Basic Car Terms Everyone Should Know

Basic Car Terms Everyone Should Know
May 27, 2022

We’ve heard them before, but do you know what some of these common car terms truly are? Some of these terms can feel like a different language to some. So, we are going to break down some of the most common car terms out there, so you sound like a true car expert.

Fuel Injector

Fuel injectors spray fuel into a car’s engine using electronic controlled valves, capable of opening and closing many times a second. They have an atomizing nozzle that distributes the gas or diesel evenly, for optimum combustion and efficiency.


Sticky Friction. It is the burnt-on gunk that gets left behind when oil gets hot. Both Gas and Diesel engines will slowly build up stiction over time and slow down because of it. To clean up your vehicle try our Stiction Eliminator.


2-wheel drive. The engine drives power to only 2 of the four wheels.


4-wheel drive. indicates a system in which a car’s engine powers all 4 wheels uniformly. Great for off-roading.


All-wheel drive refers to a system where all four wheels can gain traction independently of each other. This makes for better handling on icy or slick roads.

Straight6, V6, V8, Slant 6

All of these are different engine arrangements. Engine arrangements can vary between the number and placement of cylinders.


These are exhaust driven devices that force more air into the engine. They are easier to install and cheaper than a supercharger.


Torque is part of the basic specification of an engine: the power output of an engine is expressed as its torque multiplied by its rotational speed of the axis. Internal-combustion engines produce useful torque only over a limited range of rotational speeds (typically from around 1,000–6,000 rpm for a small car). The measurement is in units pound-feet and newton-meters.


One of the four, six or eight cavities in the engine block in which pistons are located and where combustion action occurs.


All of the parts of a car that work together to deliver power to the car’s wheels. The components differ depending on the type of vehicle (manual, automatic transmission, front-wheel or four wheel-drive). The engine is not included into the drivetrain.


Also adds more air to the engine, but where the Turbo is exhaust driven, small and inexpensive. Superchargers run off HP from the camshaft, are large and pricey.


An anti-lock brake system is a built-in system that stops your brakes from fully locking up. That sounds bad but they provide the driver with more stability and prevent the car from spinning out of control, on wet or slippery surfaces


Horsepower refers to the power an engine produces. It’s calculated through the power needed to move 550 pounds one foot in one second or by the power needs to move 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute.


A VIN or Vehicle Identification Number is a number composed of 17 characters given to a specific vehicle. Think of it as fingerprint for a car.

There are a ton more terms out there as car talk is like its own foreign language, we only just scratched the surface, but these terms should help you get started to help you talk around the garage. Find the necessary oil, additives and automotive items you need to help keep your vehicle’s engine running smoothly at Hot Shot’s Secret. Contact us for more information and tips or find what you’re looking for in our expansive inventory.