suede-like stain-resistant material used in car interiors. It is composed of about 68% polyester and 32% polyurethane.
Alloy Wheels Sometimes just called 'alloys', these wheels come in a wide range of designs, are often made of aluminium and are a popular alternative to steel wheels.
Allroad A term popularised by Audi to denote a car with greater off-road capabilities.
All-Season Tyres Types of tyres capable of giving traction on everything from dry roads to snow.
All-wheel drive All-wheel drive (AWD) is a system which distributes power to all of the wheels.
All-Wheel Steering All-Wheel Steering is a system which enables the rear wheels to turn in the same direction as the front wheels, predominantly to improve handling.
Alternator The alternator is a generator that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy in order to charge a vehicle's battery.
Anti-lock brakes Anti-lock (or anti-skid) brakes refers to a safety system which reduces the chances of the wheels locking up (not rotating) under heavy braking, helping to avoid skidding.
Anti-Roll Bar An anti-roll bar is a tube or rod, commonly made of steel, which connects to the suspension. They improve handling by reducing rolling and swaying.
A-Pillar The A-Pillar is the vertical roof support between the windscreen and the edge of the front side window.
Application Fee When car buying, the term Application Fee usually refers to an amount payable to process a finance agreement.
Approved Used Schemes run by franchised dealerships where carefully selected used cars are sold with warranties, full-service histories and other desirable elements normally seen in new cars.
APR Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the interest rate for a whole year charged on a finance agreement.
At Risk Usually means that a third party has an interest in the vehicle and is trying to track its movement to try and prevent it being sold on without good title. Title disputes are very costly and time-consuming. Typically, these records relate to a dispute over ownership, so it’s advised not to proceed with the purchase until the lender is happy to pass on the title.
Automatic Automatic is a type of transmission that automatically changes gear, as opposed to a driver-operated manual gearbox.
Automatic dipping headlights Automatic dipping headlights is a feature that automatically dips the headlight’s main beam to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic without input from the driver.
Automatic lights A feature which uses a ‘dusk sensor' to automatically switch on dipped headlights when it starts to get dark.
Automatic wipers Also known as rain-sensing wipers, automatic wipers come on automatically as needed, operating at the required rate to keep the windscreen clear.
Autonomous braking Also known as automatic emergency braking or autonomous emergency braking, autonomous braking is a safety system designed to reduce low-speed bumper to bumper crashes by applying the brakes if it detects an imminent frontal collision.
Autonomous vehicles Sometimes called driverless cars, autonomous vehicles can operate without any input from a driver.
Auxiliary Input (Audio) An Auxiliary Input (Audio) is a jack socket used to connect a media player to a vehicle’s entertainment system.
Avant Avant is the brand name for Audi's estate models.
AWD Short for all-wheel drive, AWD is a system which distributes power to all of the wheels.
Axle An axle is a rod or spindle (either fixed or rotating) connecting a pair of wheels.
Balloon Payment Balloon Payment refers to a final large instalment due at the end of some finance deals, common in Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreements.
Barn Doors Barn Doors are the large outward opening rear doors on a van or truck.
Base Price The Base Price is the price of a vehicle before any optional extras or discounts.
Bed Length Measurement Bed Length Measurement is the length of a truck’s cargo box from the front wall to the closed tailgate.
Been Exported? Mycarcheck keeps records of vehicles which have been exported, i.e. have previously been sold abroad.
Been Imported? Mycarcheck keeps records of vehicles which have been imported, i.e. have previously been brought in from abroad.
Been Scrapped / Destroyed? Mycarcheck keeps records of vehicles sent to be scrapped or destroyed. Depending on the write-off category, either the entire vehicle or body shell must be crushed. They must never return to the road.
Benefit in Kind (BiK) Benefit in Kind (BiK) refers to company car tax bands calculated according to CO2 emissions and the car's P11D value.
Bespoke Bespoke describes customised, personalised or unique additions. Often used in relation to luxury vehicles.
BHP Brake Horse Power (bhp) is used to measure the output of a car’s engine.
Blind Spot A Blind Spot is an area that cannot be seen via either the side mirrors or rearview mirror.
Bill of Sale See Log Book Loan
Blind-spot monitoring Blind-spot monitoring is a technology that scans for objects in your blind spot and gives an audible or visual warning.
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a radio system that allows the car to wirelessly connect with electronic devices (e.g.mobile phone).
BMW EfficientDynamics EfficientDynamics is the brand name for BMW's fuel and energy-saving technologies.
Body shape Body shape or body description refers to categories of vehicle exterior designs e.g. hatchback, saloon or estate.
Body roll Body roll is the extent to which a car leans to the side while cornering. Cars with softer suspension tend to lean more and generally feel less agile.
Bore The cylinder bore is a part of a piston engine. Can also refer to the size (diameter) of the cylinder.
B-pillar A B-pillar is a vertical support for a car’s roof found between the front and rear doors. Some modern cars, such as the Ford B-MAX, don’t have them.
Brake assist Brake assist is a safety feature which applies additional pressure to the brakes during emergency stops.
Brake Energy Regeneration Brake Energy Regeneration is a feature which uses energy recovered during braking to charge the battery.
Broker A broker is someone who oversees the purchasing process on behalf of a buyer.
Bulkhead The Bulkhead is the partition between the cab and the load area of a van or truck.
Cab Type Cab Type might refer specifically to the type of cab - e.g. single (one row of seats) or double (two rows of seats) - or more broadly to the type of van e.g. Luton, flatbed or tipper.
Cabin The cabin is the interior of a car or the area of a van where the driver and passengers are seated.
Cabriolet A Cabriolet is a car with a fold-down roof. Also known as a convertible or soft-top.
CAFE Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard: a US agreement to increase fuel economy to 54.5mpg for cars by 2025.
Cancellation Waiver Protection Cancellation Waiver Protection (CWP) protects against the charge you can incur if you cancel your vehicle hire at short notice.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a common exhaust gas. How much CO2 your car emits can affect your taxes - see Vehicle Excise Duty and London Congestion Charge.
Carbon fibre Carbon fibre is a strong, lightweight material often used in high-performance cars.
Catalytic converter A catalytic converter is a device that converts gases produced by the engine into less toxic pollutants.
CC (body style) A car with a folding metal roof can be described as a coupe-convertible (cc) body style, but cc is usually used in relation to engine size.
CC (engine size) The size of an engine in cubic centimetres, cc is interchangeable with litres e.g. 1,600cc = 1.6litre.
Central Locking Central Locking, also known as electric door locking, is a system which will lock or unlock all doors at the press of a button.
Chassis The chassis is the frame of a vehicle.
Check On mycarcheck, a check is a request for information on a specific vehicle.
Cherished transfer history Cherished transfer history is a record of any number plate changes on a specific vehicle e.g. to personalised registrations.
City car A city car is a small car designed primarily for driving in towns and cities.
Climate control Sometimes referred to as smart aircon, climate control is similar to but more expensive than, air conditioning. It will maintain a set temperature irrespective of conditions outside and also offers dual-zone control, so the passenger can set a different temperature to the driver.
Clocked Winding back the total number of miles shown on a vehicle’s odometer
Clone A clone is a vehicle bearing the identity of another, often to disguise the fact it has been stolen or badly damaged.
Clutch The clutch is the component which disconnects the transmission from the engine when changing gear and reconnects it once the shift has been made.
CO2 Emissions CO2 Emissions refers to the amount of carbon dioxide expelled from a vehicle’s exhaust pipe, often measured in g/km.
Cold air intake (CAI) The cold air intake (CAI) is a pathway of parts to allow more cool air into the engine in order to increase power.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), sometimes called a damage waiver or loss damage waiver offers protection against liability for damage to a rental vehicle in the event of a crash. In some countries, it is a legal requirement.
Colour change? Mycarcheck keeps records of whether a specific vehicle has had a change of colour. A respray may be purely aesthetic or might be used to cover a repair.
Combined L/KM Combined L/KM is a measure of fuel efficiency - a weighted average of city and highway values in litres per kilometre.
Combined MPG Combined MPG is a measure of fuel efficiency - a weighted average of city and highway values in miles per gallon.
Common faults? Mycarcheck keeps a list of common issues or faults for the model you're interested in - items you should check before purchasing.
Company car A company car is one purchased and provided by a company for an employee to use.
Company car tax If you drive a company car in the UK you'll be liable for company car tax. The amount will be based on the value of the car and the emissions band.
Congestion Charge A Congestion Charge is a fee charged by certain cities on certain vehicles to drive on its roads.
Conditional Sale Like Hire Purchase, except, the person who is named on the hiring agreement for the vehicle will automatically own it once the finance has been repaid in full.
Consumer valuations Mycarcheck can provide a range of consumer valuations - suggested fair prices for a certain vehicle (e.g. for sale on a forecourt, as a private sale or trade-in) adjusted for mileage and condition.
Conditional Sale Like Hire Purchase, except the person named on the agreement will automatically own it once the finance has been repaid in full.
Contract Hire Contract Hire A form of flexible vehicle leasing that primarily benefits VAT registered businesses who claim back the VAT payable on monthly rental payments. Personal Contract Hire (PCH) has become a very popular way for consumers to pay for the use of a vehicle. The amount the customer pays over the term of a Contract Hire agreement will be the total amount the vehicle depreciates plus interest and any additional charges.
Convertible A car featuring a roof that can be folded down. Also known as a cabriolet. Convertibles can be a soft top (ragtop) or hardtop.
Count of Previous keepers The previous keepers' count is the number of registered owners a vehicle has had since it left the factory.
Country of origin The country of origin is where a product was manufactured.
Coupe A coupe body style that usually features a low, sloping roofline. Coupes are traditionally shorter than a saloon of the same model. Often two-seater, they are all about style so practicality can take a back seat to aesthetics.
C-pillar The C-pillar is the vertical support for a car’s roof located behind the rear door.
Credit Sale With credit sale agreements goods are bought at the cash price. Usually, you pay interest but could be offered interest-free credit. Repayments are made by instalments until the whole amount is paid and you’ll be the legal owner of the goods as soon as the contract is made. You can’t return the vehicle if you change your mind. If you fall behind with repayments the supplier can’t repossess the vehicle but they can take court action to recover the money owed.
Crossover Crossover vehicles are typically based on a car but also incorporate features of a sports utility vehicle (SUV). Nissan's Qashqai is credited with creating this popular market sector.
Cruise control Cruise control is a system that keeps a vehicle at a set speed without input from the driver.
Current colour The term current colour infers there has been a colour change. A respray may be purely aesthetic or might be used to cover a repair.
Current keeper acquisition date The date on which the current keeper purchased the vehicle, it shows how long they've had it.
Cut and shut A car where parts of two - or possibly more - vehicles have been put together to create a new car
CVT Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is a type of automatic gearbox common on modern hybrid cars. Also known as a single-speed transmission, stepless transmission, pulley transmission, or, in motorcycles and scooters, twist and go.
Cylinder A cylinder is a chamber in an engine where combustion takes place. Most cars have between 2 and 8 cylinders, with the total capacity usually measured in cubic centimetres (cc).
Cylinder Arrangement Cylinders can be arranged in a row (in-line), in two rows set at an angle (V-type) or in two rows opposite each other (flat).
Cylinder Count How much of a petrolhead or gearhead are you? One measure is to count the total number of cylinders in all of the internal combustion engines you own.
Cylinder deactivation technology Cylinder deactivation technology is a feature developed by Volkswagen to improve overall fuel consumption by shutting off some of the engine’s cylinders when cruising.
DAB radio DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcast radio. Most new cars have it as standard.
Dashboard The dashboard is the area located behind the steering wheel which houses the instrument cluster.
Date of first registration The date of first registration is the date the vehicle was first registered with the DVLA
Date of manufacture Carmakers use a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to show the date of manufacture - the month and year of production.
Daytime Running Lights Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are lights on the front of a car which come on automatically whenever it is moving.
Dealership Usually used to describe businesses with a new car showroom, although many dealerships also stock used cars and provide maintenance and repair services.
Deposit A lump sum put down at the start of a finance agreement in order to reduce the monthly costs. More generally, an initial sum paid when something is bought on credit.
Depreciation The reduction in a vehicle’s value due to age, condition and mileage. Depreciation is often expressed as the percentage of the original value that's retained after three years.
Direct Fuel Injection Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) is a technology which allows petrol engines to burn fuel more efficiently by injecting it directly into the combustion chamber.
Diesel A liquid fuel named after Rudolf Diesel, who invented the diesel engine.
Differential The differential (diff) is a mechanism that allows a car’s wheels to rotate at different speeds; important when cornering when the outer wheel needs to turn faster than the inner wheel.
Dipstick The dipstick is a thin metal rod for measuring the amount, colour and texture of oil in a vehicle's engine. To use, remove the oil cap, pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean. Then reinsert, pull it out again and check the oil is at the correct level - between the minimum and maximum marks. Generally, new car oil is amber in colour. Any contaminants or a dark colour could be a sign that the oil needs to be changed.
Displacement Displacement is a measure of how powerful an engine is in terms of the total air displaced by the pistons inside the cylinders e.g. a 2.8-litre engine can displace 2,800 cubic centimetres (cc) of air in one combustion cycle.
Donut A doughnut or donut is a driving manoeuvre in which you rotate the front or rear of a vehicle around the opposite set of wheels to create a circular skid mark. Alternatively, it can refer to the small spare tyre found in the boot.
Door count Most cars can be described as being 3 or 5 doors. The additional door is the boot. 4-door cars are those which you can't access the rest of the car from the boot.
DfT The Department for Transport (DfT) is the UK ministerial department responsible for the transport network.
Down Payment A lump sum put down at the start of a finance agreement in order to reduce the monthly costs. More generally, an initial sum paid when something is bought on credit.
D-pillar A D-pillar is a vertical roof support located by the rear window on estate cars.
Drive Axle The drive axle is a split axle driven by the engine featuring a differential and universal joints between two half axles.
Drive Type The type of drive system e.g. front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD),four-wheel-drive (4WD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD).
Drivetrain The drivetrain is the collective name for the components which transfer power from the transmission to the wheels, including the driveshaft, CV joints and differential.
DSG A Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) consists of two manual gearboxes and clutches in a single housing. This electronically controlled dual-clutch system can be either fully automatic or semi-manual.
DVLA The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is the UK government organisation responsible for maintaining a database of drivers and vehicles. It also distributes driving licenses and collects money from road tax.
EBA Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) is a safety device that applies additional pressure to the brakes during emergency stops.
EBD Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) is a safety system that alters the pressure applied to the brakes, reducing the chances of locking up under heavy braking.
EGS EGS is Citroen's name for its automated manual gearbox.
Electric Power Steering Electric Power Steering (EPS) is a standard feature on most new cars. It reduces the effort required to turn the steering wheel.
Electronic Brake Assist Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) is a technology which increases braking pressure in an emergency. It is designed to bring the vehicle to a stop in the shortest distance possible.
Electronic Stability Programme Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), also referred to as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), is a technology designed to prevent skidding.
Eligibility Requirements Eligibility Requirements describe the criteria a person must meet in order to hire a vehicle.
Engine capacity (CC) Engine capacity (CC) is the size of an engine in cubic centimetres.
Engine Description Engine description can include the type of fuel used (e.g. petrol/diesel), the type of ignition (spark or compression) and the number of cylinders.
Engine Location In the vast majority of vehicles, the engine is located at the front (either longitudinally or transversely). Engines can also be located in a mid-mount position or at the rear.
Engine Make Some vehicle manufacturers make their own engines. Others share engines (e.g. Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda as part of VW Group). Some source them from other manufacturers.
Engine number The engine number is a unique identification code on the engine itself. Not to be confused with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Engine Size Engine size, or capacity, is usually expressed in cubic centimetres (cc)
EPA The US government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Equity Equity is the value remaining after subtracting any outstanding balance from a vehicle's current market value.
ESC Electronic Stability Control (ESC) monitors a car’s traction and intervenes (e.g. by braking or reducing engine power) to help regain stability. Also referred to as Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) or Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
Estate An estate is the UK name for a car body style with a large, often boxy, rear to increase boot space. The equivalent US term is a station wagon.
Euro NCAP The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is a respected car safety body which gives vehicles an overall score out of five. The more stars, the safer a car is for occupants and pedestrians. From 2016, some cars have been given two different ratings - one for the standard model and another for the same model with an optional safety pack fitted.
Euro Status Euro Status relates to a series of increasingly stringent European emission standards e.g. Euro 1 in 1993 and Euro 6 in 2014.
EV An Electric Vehicle (EV) is one that runs purely on electricity, as opposed to petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles.
Excess Mileage Excess Mileage is any mileage above an agreed limit in a vehicle hire contract.
Ex-demo An ex-demonstrator (ex-demo) is a vehicle once used by a dealership for test drives. They are often then sold as a nearly new used car at a reduced price.
Exported Date Exported Date is the date on which a vehicle was sold abroad.
Exported Exported means that at some point it was sent to another country for sale.
Extra Urban L/KM Part of a fuel consumption test, the extra-urban cycle is conducted immediately after the urban cycle. It consists of roughly half steady-speed driving and the remainder accelerations, decelerations and idling. The results are given in litres per kilometre (l/km) or miles per gallon (mpg).
Extra Urban MPG Part of a fuel consumption test, the extra-urban cycle is conducted immediately after the urban cycle. It consists of roughly half steady-speed driving and the remainder accelerations, decelerations and idling. The results are given in litres per kilometre (l/km) or miles per gallon (mpg).
Facelift A facelift is the term used when a vehicle manufacturer updates the exterior and/or interior of one of its models.
Factory Standard Factory Standard is the basic entry-level version of a vehicle (without any optional extras).
Fascia Fascia can refer to either the decorative panels of a car's dashboard or the soft plastic mouldings at the front and rear.
Fastback A fastback is a two or four-door car with a sloping rear.
Finance The term motor finance covers the many different financial products which allow someone to acquire a vehicle with any arrangement other than a single lump sum e.g. Hire Purchase or Personal Contract Purchase.
Finance agreement date The start date of a motor finance agreement.
Finance agreement number The unique reference number of a motor finance agreement.
Finance agreement period The finance agreement period is the length of a motor finance agreement, often three years.
Finance agreement type Common types of motor finance agreement include a bill of sale, conditional sale, contract hire (lease), credit sale, hire purchase (HP), personal contract purchase (PCP) and personal loan. Importantly, in some cases, the full title of the asset remains the property of the finance company until certain conditions are met. If you want to know more about the different types of agreements available, you can read our article on car finance.
Firm ride A firm ride is generally attributed to stiff suspension setup. It can be affected by everything from the shock absorbers, springs and tyres fitted, to the sport suspension setting selected.
Fleet A fleet is a group of cars, vans, motorbikes or heavy vehicles owned or leased by a business or organisation e.g. a hire, delivery or utility company. Used car buyers should consider that ex-fleet models are likely to be high mileage but maintained in line with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Four-wheel drive Four-wheel drive (4x4, four by four or 4WD) refers to a drivetrain capable of providing torque to all four wheels on a two-axled vehicle simultaneously.
Four-wheel steering Four-wheel steering is a system which turns all four wheels at the same time when the driver steers. Considered beneficial to agility and manoeuvrability, this technology has been largely restricted to luxury or performance vehicles in recent years.
Frails The term frails describe a type of rack often fitted to the side of vans e.g. for carrying panes of glass.
Franchised dealership Franchised dealerships are licenced to sell cars on behalf of one or more vehicle manufacturers. Their activities can include the sale of new and used vehicles, service and repair, the distribution of parts and the provision of finance.
Front-wheel drive Front-wheel drive (FWD) is a form of transmission where the engine drives only the front wheels of the vehicle.
Fuel Delivery System Different engines use different fuel delivery systems, with common types including conventional and injection. Within these are further subcategories such as single-point, multi-point or direct injection.
Fuel Description Traditional fuels such as petrol or diesel are burned in the engine to produce power. Alternative technologies include electric, hybrid electric and solar.
Fuel economy Fuel economy refers to the relationship between distance travelled and the fuel used, usually expressed in miles per gallon (mpg).
Fuel type Traditional fuels such as petrol or diesel are burned in the engine to produce power. Alternative technologies include electric, hybrid electric and solar.
FWD FWD is an acronym for front-wheel drive.
g/km Grams per kilometre (g/km) is a common unit of measurement for CO2 emissions.
GAP Insurance Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) is an insurance product which covers the difference between the sum an insurer pays out in the event of a crash or theft and the original value. Can also be used to cover any shortfall in clearing the outstanding finance if a car is written-off or stolen.
Gearbox Type Tyes of gearbox include manual, automatic and semi-automatic. The manual transmission uses a clutch (usually operated by the driver’s foot) and a gearstick (usually operated by the driver’s hand), commonly with the ability to select five or six speeds. In an automatic, all the driver has to do is select P (Park), R (Reverse), N (Neutral), D (Drive) or L (Low) and gear shifts are controlled by an on-board computer. Semi-automatic is a hybrid system which uses a dual-clutch for incredibly fast shifts, often either in a fully automatic mode or manually via paddles on the steering wheel. There’s also continuously variable transmission (CVT), which offers a similar driving experience to an automatic via a different mechanism.
Gears Count A 5-speed manual gearbox was standard on most new cars for many years but an increasing number of manuals now have a 6-speed transmission (six forward gears plus reverse). For automatic transmissions, the number of forward gear ratios is often expressed as e.g. 9-speed automatic.
Gesture tailgate Also known as a hands-free tailgate - a boot door you can open automatically by waving your foot underneath the rear bumper.
GPS GPS (Global Positioning System) is a technology used in satnavs. Signals from satellites in orbit can pinpoint your exact location almost anywhere on earth.
Grille The grille is a grate at the front of a vehicle which enables air to cool the radiator.
Gross Combined Weight The gross combined weight (GCW) - also referred to as gross combination weight rating (GCWR), gross combination mass (GCM), maximum authorised mass (MAM) or gross train weight (GTW) - is the total permitted combined weight of a towing vehicle, its load (including occupants) plus the weight of the trailer and cargo, as set by the vehicle manufacturer.
Gross Train Weight The gross train weight (GTW) - also referred to as gross combined weight (GCW), gross combination weight rating (GCWR), gross combination mass (GCM) or maximum authorised mass (MAM) - is the total permitted combined weight of a towing vehicle, its load (including occupants) plus the weight of the trailer and cargo, as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
Gross Vehicle Weight Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the maximum permitted operating weight (including the vehicle, cargo, occupants and fuel) as specified by the manufacturer.
Ground Clearance Sometimes just called clearance, ground clearance is the distance between the ground and the lowest point of a vehicle, commonly an axel or front trim.
Guaranteed Minimum Future Value The Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV), or Optional Final Payment, is an agreed amount that a vehicle will be worth at the end of a finance agreement. It is intended to protect against any sharp drop in used vehicle values.
Handling Fees Handling Fees are charges presented in addition to a product subtotal, for example, to cover administration or processing.
Has cherished transfer? Mycarcheck holds data on which vehicles have had a number plate change e.g. to a cherished or personalised registration. These can be perfectly legal but are sometimes used to disguise a vehicle's identity.
Hatchback A hatchback is a popular car body style where the boot door hinges from the roofline to provide a practical, wide opening, often with a removable parcel shelf.
Head-up display A device that displays key information, such as current speed or navigation directions, onto the windscreen, directly in the driver’s line of sight. An increasingly common feature, head-up display (HUD) was first used in fighter jets.
Hill Descent Control Usually found on off-road vehicles, Hill Descent Control (HDC) uses ABS to control the speed of each wheel, giving a more controlled descent without the driver needing to constantly brake.
Hill Start Assist Simulating a handbrake hill start, Hill Start Assist (HSA) prevents the vehicle from rolling down a gradient when the driver pulls away from a standing start.
Hire Purchase A hire purchase agreement that gives you the option to own the vehicle at the end of the agreement. The finance agreement is secured against the vehicle. The person hiring named on the agreement the vehicle is the ‘registered keeper’ and responsible for insuring and maintaining it. The finance company remains the legal owner until the amount borrowed has been fully repaid.
Historical valuations Historical valuations describe data, often presented in a graph, showing the depreciation of a vehicle model over time. Mycarcheck can also provide expected future values, known as forecast valuations.
Hot hatch A hot hatch is an unofficial term for a fast hatchback model.
HP Invented by the engineer James Watt, horsepower (HP or hp) is a measure of engine power. It is based on a mining calculation of one horse being able to raise 330 pounds of coal 100 feet in a minute (33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute). Other units include the Pferdestärke (PS) - the German equivalent of horsepower - and Kilowatts (KW). Small cars usually generate at least 75hp, while family cars commonly have up to 200hp.
HPI check HPI check is a term widely used to describe a vehicle check or vehicle provenance check.
Hybrid A hybrid vehicle is one that employs more than one source of power, typically a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor.
Hydrogen fuel cell A hydrogen fuel cell is a device that converts chemical potential energy (hydrogen) into electrical energy to run an electric motor.
ICE Short for internal combustion engine (ICE).
Imported Date Mycarcheck holds data on vehicles listed as having been imported, and can usually tell you the date on which this occurred.
Imported? Mycarcheck holds data on vehicles listed as having been imported, and can usually tell you the date on which this occurred.
Infotainment A portmanteau of information and entertainment. In the automotive world, infotainment typically refers to a combined stereo and satnav system, often with smartphone integration.
Instrument Cluster The Instrument Cluster is the panel behind the steering wheel, often including a tachometer and speedometer.
Insurance In relation to vehicle insurance (also known as car insurance or motor insurance), this is an agreement to provide financial compensation in the event of a vehicle being stolen or involved in an accident. Compulsory car insurance was introduced in the UK in 1930 and it is illegal to drive a car on UK public roads without it. Different types of motor insurance policies are available and terms will vary.
Insurance group Insurance companies organise vehicles into groups to help calculate policy prices. In the UK, there are 50 groups and generally, the higher the group, the higher the risk (e.g. more expensive or powerful cars) and therefore the higher the cost. The Insurance Group Rating system is run by Thatcham and takes account of price when new, performance, repair costs and parts prices.
Interest In finance, interest is an amount above the principal sum paid by a borrower to a lender, usually calculated at an annual percentage rate.
ISOFIX ISOFIX bars are the mounting points for attaching a child safety seat to a car seat. Also known as Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) or Universal Anchorage System (UAS).
Keeper V5C A used car seller must complete the 'new keeper or new name/new address details' part (section 6) of the V5C registration certificate (log book). The DVLA aims to send out a new V5C to the new keeper within 2 to 4 weeks of receiving the old one.
Kerb Weight The weight of an empty car (without occupants or cargo) but with all necessary operating consumables such as motor oil, coolant and sometimes a full tank of fuel. The US term is curb weight.
KERS Vehicles with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) can store the energy created during braking (via a flywheel or high voltage batteries) and use it later during acceleration.
Key Fob In the automotive world, a key fob is an alternative to a key. Often sporting the vehicle manufacturer's logo, it can lock or unlock the vehicle and sometimes start the engine.
Keyless entry Keyless entry is a system which enables a car to be unlocked without inserting a key. It typically involves the use of a key fob to open the car and a push button (enabled by the fob being in close proximity) to start.
KW A kilowatt (KW) is a measure of power equal to 1,000 watts.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems use cameras and onboard sensors to alert the driver if the vehicle is drifting out of marked lanes. The warning might be audible, visual or vibration.
Last colour If mycarcheck confirms that a vehicle has had a change of colour (a paint job), we can usually tell you what the previous colour was and the date on which it changed.
LB-FT Abbreviation for pound-foot (LB-FT or lb-ft), a measurement of torque. It is the amount of turning force required to move one pound of weight a distance of one foot around an axis at a radius of one foot. One lb-ft is approximately 1.36 newton metres (NM).
LCD A Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is a type of flat-screen often used in a car’s infotainment system. They generally consist of a liquid crystal material between two pieces of glass.
Lease A lease is a contractual arrangement whereby the lessee (the user) pays a lessor (the owner) for use of an asset (in this case a vehicle), usually by a monthly tariff. Also known as contract hire.
Lease purchase Like conditional sale, with regular payments similar to lease/rental agreements, the person leasing will own the vehicle at the end of the deal. Often a number of monthly payments are required at the start (known as ‘advance payments’ and the leasing equivalent of a deposit). Like PCP a sum is usually deferred to the end of the deal but unlike PCP this is not optional and must be paid.
LED Light Emitting Diode (LED) is an increasingly popular technology because it provides a brighter light than conventional bulbs while using less energy. Many new cars come with LED daytime running lights (DRL) as standard.
Level 1 charging Level 1 charging is plugging your electric vehicle (EV) into a 120 volt single phase AC up to 16 amps (commonly found in US households).
Level 2 charging Level 2 charging is plugging your electric vehicle (EV) into a 240 volt single phase AC up to 80 amps. In the US, it may refer to public charging stations.
Li-ion battery Short for lithium-ion, Li-ion is a type of rechargeable battery commonly used in electric and hybrid cars.
Limited Slip Differential A Limited Slip Differential (limited-slip diff) keeps both wheels in powered rotation and prevents excessive power going to either, even when one is off the ground.
Litre A litre or liter (American spelling), commonly abbreviated to ltr, is a metric unit of volume equal to 1,000 cubic centimetres. In the motor industry, it is used to describe engine size (e.g. 1.6-litre).
Load Length The load length is a term used in the vehicle hire sector to make sure the van you request is long enough to hold the intended cargo.
Load Space Load space (also loadspace and load capacity) refers to the area available for carrying goods e.g. when the rear seats are or aren't folded down.
Load Width Load width describes the horizontal length of the space available for carrying goods.
Log Book Loan Is a form of secured lending in the United Kingdom and is the most common modern example of a security bill of sale. Borrowers transfer ownership of their car, van or motorcycle to the logbook lender as security for a loan. While making repayments borrowers keep possession of their vehicle and continue to use it. When the logbook loan is repaid, the borrower regains ownership of their vehicle. If the borrower defaults, the logbook lender can seize the vehicle and look to the proceeds of sale for the satisfaction of the loan.
Loss / Damage Loss / Damage is an insurance term relating to stolen or written-off vehicles.
Low Profile Tyres The profile of a tyre is the ratio between the height (the sidewall) and the width. Increasingly popular, low profile (lower and wider) tyres give a sporty look. The increased surface contact area can improve road holding and braking.
LPG (Liquefied petroleum gas) Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is an alternative fuel type. Most petrol-powered cars can be converted to run on LPG.
Main dealer The main dealer (also franchised dealer or dealership) is a business authorised to sell new or used cars on behalf of one or more vehicle manufacturers.
Make Vehicle make is another name for the vehicle manufacturer, marque or brand.
Manual Two common meanings: 1) a type of transmission featuring a driver-operated manual gearbox, as opposed to an automatic. 2) the vehicle-specific owners guide which should come with every new and used car.
Manufacturers Recommended Price The Manufacturers Recommended Price (MRP) is usually the suggested list price, sticker price or recommended retail price (RRP). It may also refer to an agreed future value (e.g. at three years old) in a finance agreement.
Max Power Max power (maximum power) is the highest power (most horsepower) an engine is capable of producing. Also the name of a British magazine dedicated to performance tuning.
Max Speed KPH The maximum speed a vehicle is capable of achieving measured in kilometres per hour (kph or km/h)
Max Speed MPH The maximum speed a vehicle is capable of achieving measured in miles per hour (mph or mp/h)
Maximum authorised mass Maximum authorised mass (MAM), also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight, is the total weight (combined vehicle and load) which can be safely carried, as set by the vehicle manufacturer.
MIAFTR The Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud Theft Register (MIAFTR) is a database controlled by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) which includes a list of vehicles written off by insurance companies, along with the relevant write-off category.
Micro car Micro car (or microcar) is a category name for the smallest cars (smaller than city cars).
Mileage Mileage is the total distance a vehicle has travelled.
Mileage Adjusted Valuations Mileage Adjusted Valuations (MAVs) are suggested used vehicle values taking into account the miles on the clock e.g. a car which has only done 12,000 miles will be worth more than a similar specification model which has done 90,000 miles.
Mini-MPV Similar to an MPV, though often not as tall or as long as traditional MPVs. Examples of Mini-MPVs include the Ford B-MAX, Citroen C3 Picasso and Fiat 500L.
Model Models are the different products or brands in a vehicle manufacturer's range e.g. the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa and Vauxhall Astra are popular used cars. Within these categories, there may well be further model variants e.g. Fiesta Zetec Climate, Fiesta Zetec S, Corsa Limited Edition Corsa Sxi.
Model Variant The product subcategory within a make and model e.g. Fiesta Zetec Climate or Fiesta Zetec S,
Model Variant System Setup Date In-depth model variant data often held by mycarcheck.
Model Variant Termination Date In-depth model variant data often held by mycarcheck.
Model Variant Visibility Date In-depth model variant data often held by mycarcheck.
MoT The MOT is an annual test of roadworthiness. In the UK it is compulsory for most vehicles over three years old. You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate.
MOT mileages? Mycarcheck can usually provide a vehicle's mileage as recorded at each recent MOT test.
MPG Miles per gallon (MPG) is a measure of fuel economy, the number of miles a vehicle can travel per gallon of fuel.
MPGe Short for miles per gallon equivalent, MPGe describes the energy efficiency of electric or hybrid vehicles. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses the formula 115,000 British thermal units (BTU) per US gallon of gasoline.
MPH Miles per hour (MPH) is a common measure of speed.
MPV The multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) is a European term for compact family cars designed to maximise interior space. Also known as people carriers or space wagons. MPV is sometimes used as a blanket term for any car with more than five seats.
Multifunction steering wheel A multifunction steering wheel is one which enables the driver to control the stereo and other systems, such as cruise control, without taking their hands off the wheel.
Nav System Short for the navigation system (also known as GPS or sat-nav).
NHTSA The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) writes and enforces motor vehicle safety standards.
NOx Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are pollutants commonly emitted from vehicle exhausts. Levels vary but certain diesel cars have been criticised for producing high amounts of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is toxic to humans.
NPIA The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is a UK government agency established to support the police by providing expertise in IT, information sharing and recruitment.
Number Of Axles We generally think of cars as having two axles, but technically some all-wheel-drive cars have four. Other vehicles, such as trucks, also commonly have more than two.
Number of former keepers The number of registered keepers before you e.g. if the V5C (logbook) says a car had two former keepers then you will be number three.
Number of seats Most cars have five seats - two in the front and three in a row in the back - but some have less (e.g. most sportscars have just two), some have more (e.g. people carriers), and some have additional seats which can be folded out.
Number Plate A number plate (also known as a vehicle registration plate or license plate) is commonly attached to the front and rear of a vehicle for identification purposes.
OBD II OBD II is an industry-standard on-board diagnostics port used to access data from the car’s computer.
Open XC Open XC is a hardware and software interface that lets apps talk to a car’s onboard systems.
Optional Extras Optional extras are additional items which can be added to a vehicle you buy or hire.
Original colour Original colour is the paint colour of a vehicle when it left the factory (before a later colour change).
Outstanding finance? Outstanding finance is a serious risk facing used car buyers. Under some finance agreements, the vehicle remains the property of the finance company until the balance - the outstanding finance - is cleared. Unfortunately, it is common for cars to be put up for sale with money still owed. This activity, termed sub-hiring, is illegal - the vehicle is not theirs to sell and the finance company can be within their rights to seize it back. Around a quarter of all vehicles on UK roads are on finance. As well as checking if a vehicle is written-off or stolen, mycarcheck can also confirm if it is clear of outstanding financial debt.
Oversteer Oversteer describes the sensitivity of steering in cases when a car turns more sharply than intended, possibly spinning out of control.
P11D The P11D is a tax form filed by UK employers outlining the value of an employee's benefits, such as a company car. The amount takes into account the list price and any optional extras.
Panoramic roof A panoramic roof is a roof consisting mainly of a large pane of glass, they allow a lot more light into the interior. Some models feature them as standard or as an alternative to a sunroof.
Parking camera A parking aid often mounted above the rear number plate, a parking camera (or reversing camera) captures a live image of the space directly behind the vehicle.
Parking sensors Parking sensors inform manoeuvres by alerting the driver to any obstacles in blind spots, usually by an audible beep.
Payload The payload is the maximum weight of load a vehicle can transport, sometimes expressed as gross vehicle weight (GVW) minus kerb weight.
PCP See Personal Contract Purchase
Personal Contract Purchase Like Hire Purchase but the big difference is that the value of the vehicle at the end of the contract is not included in the amount borrowed, it’s deferred to the end. This is known as the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV). Deferring the GMFV to the end of the agreement means the regular monthly payments are lower but to optionally own the vehicle at the end will likely require a large one-off payment to the finance company.
Personal Contract Purchase Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) is a type of finance agreement which enables a customer to hire a vehicle for a set monthly amount over a fixed term (typically three years). At the end of this period, the customer can decide to either purchase the vehicle (for a previously agreed sum) or return it to the lender.
Personal Loans A personal loan is arranged with a bank or other financial institution and the amount borrowed is typically transferred to an individual’s bank account. Once the dealer is paid with the money borrowed, the legal ownership is immediately transferred to the new owner.
Petrol Petrol, short for petroleum (in the US, gasoline or gas), is a common liquid fuel used in internal combustion engines.
PHEV A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) has both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE), with rechargeable batteries and the ability to connect to the electrical grid.
Plate change? Mycarcheck holds data on whether a vehicle has had a number plate change, e.g. to a private registration plate.
Plug-in hybrid Short for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)
Ply Lining Ply lining refers to a vehicle, usually a truck or van, with built-in plywood lining or shelving.
Power-Assisted Steering Power-Assisted Steering, also known as power-assisted steering, PAS or just power steering, uses power from the engine to make it easier for the driver to turn the steering wheel, especially helpful in slow-speed manoeuvres.
Power steering Power Steering, also known as power-assisted steering or PAS, uses power from the engine to make it easier for the driver to turn the steering wheel, especially helpful in slow-speed manoeuvres.
Power To Weight The power to weight (power-to-weight) ratio is a measurement of performance - the engine's power output divided by the weight of the vehicle.
PPM Pence Per Mile (PPM) is an estimation of the amount it costs to run a vehicle for a single mile, including variables such as fuel costs, road tax, servicing and maintenance. It might be used by a company when reimbursing a staff member for using their own car, or by a hire company when defining excess charges above a specified mileage.
Pre-reg Short for pre-registered, pre-reg described a new car with only delivery mileage on the odometer.
Previous keeper The V5C vehicle registration document (logbook) should include details of the previous two keepers. Mycarcheck usually holds data on the total number of previous keepers.
Primary Fuel Primary fuels or primary energy sources are those which are found in nature but have to be extracted, such as coal, oil or gas. Apart from biomass, they are mostly non-renewable, unlike flows such as wind or solar.
Push-button Ignition A push-button ignition system uses a button to start the vehicle, instead of a key.
Ragtop A ragtop is a soft-top convertible, as opposed to a hardtop convertible.
Rain-sensing wipers Rain-sensing wipers come on automatically as needed, operating at the required rate to keep the windscreen clear.
Range-extender A type of electric vehicle similar to a plug-in hybrid, also known as extended-range electric vehicles (EREV) or range-extended electric vehicles (REEV). They feature an auxiliary power unit (APU) - the range extender - to charge batteries once they’re flat.
Rear-wheel drive Rear-wheel drive (RWD) describes configurations where the engine’s power is transmitted to the rear wheels of the car.
Record type On mycarcheck, warning categories such as: listed as stolen, on finance or previously written-off.
Recorded mileage? On mycarcheck, previously recorded mileage records for a specific vehicle sourced from the DVLA, rental companies, garages and manufacturers.
Regenerative braking Regenerative braking (regen) is an energy recovery system which captures excess kinetic energy during braking and stores it for use later, usually via a battery or flywheel.
Remote Central Locking Also known as just central locking, or electric door locking, Remote Central Locking will lock or unlock all doors at the press of a button.
Remote Start Remote start is a system which enables the car to be started without physically being inside it.
Residual Value Residual value (RV) is how much a vehicle is worth after a period of time e.g. RV at three years old. Typically, cars depreciate over time, although some - such as classics - can increase in value.
Rigid Artic Rigid artic is a term used to describe an articulated lorry tractor unit which has been converted into a long-wheelbase chassis.
Ringer A stolen vehicle which has been disguised using elements of another vehicle's identity, such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or number plate.
Road fund licence Road Fund Licence (RFL) is another name for road tax, car tax or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
Road Tax Road tax - also commonly called car tax, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or Road Fund Licence (RFL) - must be paid on all vehicles registered in the UK and driven or kept on a public road. The charge varies according to how environmentally friendly the vehicle is (there are different tax bands for different levels of CO2 emissions), but can be over £1,000 a year. Vehicles kept offroad must also be taxed or have a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN).
Roadster Initially an American term, a roadster is a sporty looking two-seater convertible.
Roller Doors Roller doors or roller shutters are the sliding doors commonly found on vans or trucks.
RPM Revolutions per minute (commonly abbreviated to RPM or rev/min) is a measure of rotational speed - the number of rotations around a fixed axis in one minute. Car reviews often refer to the maximum RPM to give an indication of a car’s power.
Run-flat tyres Run Flat tyres are designed to remain functional in the event of a puncture for around fifty miles, giving you time to drive home or to a garage.
RWD RWD is an acronym for rear-wheel drive, sometime rear-wheel-drive.
Saloon Known as a sedan in America, a saloon is a British term for a car body style featuring a three-box configuration for the engine, passenger compartment and cargo.
Satellite navigation An in-car satellite navigation system (satnav or sat-nav) is a device which provides autonomous geo-spatial positioning, accurately determining the vehicle's location in longitude, latitude and altitude. It then uses a road map to plot routes, usually from your current location to another. Most new cars come with a built-in sat-nav as standard, but they can also be added as an aftermarket accessory.
Scrapped / Destroyed If a car or van is scrapped/destroyed by an authorised treatment facility (ATF) in the UK, the registered keeper should receive a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) from the DVLA within 7 days. These vehicles should never return to the road.
Scrapped marker A scrapped marker on paperwork for any car for sale should set alarm bells ringing for a potential purchaser. A scrapped/destroyed vehicle should never return to the road. In rare cases, a scrapped marker may have been added due to a clerical error and subsequently removed, but you are advised to seek urgent clarification.
Scrapped If a car or van is scrapped by an authorised treatment facility (ATF) in the UK, it will first be stripped of saleable parts before the remainder is crushed into a bale. This cube of metal will then be shredded into small pieces with magnets used to recover usable metals. The registered keeper should receive a Certificate of Destruction (CoD) from the DVLA within 7 days.
Seat Count Seat count describes how many seats a vehicle has. For example, a family car will usually have five - two in the front and three in the back.
Semi-automatic Vehicles with a semi-automatic transmission (also known as automated manual) require the driver to make gear changes, as in a manual, except the clutch part of the process is completed electronically.
Semi-autonomous vehicles Semi-autonomous vehicles are those capable of operating without the normal level of driver input, thanks to features such as adaptive cruise control (ACC).
Service, Maintenance & Repair Service, Maintenance & Repair (SMR) is a catch-all term for the general upkeep of a vehicle, including routine servicing, replacement of parts failing due to wear and tear, and the repair of items which break or are damaged unexpectedly.
SH-AWD Short for Super Handling-All Wheel Drive, SH-AWD is fully-automatic all-wheel-drive traction and handling system designed by Honda.
Side-Loading Doors Side-Loading Doors (Side Loading Doors or SLDs) are sliding doors on the side of a vehicle, a popular feature in light commercial vehicles.
SmartKey A smart key (SmartKey) is an electronic fob which can lock or unlock a vehicle and sometimes start the engine, remotely. An alternative to physically inserting a key.
SMMT The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is a UK automotive industry trade association.
SORN If a vehicle is taken off the road (maybe garaged for winter), the owner can register a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with the DVLA to receive a refund for any road tax remaining.
Sound level The sound level, usually measured in decibels (dB), is how loud a sound is. Most humans can hear sounds between 0 and 140 dB. New cars are required to meet noise limits, for example for exhaust noise.
Space Saver Tyre The space saver tyre (space-saver) is an alternative to the traditional full-size spare tyre. Usually located in the boot, this skinny wheel is designed to be a temporary fix in the event of a puncture. Early examples had a recommended speed limit of 50mph.
Spark Plug A spark plug is a component which delivers an electrical spark to the engine's combustion chamber in order to ignite the fuel. Early patents for spark plugs included those by Nikola Tesla and Robert Bosch, both in 1898.
Spec / specification The specification (spec for short) is a detailed description of the design, the performance and the materials used to manufacture the vehicle.
Speedo Short for speedometer, the speedo is a display on the dashboard which shows how fast the vehicle is going, usually in miles per hour and/or kilometres per hour.
Split-folding seats Split-folding seats are rear passenger seats which can be folded down to create more storage space. A progression on folding the entire rear seat, common configurations are 60/40 (where a side and middle seat fold as one and the other can fold individually) and 40/20/40 (where you can fold the left seat, the middle seat or the right seat individually or in combination).
Start-stop Designed to save fuel and reduce emissions, a start-stop (sometimes called stop-start, stop/start or start/stop) system will automatically turn off the engine when idling and restart it when the driver takes their foot off the brake.
Station wagon Stationwagon is an American term for a body style with a large boxy rear. The equivalent European term would be an estate car.
Steering feel Steering feel is the feedback a driver receives via the steering column e.g. vibrations caused by bumps in the road.
Stolen A stolen vehicle is one which has been taken illegally with no intention of returning it.
Stolen (Police) Mycarcheck holds data on vehicles reported as stolen from the police.
Stolen (Insurance) Mycarcheck holds data on vehicles reported as stolen from the insurance company.
Stop-Start Designed to save fuel and reduce emissions, a stop-start (sometimes called start-stop, stop/start or start/stop) system will automatically turn off the engine when idling and restart it when the driver takes their foot off the brake.
Stroke In relation to an internal combustion engine, the term stroke usually refers to the power cycle e.g. a four-stroke engine takes four piston strokes to turn the crankshaft.
Supercharger A supercharger is an air compressor designed to increase the density of air supplied to an engine. Higher air pressure combined with increased fuel flow can significantly increase power and torque.
Supermini Supermini is a popular car size between a family hatchback and a city car, usually with a hatchback body style.
Suspension Suspension describes the group of components which connect a vehicle to its wheels e.g. shock absorbers, springs, struts and wishbones.
SUV A Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is a high-riding car, usually with off-road capabilities, with an emphasis on sporty handling characteristics.
Tachometer A tachometer (also known as a tach or rev-counter) is the device on a vehicle's dashboard which shows the number of revolutions per minute (RMP) of the engine’s crankshaft. It is usually used as an indicator of when to change gear, but can also be used to track overrevving, which can damage an engine.
Tail Lift A tail lift is a mechanical platform fitted to the rear of a van or truck and used to load or unload cargo.
Tailgate A tailgate is a style of boot door (boot lid), usually hinged at the top, found on hatchback and estate cars.
Tailgating Tailgating is driving too close to the vehicle in front
Targa Targa top (or just Targa) is a semi-convertible car body style in which part of the roof can be opened or removed, either manually or electrically. The term was coined by Porsche on the 911 Targa in 1966.
Tax band In the UK, the tax band dictates how much Vehicle Excise Duty (VED or road tax) you pay. The charge varies according to how environmentally friendly the vehicle is. In 2017 the charges ranged from £0 for fully electric vehicles (emitting 0g/km of CO2) to £2,000 for vehicles emitting over 255g/km of CO2.
TDI Turbocharged direct injection (TDI) is a type of diesel engine fitted with at least one turbocharger, a technology commonly associated with the VW Group.
Test Drive The test drive is a vital part of the used car buying process - an opportunity to drive the vehicle in real-world conditions, to assess its performance and roadworthiness. Dealers usually have special insurance cover, but if it is a private sale you should check your policy.
Tinted windows Often added for aesthetic reasons, tinted windows use darkened glass or a coloured film to reduces the amount of light which can get in. They also make it harder for people to see in and, as such, are sometimes added for security reasons. In the UK, there are rules governing the percentage of light the front windscreen and front side windows must let in.
Torque Usually measured in pounds per square foot (lb/ft) or Newton metres (Nm), torque is the pulling power of a vehicle. The term is often used in relation to performance and motorsport as cars with higher levels of torque accelerate faster. It is also commonly used by the haulage industry to determine which trucks are best suited to transporting certain heavy loads.
Torque LB Torque - pulling power - measured in pounds per square foot (lb/ft) as opposed to Newton metres (Nm).
Torque Nm Torque - pulling power - measured in Newton metres (Nm) as opposed to pounds per square foot (lb/ft).
Total Loss Total Loss is an insurance industry term for a write-off. An accident damaged vehicle is deemed uneconomical to repair (i.e. the repair cost exceeds the value) and is therefore declared a total loss or constructive total loss.
Touchscreen Touchscreen is an interactive screen used in modern in-car infotainment systems (to operate the stereo, satnav etc).
Tourer / Touring A tourer is a car or bike designed for touring, sometimes used to describe an estate body style. In the classic car world, a touring model was an open car seating four or more and popular in the early twentieth century.
Traction Control Traction control, sometimes called ASR, is a system designed to prevent skidding. It works by limiting the power sent to the driven wheels. Some models have the option to turn traction control on/off.
Trade valuation Trade valuations are estimates of how much a used vehicle is worth. Mycarcheck offers detailed vehicle valuations (e.g. a fair price as a part exchange, private or retail sale) and can adjust these for condition, mileage, write-off status etc.
Trailer Braked / Unbraked An unbraked trailer has no brakes, so the towing vehicle must do all the braking. A braked trailer has its own brakes, sometimes called overrun brakes, which are connected via the tow bar.
Transfer Case The transfer case is a drivetrain component which sends power from the transmission to multiple axles e.g. on four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive cars.
Transmission Sometimes used to describe just the gearbox, transmission usually refers to the set of components which control the application of power, including clutch, gearbox, differential and driveshafts. Common types include manual, automatic and semi-automatic.
Trim Sometimes used to describe the interior of a car (particularly regarding the materials used), trim can also refer to any items added to the interior or exterior, or aesthetically pleasing parts such as skirting.
Trim level The trim level (or grade) describes the features and equipment included on a new car - leather seats, sunroof etc - typically ranging from basic to luxurious and priced accordingly.
Turbocharger A turbocharger (often shortened to just turbo) increases the efficiency of an internal combustion engine by compressing air before forcing it into the combustion chamber. A turbocharger uses a turbine driven by the engine's exhaust gas, as opposed to a supercharger, which is mechanically driven. Popular with performance enthusiasts as a way to increase power, turbos are increasingly being used by vehicle manufacturers to achieve fuel savings.
Turbocharging Using a turbocharger (often shortened to just turbo) to increases the efficiency of an internal combustion engine.
Turbodiesel A turbodiesel (also turbo-diesel or turbo diesel) refers to any diesel-engined vehicle equipped with at least one turbocharger.
Turning Circle The turning circle is the tightest U-turn a vehicle can make without reversing (the radius of the smallest circular turn).
Two-door Two-door (2 door) is a car body style with only two side doors and an enclosed boot, as opposed to a hatchback which would be a three-door.
Type Approval Type approval confirms that a manufactured item (e.g. a car or component) meets certain specifications. In the UK, the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) is the designated Approval Authority for type approval to automotive European Community (EC) directives.
Tyre Tread Tyre tread is the rubber which makes contact with the road. Technically the grooves are in the tread pattern e.g. racing slicks have tread but no grooves.
Understeer Understeer is a characteristic commonly associated with front-wheel drive cars where a vehicle turns less sharply than intended, as opposed to oversteer.
Unladen Weight Unladen weight describes the weight of a vehicle when it is not carrying any passengers, goods or fuel.
Urban Cycle Urban Cycle is the first part of the fuel consumption test set out in EC Directive 93/116/EC and Regulation (EC) 692/2008. It is carried out in a laboratory at ambient temperature and consists of a series of accelerations, steady speeds, decelerating and idling. This is immediately followed by the Extra-Urban Cycle and together they give the Combined Fuel Consumption Figure.
Unit Stocking Unit Stocking finance is a form of credit used by car dealers to help them stock their business with vehicles. These deals are often made with the car manufacturer and banks. They help avoid the car dealers having all their cash tied up in stock.
V10 V10 usually refers to a V10 internal combustion engine, where 10 cylinders are organised in two banks of five in a V (or vee) configuration. V10 is also the name of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s application form for vehicle tax.
V12 V12 refers to a V12 internal combustion engine, where 12 cylinders are organised in two banks of six in a V (or vee) configuration.
V16 V16 refers to a V16 internal combustion engine, where 16 cylinders are organised in two banks of eight in a V (or vee) configuration.
V5C The V5C (log book or logbook) is the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s vehicle registration document. It contains essential information (such as the registered keeper) and Mycarcheck advises that you should never buy a used vehicle without a V5C.
V6 V6 refers to a V6 internal combustion engine, where 6 cylinders are organised in two banks of three in a V (or vee) configuration.
V8 V8 refers to a V8 internal combustion engine, where 8 cylinders are organised in two banks of four in a V (or vee) configuration.
stolen Mycarcheck offers detailed vehicle valuations e.g. as a part exchange, private or retail sale, and can adjust these for condition, mileage, write-off status etc.
Valve Count In engines, the valve count describes the number of valves. Most modern multi-valve engines have three, four or five valves the per cylinder.
Valve Gear The valve gear controls an engine’s inlet and exhaust valves.
VED Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is often called road tax. The annual charge varies according to how environmentally friendly the vehicle is. In 2017 the charges ranged from £0 for fully electric vehicles (emitting 0g/km of CO2) to £2,000 for vehicles emitting over 255g/km of CO2.
VED Band The VED band, also known as tax band, is a category which dictates how much Vehicle Excise Duty you pay. The charge varies according to how environmentally friendly the vehicle is. In 2017 the charges ranged from £0 for fully electric vehicles (emitting 0g/km of CO2) to £2,000 for vehicles emitting over 255g/km of CO2.
Vehicle Co2 Vehicle Co2 is the amount of carbon dioxide expelled from a vehicle’s exhaust pipe, often measured in g/km. The level dictates the amount of tax due, see VED (Vehicle Excise Duty).
Vehicle Check A vehicle check (sometimes called a car reg check, HPI check or vehicle provenance check) will reveal details about a vehicle's background that the seller might not know or not want to tell you e.g. whether there is outstanding finance, or whether it has ever been written-off or stolen.
Vehicle Description Vehicle Description is a summary of the key aspects of a vehicle. Much of the basic information can be found on the DVLA’s V5C vehicle registration document (e.g. colour, engine size, fuel type etc). A vehicle description in a used car advert or new car review might contain opinion or narrative as well as raw facts.
Vehicle Excise Duty Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is often called road tax. The annual charge varies according to how environmentally friendly the vehicle is. In 2017 the charges ranged from £0 for fully electric vehicles (emitting 0g/km of CO2) to £2,000 for vehicles emitting over 255g/km of CO2.
Vehicle Gross Weight Vehicle Gross Weight, or Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), is the maximum permitted operating weight (including the vehicle, cargo, occupants and fuel) as specified by the manufacturer.
Vehicle Height Vehicle Height is the vertical height from the bottom of the tyre to the highest point. It is an important consideration for used car buyers (e.g. will the car you’re looking at fit in your garage?) and heavy good vehicles (e.g. does the route include any bridges with height restrictions - is there enough headroom or clearance?).
Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) was a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency scheme designed to make ringing more difficult. The DVLA had to be notified if the cost of repair exceeded the pre-accident value. In these cases, vehicles were given a VIC marker and a VIC test was required to apply for a V5C logbook. The scheme closed in 2015.
Vehicle Identity Check test result The result of a VIC test. See Vehicle Identity Check.
Vehicle Information Number Not to be confused with the Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM), the Vehicle Information Number (VIN or Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique 17 character code given to each new vehicle. It can be found at various locations around the vehicle (e.g. on the windscreen just above the dashboard, in the engine bay or stamped into the chassis on the front door post) and also on the V5C vehicle registration document. The one on the windscreen is sometimes called a visible VIN (visiVIN or visi-vin). Confirming that the VIN on the vehicle matches the paperwork is one of the most important checks to conduct when buying a used car.
Vehicle Length Vehicle Length is the horizontal length from the tip of the front bumper to the furthest rear point (e.g. the tip of the rear bumper or towbar). It is an important consideration for used car buyers e.g. will the car you’re looking at fit in your garage?
Vehicle Security Status Vehicle Security Status refers to the UK Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham) categories for vehicle security features, such as car alarms and immobilisers. The higher the rating, the harder the vehicle should be to steal or break into e.g. an electronic immobiliser is a Category 2. Please note: better security can lower your insurance premium.
Vehicle Series Vehicle Series refers to the history of a particular model across multiple generations (including redesigns, facelifts, updates etc).
Vehicle Width Vehicle Width is usually measured from the outer tip of the driver side wing mirror to the tip of the passenger side wing mirror. It is an important consideration for used car buyers e.g. will the car you’re looking at fit in your garage?
VIC The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC, Vic-check or VIC check) was a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency scheme designed to make ringing more difficult. The DVLA had to be notified if the cost of repair exceeded the pre-accident value. In these cases, vehicles were given a VIC marker and a VIC test was required to apply for a V5C logbook. The scheme closed in 2015.
VIN Not to be confused with the Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM), the VIN (Vehicle Information Number or Vehicle Identification Number) is a unique 17 character code given to each new vehicle. It can be found at various locations around the vehicle (e.g. on the windscreen just above the dashboard, in the engine bay or stamped into the chassis on the front door post) and also on the V5C vehicle registration document. The one on the windscreen is sometimes called a visible VIN (visiVIN or visi-vin). Confirming that the VIN on the vehicle matches the paperwork is one of the most important checks to conduct when buying a used car.
Vehicle Identification Number Not to be confused with the Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM), the Vehicle Identification Number (sometimes called the VIN or Vehicle Information Number) is a unique 17 character code given to each new vehicle. It can be found at various locations around the vehicle (e.g. on the windscreen just above the dashboard, in the engine bay or stamped into the chassis on the front door post) and also on the V5C vehicle registration document. The one on the windscreen is sometimes called a visible VIN (visiVIN or visi-vin). Confirming that the VIN on the vehicle matches the paperwork is one of the most important checks to conduct when buying a used car.
VIN check Mycarcheck can crossreference a VIN against our records to protect against buying a ringer or clone.
VIP In relation to Mycarcheck, VIP usually refers to Vehicle Information Publishing (as in VIP data), a business acquired by our parent company, CDL, in 2009.
Vehicle Registration Mark The VRM (vehicle registration mark), commonly known as the number plate or car reg, was introduced in the UK by the Motor Car Act 1903. All motor vehicles used on public roads must carry alphanumeric plates (white front plates and yellow back) and be listed on an official vehicle register.
VRM The vehicle registration mark (VRM), commonly known as the number plate or car reg, was introduced in the UK by the Motor Car Act 1903. All motor vehicles used on public roads must carry alphanumeric plates (white front plates and yellow back) and be listed on an official vehicle register.
Warranty A warranty is a guarantee, effectively an insurance policy, issued by the manufacturer of a product (e.g. a vehicle or component part), or the provider of a service, promising to repair or replace it if necessary within a specified period of time.
Wheel plan Wheel plan refers to the number, layout and operation of wheels and axles e.g most cars will have four wheels and two axles (one or both of which will steer), a truck might have six wheels and three axles (one or more of which will steer).
Wheelbase In cars, the wheelbase is the distance between the centre of the front and rear wheels. For trucks, it is defined differently e.g. as the distance between the front axle and the centre of the driving axle. It is often used to describe floorspace.
Whiplash Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head (forwards, backwards or sideways). Common symptoms include neck pain or stiffness and difficulty moving your head. Road accidents are one of the most common causes of whiplash.
Whole Life Cost Whole life cost (WLC) is the total cost of running a vehicle over a defined period of time, including deprecation, fuel and servicing. As such, it is a useful measure when comparing options and gauging value for money.
WI-FI Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology which uses radio waves to provide high-speed internet connections. In-car wi-fi is becoming increasingly common, either built-in or via an aftermarket dongle.
Winter Tyre Winter tyres are designed to improve traction in cold, icy conditions. Manufacturers highlight the benefits over all-season tyres in temperatures below seven degrees celsius. They are mandatory in some Scandinavian countries and are increasingly popular in the UK.
With Maintenance With Maintenance is a term used in finance or leasing agreements. It means that repairs and servicing are included for a specified period of time or a certain number of miles.
WLC WLC (whole life cost) is the total cost of running a vehicle over a defined period of time, including deprecation, fuel and servicing. As such, it is a useful measure when comparing options and gauging value for money.
Write off grade In the UK there are four categories of a write-off, which were updated in 2017. A, B, C and D were replaced with A (scrap), B (break), S (structurally damaged repairable) and N (non-structurally damaged repairable).
Write-off A write-off (write off or insurance write-off) is an accident damaged vehicle which the insurer considers uneconomical to repair. In the UK there are four categories of a write-off, which were updated in 2017. A, B, C and D were replaced with A (scrap), B (break), S (structurally damaged repairable) and N (non-structurally damaged repairable). Category A and B write-offs should never return to the road. Leaving the safety aspect aside, there’s the impact on desirability and value to consider with S and N (and the old C and D) grade write-offs.
Written-off? Mycarcheck holds data on vehicles written-off by an insurance company (A, B, C or D, or the new A, B, S or N) and the date of the write-off.
Cat A Category A write-off where the insurer deems the vehicle cannot be repaired, the vehicle will need to be crushed.
Cat B Category B write-off where the insurer deems the vehicle cannot be repaired and the body shell will need to be crushed, however other parts can still be salvaged.
Cat C Category C write-off where the insurer deems the vehicle can be repaired but would cost more than the vehicle was worth. The vehicle can be used again if it was repaired to a roadworthy condition.
Cat D Category D write-off where the insurer deems the vehicle can be repaired but the cost of repair plus additional costs (like transporting the vehicle) meant it was uneconomical to do so. The vehicle can be used again if it was repaired to a roadworthy condition.
Cat N Category N write-off where the insurer deems the vehicle can be repaired if the vehicle does not have any structural damage. The vehicle can be used again if it was repaired to a roadworthy condition.
Cat S Category S write-off where the insurer deems the vehicle can be repaired even though the vehicle has structural damage. The vehicle can be used again if it was repaired to a roadworthy condition.

thinking about buying your next vehicle?

search
It's never easy choosing your next car, a vehicle check can help you be confident you’re making the right choice. We help take the stress out of making that key car buying decision by providing you with the critical information you need.
check
So which vehicle check is right for you? For your initial research the free Factsheet check is ideal. The Basic check is perfect for your shortlist and most importantly, before you buy, get a Comprehensive vehicle check to be completely car confident.
drive
We tell you important information such as if the car is recorded as being stolen, written off, has a loan outstanding on it, and much more. All based on the latest information we’ve received from trusted sources like the Police, DVLA, MIAFTR and finance firms.
Search

cookie notice
mycarcheck uses cookies and related technologies to deliver, maintain and improve our services. By using this site you agree to their use.

Using this website enables: necessary cookies - core functionality such as security, network management, & accessibility, you may disable these by changing browser settings, this may prevent the website from functioning correctly; analytics cookies - mycarcheck collects information in a way that does not directly identify anyone, this data enables us to manage the website & provide infrastructure & systems needed for reliable operation. further details.