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Automotive and Legal Glossary

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115V AC outlet

An electrical socket receiving 115V AC current produced by a vehicle’s charging system.

12V DC outlet

An electrical socket receiving 12V DC current produced and stored by a vehicle’s charging system.


A drivetrain that employs two differentials and a transfer case to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.

a/c compressor

An engine-driven pump in the air conditioning system that increases the pressure of the refrigerant.

a/c drain hose

A hose used to drain condensation from the air conditioner evaporator.


An antilock braking system. A computer-controlled system that prevents brakes from locking up and tires from skidding during hard braking.


A throttle in the form of a foot-operated pedal, or sometimes a hand-operated lever or paddle, by which the flow of fuel to the engine (and thereby the engine speed) is controlled, with depression of the pedal causing the vehicle to accelerate.

accelerator pedal linkage

The linkage between the accelerator pedal and a vehicle’s throttle body or carburetor.


A proceeding taken in a court of law. Synonymous with case, suit, and lawsuit.

active pedestrian protection system

An electronic system designed to warn drivers of impending pedestrian traffic.

actual cash value

Also known as “ACV,” a method of valuing insured property that is computed by subtracting depreciation (based on the property’s age and condition) from its replacement cost. Compare “Replacement cost.”

adaptive cruise control

A laser- or radar-sensing cruise control system that causes a vehicle to automatically slow or stop in order to avoid front-end collisions.

adaptive headlights

Headlights that turn as the driver turns the steering wheel, for the purpose of improving illumination in the direction of the turn.

additional insured

A person other than the named insured or covered person who is protected under the named insured’s auto policy.


A judgment or decree.

adjustable pedals

Accelerator and brake pedals that can be moved closer to or further away from the driver’s seat.

adjustable suspension

A suspension that offers driver-selectable damper (and sometimes spring) firmness settings to suit varying conditions and personal preferences.

adversary system

The basic U.S. trial system in which each of the opposing parties has the opportunity to state their viewpoints before the court. The plaintiff argues for the defendant’s guilt (criminal) or liability (civil), while the defense argues for the defendant’s innocence (criminal) or against liability (civil).

aerodynamic drag

The force exerted by the flow field of air moving in the opposite direction on a moving vehicle.


A written declaration made under oath.


The assertion of an appellate court that the judgment of the lower court is correct and should stand.

aftermarket accessory

An accessory or piece of equipment that is not included in the vehicle as manufactured, but is purchased and installed at the dealership or other automotive establishment.

air brake

A brake system that uses compressed air to actuate the brake mechanism, typically found in commercial vehicles.

air conditioner refrigerant

The refrigerant used in air conditioning systems that has the ability to boil at ambient air temperatures.

air conditioning

The process of cooling and reducing humidity in a vehicle’s cabin air.

air conditioning filter

A device that removes pollutants from the air entering the ventilation system.

air filter

A filter that cleans the air supplied to the engine.

air filter restriction indicator

A device that detects blockages in the air filter system.

air filtration

The process of removing solid particles, such as dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria, from a vehicle’s cabin air through a filter in the ventilation system.

air pollution score

A score given by the EPA to each new vehicle on a scale of 0 to 10, representing the amount of air pollutants produced during a laboratory driving simulation of the vehicle.

air pump filter

A device that eliminates contaminants from the air supply to the air injection system.

airbag deactivation

A system that uses sensors in a vehicle’s front passenger seat to determine whether to activate the seat’s front airbag based on the presence of an individual of sufficient weight.


An inflatable cushion that deploys during a major impact to reduce the chance of a vehicle occupant coming into contact with the vehicle’s interior surfaces.


A statement made by a party in a legal case outlining the evidence they plan to present in court.


Formal response to a claim, either admitting or denying the allegations made.


An electric generator, typically found in a vehicle, that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The generator is powered by the engine and uses a magnet and a stationary armature to create an alternating current, which is then stored in the battery.

angle of approach

The maximum angle of an inclined road that a vehicle can drive onto from a level road without the front of the vehicle making contact with the inclined surface.

angle of departure

The maximum angle of an inclined road that a vehicle can drive onto from a level road without the rear of the vehicle making contact with the inclined surface.


A written response to a legal claim, in which the respondent either admits or denies the allegations made in the claim.

antenna type

The type of antenna used in vehicle audio and navigation systems, such as a mast, power telescoping, element, or diversity antenna.


A chemical, often ethylene glycol, added to a vehicle’s cooling water to decrease its freezing point for winter operation when ambient temperatures may be below the freezing point of water.

antilock brake system high pressure hose

The reinforced hose or hoses (with metal fittings at either end) that carry high pressure hydraulic fluid used in an antilock brake system are called ABS brake lines.

anti-theft codes

A four- to six-digit numerical key necessary to return functionality to a vehicles audio head unit after it has been removed or disconnected from the battery is called an audio anti-theft code.

anti-theft device

Devices designed to reduce the chance an auto will be vandalized or stolen, or assist in its recovery are called anti-theft devices. These include car alarms, keyless entry, starter disablers, motion detectors, parts of the vehicle etched with the Vehicle Identification Number, and recovery systems.

anti-theft immobilizer

An electronic device that works together with a key (that includes a small transmitter) and that prevents the engine from starting when the key is not present is called an immobilizer.

anti-theft remote control

An electronic device that unlocks a vehicles doors and, in some cases, opens its trunk, rolls down its windows and opens and closes its sunroof is called a keyless entry system.


The roof support structure on either side of a vehicle’s windshield is called an A-pillar.


Review of a case by a higher court is called an appeal.


The formal proceeding by which a defendant submits to the jurisdiction of the court is called an arraignment.


The hearing and settlement of a dispute between opposing parties by a third party whose decision the parties have agreed to accept is called arbitration.

articulated vehicle

A vehicle consisting of two or more separable wheeled units, such as a towing vehicle and a trailer, that is often unpowered and carrying a load is known as a trailer truck or semi-trailer truck. Articulation is the movement of the units that allows the vehicle to steer and navigate road surface irregularities.

assigned risk

Risks that are not ordinarily acceptable to insurers but are assigned to insurers participating in a plan that agrees to accept these risks according to state law are called assigned risks.

at issue

The time in a lawsuit when the complaining party has stated their claim and the other side has responded with denial is called the pleading stage.


An advanced technology-partial zero emission vehicle is a vehicle that meets PZEV emissions standards and has additional zero-emissions characteristics, such as operation by natural gas or hybrid vehicle batteries.


Honda’s Automatic Torque Transfer System is a system that distributes an engine’s torque output proportionately between the driven axles to maximize its effectiveness.

atts unit fluid

Hydraulic fluid used in Hondas Automatic Torque Transfer System.

auto shift lock/starter safety switch

A device that prevents the starter from functioning unless the shifter is in the park or neutral position, and prevents the shifter from being moved unless the brake pedal is depressed.

auto-delay headlights

A feature that keeps the headlights on for a period after a vehicle is shut off to provide the occupants with light as they walk away from the vehicle.

auto-leveling suspension

A suspension that adjusts the height of the vehicle so that its rear stays even with the front when cargo is carried; some systems offer multiple height settings for off-road, normal and high-speed operation.

automated manual transmission

A transmission that employs electronic, pneumatic and/or hydraulic actuators in place of a conventional clutch pedal, and a purely mechanical shift lever. The driver may select either fully automatic shift mode or driver-controlled shift mode.

automatic door unlock

A device that automatically unlocks a vehicles doors after a collision.

automatic transaxle

A combination transmission and differential/drive axle assembly.

automatic transaxle pressure filter

The external filter on an automatic transmission.

automatic transmission

A type of transmission that uses a torque converter, planetary gearset, and clutches or bands to automatically change the gears of a vehicle.

automatic transmission bands

In an automatic transmission, circular straps lined with a friction material that are actuated to tighten around and stop the rotation of a drum as part of the shifting process.

automatic transmission cooler hoses

Flexible tubes that carry transmission fluid to and from a heat exchanger or oil cooler to cool and lubricate the transmission.

automatic transmission filter

A component in most automatic transmissions that is fitted over the fluid intake, usually in the pan, to prevent debris and other contaminants from circulating throughout the transmission and potentially causing unnecessary wear or damage. Some transmissions use a reusable metal or nylon mesh-type screen instead of a disposable filter.

automatic transmission fluid

The fluid used for lubricating and cooling an automatic transmission, typically a type of oil.

automobile insurance

A type of insurance coverage that provides protection against damage to the insured’s vehicle caused by collisions with other vehicles or objects, as well as against theft.

auxilary features

The factory-installed, optional parts that supplement similar existing systems, such as a transmission cooler, engine cooler, or a secondary gas tank, that are typically available on trucks and SUVs are known as “accessories.”

auxiliary input (audio)

A method of connecting a peripheral media player to a vehicle’s entertainment system is done either through a wired connection (using an RCA jack, a USB port, or a 1/8″ TRS plug) or wirelessly (using Bluetooth, A2DP, or infrared).

auxiliary lighting

A halogen lamp or light-emitting diode (LED) that is used to illuminate a specific region or part of a vehicle, such as the glove box or footwell, and is not located in the vehicle’s headliner is called an “accent light.”

awareness aids

Electronic devices that are designed to keep a driver awake and alert while driving a vehicle are called “drowsiness detection systems” or “fatigue warning systems.”


All-wheel drive is a drivetrain that uses a front, rear, and center differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.


An axle is a horizontal transverse shaft or beam with spindles on which road wheels are mounted. There are many different types of axles, typically distinguished by their placement and intended use. Vehicles are often classified by the number of axles they have.

axle drive fluid

The liquid used for lubricating the gears inside the axle.

axle ratio

The number of revolutions a vehicle’s driveshaft makes for each revolution of the vehicle’s drive axle(s).


A written directive issued by a court that directs a person to perform, or refrain from performing, a specific act.



An explosion of unburned or partially burned fuel that occurs in an exhaust or inlet system, rather than in the combustion chamber as intended.

backup assistance

A device or system of devices (usually a park distance sensor or a back-up camera) designed to aid a driver’s control of a vehicle in reverse.

balance shaft belt

A cogged belt that drives a shaft (usually in synchronization with the engine’s crankshaft) in order to smooth out vibrations. This type of belt is typically used in engines with multiple accessory components, such as the alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor, and is designed to provide improved grip and reduced slipping compared to V-belts.

ball joint

A ball joint is a type of mechanical joint in which a spherical end (the ball) moves freely within a recessed cavity of the same shape (the socket), commonly used in suspension and steering linkages.

base price

The base price of a vehicle is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) before options, destination fee, any dealer advertising fee, and other costs are added.

basic limits of liability

The minimum amount of liability insurance that can be purchased. Insurance carriers use the basic limits to determine base rates, and then apply an increased limits factor to calculate the premium for higher coverage limits.

basic warranty

A vehicle warranty that covers almost all parts of a vehicle, excluding items that are subject to wear and tear or routine replacement, such as oil and air filters, wiper blades, and brake pads. Tires and batteries are often excluded from this type of warranty, but may have their own separate warranty from the manufacturers. By law, emissions equipment must be covered for at least two years or 24,000 miles.

battery disconnect

A device that automatically disconnects a vehicle’s battery after a collision. This is done to prevent electrical fires and other hazards in the event of a crash.

bed dimensions

The physical dimensions of a truck’s bed, consisting of width, height, and depth.

bed extender

A device that may be added to a pickup truck’s bed when the tailgate is open, that sits on top of the tailgate, and that forms an enclosure that permits items that extend past the bed and onto the tailgate to be carried without risk of falling out.

bed features

Factory-installed, optional accessories that add functionality or longevity to a truck’s bed, such as a bed extender, tonneau cover, or bed liner, that are typically available on trucks and SUVs.

bed length measurement

The inside length of a pickup truck’s cargo box or “bed,” measured from the front wall to the face of the closed tailgate.

bed liner

A heavy-duty plastic liner or spray-on coating that protects the inner painted surface of a pickup truck’s cargo box.

bed type

There are many different types of truck beds, including long beds, short beds, flare-side beds, step-side beds, dually beds, flat beds, dump beds, and tanks for trucks and SUVs.


The horizontal line defined by the lower edges of a vehicle’s windscreen, rear and side windows, and pillars.

best evidence

The best evidence that is available. Any evidence that falls short of this standard is considered secondary.

bi-lebel purge valve

A valve that limits the flow of vapor from the charcoal canister to the intake during idling in an evaporative emissions system.

biodiesel blend

A fuel that is a mixture of petroleum-based diesel and plant-based diesel.

blind spot

The area behind and to the side of a vehicle that is hard to see in either the side or rear view mirrors.

blind spot detection

An electronic system that warns you when there are other cars or motorcycles in your blind spot.

block heater

An electric heater that is installed into a freeze plug hole in an engine block. It preheats the engine coolant in order to help start a vehicle under extremely cold weather conditions.

bodily injury liability

Liability insurance covers legal liability for causing physical injury or death to another.


The outer panels that shroud the mechanical and electrical workings of a vehicle.

body water drains

Strategically located holes that provide an escape route for water that would otherwise remain trapped within a vehicle’s body.


Upholstered foam supports that are integrated into a vehicle seat. They help keep the driver or passenger in an optimal position, providing additional support and comfort during driving. Seat bolsters are commonly found on sports and performance vehicles, where they help to improve the seating position and provide added stability.


The diameter, in inches, of the cylinders in the vehicle’s engine.


The vertical roof support structure located between the front and rear doors on a typical vehicle.

brake booster

A vacuum-based device that amplifies the foot pressure applied to power brakes.

brake booster bellcrank pivot

The linkage pivot points behind some brake boosters.

brake drying

A system that dries the brake pads through light friction just before a full stop is initiated. It uses the ABS pump to bring the brake pads close to the rotors without significantly engaging them.

brake fluid

The fluid used in the hydraulic brake system.

brake lines, hoses & connections

The tubes and their connections that carry brake fluid between the various components in a vehicle’s brake system.

brake linings

A high-friction, heat-resistant material that is attached to the brake shoes in a rear drum brake system.

brake master cylinder

A device that stores brake fluid and hydraulically forces it through the brake lines to the brakes when the brake pedal is depressed.

brake pads

A high-friction material attached to a metal backing plate.

brake pedal

A device used to control a vehicle’s brakes.

brake pedal spring

A spring attached to the pedal assembly that provides some resistance during pedal depression and also assists in returning the pedal to an upright position.

braking assist

A system that monitors the swiftness of a driver’s brake pedal application and applies additional braking force if it determines that a panic stop is occurring.

branded title

A permanent designation on a vehicle’s title, registration, or permit documents that indicates that a vehicle has incurred damage the repair of which is not possible or would cost more than the vehicle is worth, or that the vehicle has been sold for scrap. While branding designations vary by state, typical branding titles include rebuilt, salvage, irreparable, and theft recovery.

breakover angle

The maximum angle at which a vehicle can traverse a sharp ridge without making contact or hanging up between axles.


A legal document, prepared by an attorney, that presents the law and facts supporting their client’s case.

brush guard

A metallic, tubular attachment to the front bumper of a vehicle that shields and protects the vehicle from plant life when driven off-road.


A metallic, tubular attachment that is attached to the front bumper of a vehicle. It is designed to shield and protect the vehicle from plant life, rocks, and other obstacles when driving off-road. This type of skid plate is typically found on vehicles that are designed for off-road use, such as SUVs and trucks.

burden of proof

The measure of proof required to prove a fact. It is the obligation of a party to probe facts at issue in the trial of a case.


cabin lighting

A system of halogen lamps and/or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) located in a vehicle’s headliner that illuminates the vehicle’s interior space in its entirety.


A docket is a list of cases arranged for hearing in court.


The mechanism in a disc brake system that brings the brake pads to bear on the disc by a clamping or pinching action.

caliper configuration

The number of hydraulic pistons used in a vehicle’s brake caliper and their arrangement in relation to each other.

caliper type

There are three types of brake calipers: monoblock, sliding, and dual sliding.

camber angle

The angle between the plane defined by the circumference of the wheels and the vertical axis of the body or chassis of a vehicle, as viewed from the front or rear of the vehicle. If the top of the wheel is tilted outward, away from the body, the wheel is said to have positive camber; if the top is tilted inward, towards the body, it is said to have negative camber. Angled wheels are sometimes an intentional part of a vehicle’s design, but most ordinary road vehicles are intended to have minimal or neutral camber (i.e. the wheels are completely parallel to the body and perpendicular to the road surface).

cap reduction

The process of reducing the cost of the vehicle being leased. In a vehicle lease, this can be achieved through a trade-in amount, cash down payment, or rebate amount that reduces the vehicle’s “capitalized cost.”


The heading or introductory clause that shows the names of the parties, the name of the court, the number of the case, etc.

carbon dioxide

A naturally occurring “greenhouse gas” that is also a byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels. It consists of two oxygen atoms bonded to a single carbon atom.

carbon footprint

A measure of a vehicle’s total consumption of natural resources weighed against the Earth’s ability to regenerate those resources.

carbon monoxide

A “greenhouse gas” that is a byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels. It consists of a single carbon atom bonded to a single oxygen atom.


A device used on older internal combustion gasoline engines. It is mounted on the engine’s intake manifold and supplies fuel to the engine.

cargo area features

Built-in amenities that serve a specific purpose in the cargo areas of a vehicle.

cargo door type

There are three types of cargo doors: liftgate, vertical split-hinge, and horizontal split-hinge.

cargo hauler

Avehicle that is well-adapted for hauling cargo.

cargo tie downs

Hooks, straps, or eyelets that function as anchors for cargo nets and ropes used to secure objects.


Any proceeding, action, cause, lawsuit, or controversy initiated through the court system by filing a complaint, petition, indictment, or information.


The number of cases they handle in a specific time period.

castor angle

The angular displacement of the steering axis from the vertical axis of a steered wheel, as seen from the side of the vehicle.

catalytic converter

A canister in the exhaust system, usually situated before the muffler, containing a substance that reacts chemically with the exhaust in order to reduce harmful emissions.

catalytic converter heat shield

A metal panel, which may be insulated, that is used to prevent the catalytic converter heat from harming surrounding areas.

cause of action

A legal claim.

center console trim

Wood, composite, leather, or metal adornments intended to supplement the aesthetic elements of a vehicle’s center console.

center of gravity

A hypothetical point at which all of the mass of an object acts as if it were concentrated. For a vehicle, the lower the center of gravity, the less likely the vehicle will roll over when it is destabilized.

certification sales region

A geographic area (usually identified by the states of which it consists) in which a specific vehicle is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be sold to the public.

certified pre-owned vehicle

A used vehicle offered for sale by a franchised dealer for that vehicle make and who follows the manufacturer’s requirements for “certifying” the vehicle (including inspection and service) and which, upon sale, is accompanied by a manufacturer-backed warranty.


The procedure for removing a case from a lower court or administrative agency to a higher court for review.

challenge for cause

A request by a party that the court excuse a specific juror on the basis that the juror is biased.

charcoal canister

A device that captures raw fuel vapors (hydrocarbons) from a vehicle’s fuel tank and carburetor bowl before they can escape into the air.


The structural lower part of a vehicle to which the running gear and body are attached, or more generally the main load-bearing framework which supports all of a vehicle’s mechanical parts and other components and on which the body is mounted. It can be compared to a rolling chassis.

child seat

An additional seat and harness specifically designed for the safety of small children and designed to work with a vehicle’s built-in restraint system.

child seat anchors

Attachment points that accept child safety seats built to ISOFIX international standards. In the USA, they are commonly referred to as the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system.

childproof safety features

The option(s) to disable a vehicle’s windows, door locks, and/or passenger airbag in order to prevent injury to children.


A valve that restricts the amount of air entering an engine on the induction stroke, thereby enriching the fuel-to-air ratio for ease of starting and running, especially when the engine is cold.

choke linkage

The assembly of parts that controls a valve that limits incoming cold air until the engine reaches operating temperature and is able to more efficiently vaporize fuel.


A court order to appear in court. It can also refer to references to authorities in support of a legal argument.

city fuel economy

The average number of miles a vehicle is able to travel using one gallon of fuel according to EPA simulated laboratory tests of city driving conditions.

civil law

All law that is not criminal law. It usually pertains to the settlement of disputes between individuals, organizations or groups and has to do with the establishment, recovery, or redress of private and civil rights.


The assertion of a right to money or property.

clearance volume

The volume remaining in a cylinder above the piston when it reaches top dead center.

clerk of the court

An officer of a court whose principal duty is to maintain court records and preserve evidence presented during a trial.

climate control

The computer-controlled regulation of heating and air conditioning systems to accommodate a user-specified temperature setting.

climate-controlled seat filter

An air filter for air-conditioned seats.


Odometer fraud, or clocking, is the illegal tampering with a vehicle’s odometer reading.


An experienced dealership sales or sales manager who attempts, towards the end of the negotiation process, to either improve the deal for the dealership or to persuade a hesitant buyer to commit to the purchase.

closing argument

The closing statement, by counsel, to the trier of facts after all parties have concluded their presentation of evidence.

clutch bushing & linkage

The parts of the mechanical connection between the clutch and clutch pedal in a non-hydraulic clutch system.

clutch fluid

The liquid used in a hydraulic clutch system that helps disengage the clutch from the flywheel.

clutch form ball stud

The pivot ball, or clutch form ball stud, is the pivot point for the clutch fork in the clutch housing of a manual transmission.

clutch lines & hoses

These hydraulic lines are the tubes that carry fluid between the clutch master cylinder and the slave cylinder in a hydraulically actuated clutch.

clutch master cylinder

A small-bore hydraulic cylinder mechanically connected to the clutch pedal that actuates a slave cylinder, which in turn actuates the clutch fork that disengages the clutch when the clutch pedal is depressed.

clutch pedal

The pedal located on the floor of the vehicle to the left of the brake pedal that, when depressed, disengages the clutch from the flywheel.


A collection, compendium or revision of laws systematically arranged into chapters, table of contents and index and promulgated by legislative authority.

collapsible steering column

A steering column that collapses in the event of a hard frontal impact to reduce the risk of injury to the driver.

collision insurance

Vehicle insurance that covers damage caused by a collision with another vehicle or object.

combined fuel economy

The average number of miles a vehicle is able to travel using one gallon of fuel according to EPA simulated laboratory tests that consist of 55% highway and 45% city driving conditions.

combustion chamber

The part of an internal combustion engine in which combustion occurs; in particular the space within a cylinder bounded by the top of the piston when at top dead center and the cylinder head in a reciprocating engine. Since most of the fuel/air mixture’s combustion takes place in this space, its volume, shape, and design greatly affect the power, fuel efficiency, and emissions of the engine.


To commit a person to prison, a reformatory, or an asylum is to lawfully send them to one of these institutions.

common law

A type of law that derives its authority solely from usage and customs of immemorial antiquity, or from the judgments and decrees of courts. It is also known as “case law.”

comparative negiligence

A concept in civil law that refers to the negligence of a plaintiff in a lawsuit, which decreases their recovery by their percentage of negligence compared to the defendant’s negligence.


A device that shows the direction a vehicle is facing, either in digital or analog format.


The qualifications that make a witness legally competent to provide testimony in a court of law.


The first document filed by the plaintiff in a civil case that outlines their claims against the defendant.

comprehensive coverage

Insurance coverage for damage to a vehicle from events other than a collision or overturn, such as fire, theft, vandalism, or falling objects.

compression ratio

The ratio between the maximum and minimum combined volume of an internal combustion engine’s cylinder and combustion chamber.


A storage area located in a vehicle’s dashboard or headliner, between seats or underneath the seats.

contempt of court

An act that is meant to embarrass, hinder or obstruct a court in the administration of justice. Direct contempt is committed in the presence of the court; indirect contempt is when a lawful order is not carried out or refused.


The adjournment of the proceedings in a case from one day to another.

convertible roof type

The type of convertible roof tops, including soft tops, hard tops, T-tops, Targa-style tops, and tops that are manual or power operated.

convertible wind blocker

A glass or plastic shield on a convertible vehicle that prevents reversion of high-velocity air as it passes over the low-pressure, low-velocity air in the passenger compartment.


The mixture of water and ethylene glycol known as antifreeze has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than plain water. This mixture is used to prevent the engine from overheating and freezing in extreme temperatures.

cooled seats

Seats with the ability to blow cool air from the air conditioning system through small holes in the center of the seat bottom. This allows for a more comfortable seating experience in hot weather.

cooling fan & shroud

A fan, which can be mechanically, hydraulically, or electrically driven, is used to pull cooling air through a vehicle’s radiator. The shroud surrounding the fan and radiator creates a direct passage for the air, improving the fan’s effectiveness in cooling the engine.

cornering brake control

A feature of some antilock brake systems, known as oversteer prevention, uses sensors to detect the vehicle’s motion and apply brake force to individual wheels in order to maintain stability and prevent the vehicle from spinning out.

cornering lights

A pair of white driving lights located at the front corners of a vehicle can aid in cornering by providing additional illumination.

corroborating evidence

Supplementary evidence is additional information that supports or confirms previous evidence presented in a case.


An allowance for expenses, known as an attorney fee, is provided to cover the costs of prosecuting or defending a legal case. This allowance does not typically include the attorney’s fees themselves.

counter claim

Claim presented by a defendant in opposition to, or deduction from, the claim of the plaintiff.


A place where justice is administered.

court administrator

The person responsible for the administrative, non-judicial affairs of the court.

court commissioner

A judicial officer at both trial and appellate court levels who performs many of the same duties as judges and justices.

court of appeals

An intermediate appellate court to which most appeals are taken from the superior court.

court of limited jurisdiction

The lowest level of the court system, including district, municipal, and police courts.

court superior

A state trial court of general jurisdiction.

court supreme

The highest court in the state and the final court of appeal.


The support structure on either side of the rear window on a typical sedan or coupe.

crankcase breather

A ventilation system or device that allows excess pressure in the crankcase to escape.

crankcase depression regulator valve

A device that is installed in the crankcase to prevent excessive pressure from building up. This can help prevent oil from leaking past the seals and potentially damaging the engine. The crankcase pressure relief valve is typically connected to a filter, which helps prevent foreign particles from entering the crankcase and potentially causing damage. The valve and filter work together to ensure the proper functioning of the engine and protect it from damage.

crankcase ventilation filter

A system that includes a filter that prevents foreign particles from entering the crankcase and causing damage to the engine. This filter is an important part of the engine’s overall design and helps to ensure its long-term reliability and performance.


A linear shaft that converts the up and down motion of the pistons into rotational motion. This is accomplished through a series of crank throws or crankpins, which are additional bearing surfaces attached to the connecting rods of the pistons. The crankshaft is often attached to a flywheel and dampers to reduce unwanted vibrations and pulsations from the engine’s four-stroke cycle.

crash test ratings

Ratings that represent a vehicle’s performance in various crash tests, published by the organization(s) that conduct such tests. These ratings help consumers understand the safety of a vehicle and can be used to compare different models.

criminal law

The body of law that pertains to crimes against the state or conduct that is detrimental to society as a whole. Violations of criminal statutes are punishable by law.

cross examination

The act of questioning a witness by the party that is opposed to the one who produced the witness.

cruise control

A device that can be engaged by the driver to automatically control a vehicle’s speed.

crumple zone

A part of a vehicle’s structure that is designed to collapse during an impact in order to absorb energy.

curb weight

The total weight of an unladen vehicle, including standard equipment and all consumables necessary for operation such as water, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, etc. and sometimes a full tank of fuel. The definition may vary depending on the location.

curtain airbags

Wide-spanning airbags that deploy to cover the side glass in a side impact or rollover situation. This helps to keep the occupants’ heads and limbs inside the vehicle for added protection.

customer cash incentive

A cash payment made by the manufacturer of a vehicle to a customer to incentivize its purchase.

CV joints

A type of joint that is located at the ends of the drive axles and allows for the transmission of engine power while enabling full movement of the steering and suspension systems. These joints are protected by black accordion-style boots that also hold lubricant.


A transmission system that uses a continuously variable drive ratio rather than fixed gear ratios to maintain a steady acceleration without pauses for gear changes.

cylinder configuration

The cylinder layout of an engine.

cylinder deactivation

A feature of some engines that allows the engine to shut off certain cylinders to maximize fuel efficiency.

cylinder head bolts

Bolts that hold an engine’s cylinder heads in place on the engine block.



Compensation awarded by a court to a person who has suffered loss, harm, or injury to their person, property, or rights due to the unlawful act or negligence of another.

de novo

A completely new trial held in a higher or appellate court as if the original trial never took place. This is also known as a “trial de novo.”

dealer cash incentives

Amounts that are paid to dealers by manufacturers to stimulate vehicle sales by incentivizing the dealers to lower their prices to consumers, typically paid or earned upon the dealers purchase of the vehicle from the manufacturer, upon the dealers sale of the vehicle, or when the dealer achieve specified sales volume targets.

dealer holdback

After a new vehicle is sold, the manufacturer pays the dealer a percentage of the vehicle’s MSRP or invoice price (depending on the manufacturer) as compensation for their part in the sale.

death brake

A system that includes a heart rate sensor and automatically applies the brakes when the driver’s heart stops beating, potentially preventing accidents or injuries.

deceleration fuel cut-off

A system that automatically reduces the fuel supply to the engine during coasting or braking, improving fuel efficiency and providing more effective engine braking. When acceleration is needed, the fuel supply is resumed. This helps to save fuel and improve the vehicle’s performance.

deceleration system

An emissions device on a manually shifted vehicle that bleeds vacuum from the intake when the vehicle is in gear with the throttle closed. This causes the fuel injectors to close during conditions of deceleration and results in reduced emissions.

declamatory judgement

A legal decision that clarifies the rights and obligations of the parties involved in a case based on the applicable law.

declaration page

The part of a property or liability insurance policy that identifies the policyholder, the property covered, its location and description, the policy period, and the premiums and other details. This section is also known as the “Declaration of insurance.”


The act of disengaging a vehicle’s transmission from its driveshaft, either manually or automatically, when its driveshafts rpm exceeds the transmissions rpm. This prevents damage to the transmission and allows the vehicle to coast or slow down.


The judicial decision or order of the court. A final decree is the final decision in a case, while an interlocutory decree is a provisional or preliminary decision that is not final.


The amount an insured person must pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company begins covering the remainder of each covered loss, up to the policy limits.


A failure to respond to a legal document, such as a summons or complaint, within the required time period, or a failure to appear in court for a scheduled trial.


In a civil lawsuit, such as a car accident case, the defendant is the person being sued.

defense attorney

The lawyer representing the defendant in a lawsuit.


A demonstration vehicle is a car that has been used by a dealership to show potential customers the features and capabilities of the car. It may have been driven by multiple people and may have a higher mileage than a new car.


Testimony given under oath in a location outside of the courtroom, in accordance with court rules.


The amount by which a vehicle (or any physical item) loses its value over time. In vehicle lease transactions, the projected depreciation of the vehicle is used to determine the vehicles projected residual value and the monthly lease payments.

descent control

An off-road version of cruise control that uses the ABS and traction control systems to independently manipulate a vehicle’s four brakes, which allows the driver to descend steep and uneven terrain at a walking speed more effectively than the driver can by using a brake pedal that controls all four brakes at once. This system is often referred to as “hill descent control” or “hill descent mode.”

destination charge

An additional charge that the manufacturer imposes to cover the cost of delivering a vehicle from the factory to the dealership. This fee is not included in the vehicle’s MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) and is passed on to the consumer by the dealership. The destination fee for a particular vehicle is typically the same no matter where the dealership is located, with some exceptions for locations in Alaska and Hawaii.

diesel engine

A type of engine that uses diesel fuel and relies on compression ignition to generate power.

diesel engine hour meter

A tachometer, or diesel engine hour meter, is a device, either digital or analog, that displays the total number of hours a diesel engine has run over its lifetime.

diesel exhaust fluid (DEF)

Exhaust fluid, also known as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), is a liquid that is injected into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) before they enter the catalytic converter.


A system of gears that allows the input torque from a single shaft to be distributed to two output shafts, which may rotate at different speeds. This is useful for vehicles with two or more driven wheels, such as when cornering. The differential is typically used as the final drive in these vehicles.

differential fluid

A liquid used to lubricate the gears inside the differential.

direct examination

The questioning of a witness by the party who produced the witness.

direct injection system

A fuel injection system in which the injection nozzles are located inside the combustion chamber of each piston. This type of system is sometimes referred to as a “DSG,” “SMG,” “sequential manual gearbox,” or “automated manual transmission.” These terms are often used interchangeably with “automated manual transmission.”

direct shift gearbox

Sometimes referred to as a “DSG,” “SMG,” “sequential manual gearbox,” or “AMT,” is a type of transmission that combines the features of a manual transmission and an automatic transmission.

disc brake type

A type of brake component that can come in several different styles, including solid, vented, slotted, cross-drilled, ceramic, or carbon.

disc changer

A multi-disc CD changer, also known as an in-dash or remote-mounted CD player, is a device that can store and read multiple CDs or DVDs and play them through the vehicle’s audio system.


A pretrial proceeding in which a party to a legal action can learn about the facts known by other parties or witnesses involved in the case. This process is also known as “discovery of evidence.”

dismissal with prejudice

A decision made by a judge that dismisses a case and bars the losing party from raising the issue again in another lawsuit. However, the losing party may be allowed to sue again with the same cause of action if the judge’s decision is not considered final.

dismissal without prejudice

The losing party is permitted to sue again with the same cause of action.


A type of motor oil additive that helps to keep solid or liquid contaminants suspended in the oil, preventing them from settling or clumping and reducing the formation of sludge in the engine.


A measure of the total volume swept by the pistons in the cylinders of an internal combustion engine, excluding the volume of the combustion chambers. This value is often used as an indicator of an engine’s size and power potential, as well as its potential fuel consumption.

displacement (CCs)

The volume, in cubic centimeters, of a vehicle’s engine cylinder when the piston is at bottom dead center, multiplied by the total number of cylinders in the engine.

displacement factor

A measure of a vehicle’s performance that is typically calculated by dividing the product of the engine displacement and the axle ratio by the product of the drive wheel rolling ratio and the vehicle’s gross weight.


The final outcome or decision in a court case. It can also refer to the disposition of property or assets, meaning the distribution or transfer of ownership of these items. In general, disposition refers to the act of disposing or dealing with something, such as a matter or issue, in a decisive or conclusive manner.

disposition fee

A charge that a leasing company may impose at the end of a lease to cover the cost of retrieving and selling the leased vehicle if the lessee does not choose to purchase it. This fee is typically billed to the lessee after the vehicle has been returned.


A disagreement with the majority decision of a court expressed by one or more judges who were part of the panel that heard the case. A dissenting opinion is typically written by the dissenting judge or judges and is published along with the majority opinion.

distributor cap

A non-conductive component of a distributor that sits on top of the distributor and contains contacts that lead to each individual spark plug.

distributor rotor

A rotating, non-conductive component of a distributor that contains contacts that, when aligned, complete an electrical circuit between the ignition coil and a spark plug. The rotor rotates inside the distributor cap and makes contact with the cap’s contacts to deliver the spark that ignites the fuel in the engine’s cylinders.


The dipping of a vehicle’s front end that occurs when the brakes are applied. This phenomenon is caused by the transfer of weight from the rear to the front suspension, as the inertial force of forward motion passes through the vehicle’s center of gravity, which is typically higher than the points where the braking forces are applied to the ground. As a result, the front of the vehicle dips downward, giving the impression that the vehicle is diving forward.

diverter valve

A component found on engines equipped with an air pump. This valve is activated during deceleration and allows air from the air pump to enter the engine’s intake and dilute the air/fuel mixture. This is intended to reduce emissions during deceleration.

DMV fees

Fees that are payable to the state Department of Motor Vehicles for vehicle titling, registration, and license plates. These fees are typically required when a vehicle is purchased or registered in a particular state. The fees vary by state and are used to support the operations of the DMV and other related programs.


A book containing entries of all proceedings that take place in a court. This record may include transcripts of hearings, copies of pleadings and other documents, and the judge’s orders and decisions.

down payment

A cash payment credited against the purchase price of a vehicle, which reduces the amount that the buyer needs to finance. In a lease transaction, this payment is often referred to as a “capital reduction.”

downshift cable

A transmission cable that is connected to the throttle and shifts the transmission into a lower gear when the accelerator is depressed suddenly beyond a certain point. This allows the engine to provide more power and acceleration, which can be useful for passing or merging on the highway.


The rear most roof support structure on an SUV, minivan or wagon.

drain plug washer

A composition or plastic washer that is used on a bolt-type drain plug to create a seal and prevent leakage.

drive axle

A drive axle is an axle or axles that are used to transmit torque from the drivetrain, imparted via a differential, to one or more drive wheels. A drive axle is a type of driven axle, which means that it is powered by the drivetrain and rotates to provide forward motion to the vehicle.

drive axle boots

Drive axle boots, also known as constant velocity boots, are flexible, conical, accordion-like covers that contain lubricant and protect the constant-velocity joints on a drive axle shaft. These joints are an important part of the drive axle and allow the drive wheels to rotate at different speeds as the vehicle turns.

drive belt

A drive belt, also known as a serpentine belt, is a belt that transfers the rotation of the engine through the crankshaft pulley to drive various devices, such as the alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor, or power steering pump. This belt is typically made of rubber and is reinforced with cords or fibers to provide strength and durability.

drive belt tensioner

A belt tensioner is a self-adjusting device that is used to maintain proper tension on a drive belt. This helps to ensure that the belt stays in place and does not slip or come off the pulleys, which can cause damage or loss of power to the devices that the belt is driving.

drive shaft

A driveshaft is a sturdy metal tube with universal joints on either end that connects the engine to a differential on a rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle. The driveshaft transmits the power and torque generated by the engine to the differential, which then sends it to the drive axles and drive wheels.

drive system

The type of drive system: two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive

drive train mounts

Components that attach parts of a vehicle’s drivetrain (such as the transmission, transfer case, or differential housing) to the chassis are flexible and able to absorb energy.

drive wheel

The drive wheels are the ones that transform torque from the powertrain into tractive force and transmit that force to the road, allowing the vehicle to move forward or backward. The number of driven wheels can vary: two-wheel drive (2WD) vehicles have power applied to the front or back two wheels, four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles have power applied to all four wheels, and all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles can have power applied to any combination of wheels.

driver state sensor

A device that monitors a driver’s eye movement and/or vital signs while a vehicle is in motion is called a drowsiness monitor or fatigue monitor.


The drivetrain consists of all the components of a motor vehicle that are involved in delivering power to the drive wheels, excluding the engine or motor that generates the power. These components typically include the clutch (if present), transmission, drive shaft, differential, and one or more axles. The drivetrain is different from the powertrain, which includes the engine or motor.


The system of components that generates power and transmits it to a vehicle’s wheels.

driving lights

Auxiliary high-beam driving lamps are additional headlights that can be turned on to provide extra illumination when driving at night or in other low-visibility conditions.


A type of automated manual transmission that allows for quick and smooth gear shifts without the need for a traditional clutch pedal. In a DSG transmission, the gears are selected by the transmission control unit, which uses electro-hydraulic actuators to engage and disengage the gears. This type of transmission is commonly found in high-performance vehicles and is favored for its ability to provide quick and precise shifts while also improving fuel efficiency.

dual-mode hybrid

A hybrid vehicle with two different drive systems, referred to as Modes. In the first mode the vehicles runs solely on an electric motor powered by the vehicles battery system. When the electric-only mode is low on power, or during harder acceleration and faster speeds, a gasoline engine mode will initiate. The second Mode uses a gasoline engine to help power the vehicle and recharge the electrical system batteries.

due process

The right to a fair and impartial trial is a constitutional guarantee for an accused person.

dusk-sensing headlights

A feature that turns on the headlights and taillights automatically when the ambient light dims at sunset is called a dusk-sensing headlight system.



A fuel made up of gasoline or another hydrocarbon mixed with up to 85% denatured ethanol is called E85 fuel.

early termination

Ending a vehicle lease before its original term has expired is called terminating the lease.

easy entry

A device that automatically retracts a vehicle’s power seats and/or steering column when the engine is switched off is called an automatic power seat and/or steering column lock.”

egr system

The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system is a device that redirects a small amount of exhaust to the engine intake to lower combustion temperature and reduce the emission of nitrogen oxide.

electric battery type

The type of battery used to power the electric motor in a hybrid or electric vehicle can be lead-acid, flooded, gel, lithium ion, absorbed glass mat, Zebra Na/NiCL2, or NiZn traction.

electric motor performance

The electric power rating of an electric or hybrid vehicle’s electric motor is a measure of its ability to do work, expressed in terms of horsepower, torque, or kilowatts.

electric motor type

The type of electric motor used to power the drive wheels in a hybrid or electric vehicle can be a permanent magnet motor or another type of traction motor.

electric vehicle

A type of vehicle that is powered entirely by electricity, using batteries, capacitors, and one or more traction drive systems.

electrochromatic rearview mirror

A rearview mirror that automatically dims at night when it detects a bright glare is called an auto-dimming rearview mirror.”

electronic brake force distribution

A feature of some antilock braking systems that applies brake force to each wheel independently is called electronic brakeforce distribution.

emergency brake assist

An electronically controlled system that maximizes brake efficiency during panic stops is called brake assist.

emergency braking preparation

A system that uses adaptive cruise control sensors to monitor the following distance to the car ahead and pre-fill the brakes and bring the brake pads close to the rotors in anticipation of a panic stop is called pre-collision braking.

emergency truck release

A glow-in-the dark pull handle inside a car’s trunk that permits escape for someone trapped inside.

emissions certification standards

Numerical limits on the pollutants produced by a vehicle, established by the EPA and the California Air Resource Board, are called emission standards.

emissions hoses & tubes

The hoses and tubes used by a vehicle’s emission control devices are called emission control lines.

emissions score

The EPA gives each new vehicle a score from zero to 10 that represents the amount of total emissions produced during a laboratory driving simulation of the vehicle. This score is called the vehicle’s emission rating.

emissions standards

The maximum allowable levels of NOx, carbon monoxide, nonmethane organic compounds, and particulate matter permitted by EPA regulations to be emitted by each new vehicle are called emission limits or standards.

en banc

The term “on the bench” refers to all judges of a court sitting together to hear a case.

engine auto stop/start

A system that automatically shuts the engine off when a vehicle comes to rest for a period and then restarts it automatically when the brake is released and the throttle is depressed is called an automatic stop-start system.

engine block

The structure that contains and houses the cylinders, pistons, and other components of an internal combustion engine is called the engine block. Modern engine blocks usually also have an integrated crankcase, as well as coolant passages and oil galleries.

engine descriptor

A special notation attached to a vehicle’s engine code that describes its emissions rating or fuel economy, or that indicates that it can be run on multiple fuel sources, is called a fuel economy or emissions descriptor.

engine hour meter

A device that records the number of hours an engine has run over its lifetime is called an engine hour meter.

engine oil

A substance that lubricates and cools the moving parts of an engine and reduces corrosion and the formation of rust is called engine oil.

engine oil level warning system

A device that automatically alerts a driver when the engine oil level is low is called an oil level warning light.

engine performance

The power rating of an engine, known as engine performance, is a measure of its ability to do work, expressed in terms of horsepower, torque, or efficiency.

engine size

The displacement of a vehicle engine, in liters, is the volume of air/fuel mixture an engine can draw into all of its cylinders during one complete engine cycle. This is typically provided by the engine’s manufacturer.”

engine thermostat

A device that senses the temperature of the engine coolant to regulate the engine cooling system is called a coolant temperature sensor.


To require a person to perform, or abstain or desist from some act is called to enjoin.

entry lighting

A system of lights that aids a driver or passenger in entering a vehicle in the dark is called an entry light system.

environmental impact

The assessment of the biophysical effects a vehicle has on the environment from its production to its disposal is called its environmental impact.

EPA fuel economy/MPG estimates

The city and highway fuel economy ratings issued by the EPA are called fuel economy ratings.

EPA interior volume

The amount of total space within the cabin of a vehicle as measured by the EPA is called the passenger volume.

EPA testing

The EPA conducts laboratory tests of new vehicles in controlled driving simulations to generate data on average fuel economy, air pollution, and greenhouse gas production. These tests are called emissions and fuel economy tests.


For a vehicle that has been financed through a loan, the equity is the difference at any time between the vehicle’s value and the amount that is owed on the loan.


Ethyl alcohol. A commonly used vehicle fuel.


Electric vehicle.

ev effective range per charge

The average distance an electric vehicle is able to travel on a full charge, as measured by the EPA and listed on the vehicle’s window sticker.

evaporative control canister

A device that captures raw fuel vapors (hydrocarbons) from a vehicles fuel tank and carburetor bowl before they can escape into the air.

evaporative control canister filter

A filter on the evaporative control canister that filters incoming air as fuel vapors contained in the canister are being drawn back into the engine.

evaporative control system

An emission control system that prevents raw fuel vapors from entering the atmosphere.


Any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records, documents, etc.


A formal objection to an action of the court, during the trial of a case, in refusing a request or overruling an objection is called an exception. This implies that the party excepting does not agree with the decision of the court and will seek to have it reversed.

excess m ileage penalty

The lessee must pay this fee when the allotted miles specified in the lease are exceeded. The fee is typically $0.12-$0.25 per mile in excess of the allotted miles.

excess wear and tear

Wear or damage to a vehicle that exceeds what is typically expected in the ordinary course of operating a leased vehicle.

exhaust pressure regulator valve

A device that uses warm exhaust to help fuel vaporize and reduce warm-up time.

exhaust system

The assembly of parts that carries the gaseous products of the engine’s combustion reactions (known as exhaust) out of the engine and into the atmosphere. In a basic design, exhaust gases flow from the cylinder heads into an exhaust manifold, then through one or more exhaust pipes, and are expelled behind or to the side of the vehicle. In modern systems, the exhaust may also pass through a turbocharger, emissions control devices, and/or a muffler and resonator before exiting through one or more tailpipes.


Paper, document or other object submitted to the court as evidence during a trial or hearing.

extended warranty

A vehicle warranty offered by the manufacturer of the vehicle or a third party that extends the vehicle’s basic warranty beyond its original period.

exterior camera

A camera mounted outside a vehicle that sends its signal to a monitor within the cabin.

exterior mirros adjustment type

The type of control used to adjust the exterior mirrors: power, memory or manual.

external temperature display

The digital display of the temperature around a vehicle.


fact-finding hearing

A proceeding in which facts relevant to deciding a controversy are determined.

factory installed

Vehicle equipment installed by the manufacturer (as opposed to equipment that may be installed by the dealer or the owner).

factory tuner

A “factory tuner” is a vehicle model that has significant engine and/or chassis upgrades compared to its parent model. It is built at the factory and typically has a name that includes a “factory tuner” designation (e.g. Mercedes-Benz “AMG” or BMW “M”).

fair preponderance

Evidence sufficient to convince the triers of fact that the party bearing the burden of proof has established its case.

fan belt

The belt that transmits rotational motion from the engine to the cooling fan.

fan hub

The mechanical connection between the radiator fan and its point of attachment.


Crime more serious than a misdemeanor.


The fixed part of a vehicle body exterior that frames the wheel well, with the primary purpose of blocking sand, mud, rocks, liquids, and other road spray that is thrown into the air by the rotating tire; or any deflector plate or structure mounted at the front or rear of a vehicle near ground level.


Front-engine front-wheel drive. A vehicle that is propelled solely by its front wheels and whose engine is located in front of its front axle.


Fair Isaac Corporation, a company that calculates and distributes consumer credit scores.


“To file” a paper is to give it to the court clerk to be included in the case record.


A sum of money imposed upon a person convicted of a criminal offense as punishment.

firing order

The sequence in which the cylinders of a multi-cylinder internal combustion engine are ignited.

flex fuel vehicle

A vehicle that can run on at least two different fuel sources, either simultaneously through a single fuel system or separately through multiple fuel systems.

flex-fuel engine

An engine that can run on more than one type of fuel (for example, E85 and gasoline).

fog lights

A pair of driving lights that provides a wide, low beam to improve visibility in fog.


The shape of the contact interface between a loaded tire and the ground.

forced induction

The forced compression of air into an engine’s cylinders using a supercharger or turbocharger.

four-square worksheet

A standard form used at many dealerships that helps salespeople keep track of four elements of a deal during negotiations with a customer: the price of the vehicle, the amount credited for the trade-in, the down payment, and the monthly payment.

four-wheel steering

A feature of some vehicles that allows the rear wheels to be steered (by a computer and actuators) to increase high-speed cornering stability.


Front-engine rear-wheel drive. A vehicle that is propelled solely by its rear wheels and whose engine is located in front of its front axle.

front brakes specifications

The dimensions of the major components of a vehicle’s front brake rotors and the type of brake ventilation employed.

front mid engine

A vehicle with an engine that is located in front of the passenger compartment but behind the front axle.

front seat type

The type of front seating: bucket seats, sport seats, split-bench seats, or captain’s chairs.

fuel capacity

The amount of fuel that a vehicle’s fuel tank can hold.

fuel cell vehicle

A vehicle that generates electricity through a chemical process using oxygen from the air and hydrogen, utilizing fuel cells.

fuel consumption

The rate at which an engine consumes its fuel supply.

fuel economy

A measure of the amount of fuel used by a vehicle over a certain distance, or the distance traveled per unit of fuel used.

fuel filler cap

A cap used to seal a vehicle’s fuel filler neck.

fuel filter

A replaceable metal or plastic canister that prevents particulate matter and most contaminants in the fuel from reaching the engine.

fuel injection system

A device that atomizes fuel by forcibly pumping it through a small nozzle under high pressure and delivers it to the engine.

fuel lines & connections

The tubing and connections that carry fuel through a vehicle.

fuel pre-filter

For diesel-fuel engines, the device that filters the fuel before it enters the fuel pump.

fuel pump shutoff

A device that automatically shuts off a vehicle’s fuel pump after a collision.

fuel system

The assembly of parts that stores and delivers fuel for the engine, including the fuel cap, fuel tank, fuel lines and hoses, fuel pump, fuel filter, and fuel injectors or carburetor.

fuel type

The type of fuel used to power a vehicle: gasoline, ethanol, E85, diesel, bio-diesel, natural gas, or electricity.

fuel/water separator

A device that separates water from the fuel, in addition to or as part of the fuel filtering system.


gap insurance

In a vehicle lease, insurance that covers any “gap” between (i) the amount the lessees insurance company will pay to the lessee if the leased vehicle is stolen or destroyed, and (ii) the aggregate remaining amount the lessee owes at that time to the leasing company.

gas guzzler tax

A graduated federal tax levied at the time of initial new-vehicle purchase on vehicles with especially poor fuel economy.

gas/electric hybrid engine

A powertrain that combines an electric motor and a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine.

gasoline engine

An internal combustion engine that burns conventional gasoline.


The upper portion of a vehicle, above its beltline.

greenhouse gas score

A score from zero to 10 given by the EPA to each new vehicle, representing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during a laboratory driving simulation of the vehicle.

greenhouse gases

Gases produced by vehicles that use hydrocarbons as fuel (such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydroflourocarbons) that contribute to reducing the loss of atmospheric heat into space.


A grid or grating covering an opening in the body of a vehicle and allowing air to pass through it, especially an ornamental one at the front end of a vehicle designed to ventilate the radiator and engine compartment.

gross vehicle weight rating

Also referred to as “GVWR.” The sum of a vehicle’s curb weight, cargo weight capacity, and passenger weight capacity.

ground clearance

The distance between the lowest point of a vehicle and level ground.

gyro sensor

A device that enables a vehicle’s navigation system to determine the direction the vehicle is facing.


haldex clutch

A limited slip coupling used in vehicles with automatic all-wheel drive systems to engage and disengage a secondary axle when needed.


Any brake operated manually by a hand lever, but especially a parking brake.


Homogeneous charge compression ignition. An internal combustion engine in which gasoline and air are compressed to the point of auto-ignition.

head room

The distance from the hip of a vehicle’s occupant to the vehicle’s interior rooftop.

head unit

The central control unit for a vehicle’s entertainment system.

headlight washers

A set of washer nozzles and/or wipers that clean a vehicle’s headlights.


A pair of bright lamps that provide visibility during darkness.


A pair of small speakers that, when placed close to a passenger’s ears, enables the passenger to listen to a vehicle’s sound system without disturbing other passengers.

heads-up display

A digital display projected from a vehicle’s dashboard onto its windshield to provide information within the driver’s direct line of sight.


An in-court proceeding before a judge, generally open to the public.


Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather than what the witness has personally experienced or observed.

heated air temperature sensor

A device that provides information needed by a vehicle’s computer to determine the temperature of the air coming into the engine.

heated mirrors

Sideview mirrors with internal electronic heating coils designed to prevent fog and ice from obstructing visibility.

heated windshield

A windshield with tiny embedded heating elements that act to prevent fogging.

heated windshield wiper rests

Heating elements below the wipers that melt ice and snow when they freeze to the glass.


A heat exchanger placed in the ventilation system that diffuses heat from the engine’s cooling system into an airstream generated by an inline fan.

heater hoses

Tubing that carries engine coolant between a vehicle’s cooling system and heater core.


The distance between the tallest part of a vehicle and level ground.

highway fuel economy

The average number of miles a vehicle is able to travel using one gallon of fuel according to EPA simulated laboratory tests of highway driving conditions.

hill holder

A device that applies brake pressure when a vehicle’s clutch is disengaged.

hinge type

The type of door hinge: standard, scissor, gullwing, or suicide-style.

hip room

The distance from the driver’s side lower door panel to the front passenger’s lower side door panel.

hit and run

An accident caused by someone who does not stop to assist or provide the required and necessary information.


The hinged cover over the engine compartment of a motor vehicle. Hoods can be opened to allow access to the engine and most other power and accessory components for maintenance and repair.

horse power

A unit of measurement for engine power that was originally developed as a way to express the output of steam locomotives in terms of the strength of draft horses.


Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

hybrid degree

The level of hybrid technology used for a vehicle: full, mild, power-assist, or plug-in.

hybrid drivetrain layout

The drivetrain layout in a hybrid vehicle: parallel, series, or combined.

hybrid engine

A powertrain that combines an electric motor and an alternative means of propulsion and/or power generation (for example, hydrogen). A gas/electric hybrid engine is the most common example of a hybrid engine.

hybrid gas engine performance

A hybrid vehicle’s gasoline engine’s ability to do work, expressed in terms of horsepower or torque.

hybrid performance

A hybrid engine and electric motor’s combined ability to do work in terms of horsepower, torque, or efficiency.

hybrid power source

The source of power in a hybrid vehicle: gas/electric, plug-in, fuel cell, or pneumatic.

hybrid vehicle

A vehicle that combines the use of internal combustion and electricity as power sources.


Organic compounds commonly used as a fuel source consisting of only hydrogen and carbon atoms.

hydrogen fuel cell

An energy conversion device that produces electricity by means of electrochemical reactions between hydrogen and an oxidant.


idle speed

The rotational speed of an unloaded engine at the minimum throttle setting.

idler pulley

A guide or tightening pulley for a belt or chain.


Running a vehicle’s engine while the vehicle is not in motion, without any loads except the engine accessories, e.g. while waiting at a traffic light.

ignition timing

The process of setting the time that a spark will occur in the combustion chamber (during the power stroke) relative to the position of the piston and the angular velocity of the crankshaft.


A vehicle that meets the emissions standards for alternative-fuel vehicles with closed and pressurized fuel systems.


Evidence that, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received in a court of law.

inboard brakes

A braking system that is located within the chassis of a vehicle, rather than at the hubs of the wheels. This type of brake system is typically found in heavy-duty vehicles, such as buses and trucks.

in-car cellular phone

A cellular phone that either (i) has a handset built into the vehicle, or (ii) is a portable unit with an accompanying dock built into the vehicle that enables operation through the vehicle’s entertainment and stereo system.


Any kind of financial assistance from a vehicle manufacturer that reduces the net price or the cost of financing/leasing to motivate customers to buy/lease a new vehicle. The most common incentives are customer cash rebates, low-interest financing, and leases that are subsidized by the manufacturer.

individual monitors

More than one video monitor in the rear passenger area of a vehicle with a rear seat entertainment system.


A writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried out by a person or group.


To hurt or harm; to violate the legal rights of another person.

inline engine

An internal combustion engine layout in which all cylinders are aligned in one row without any offset, i.e. in a single plane of the crankshaft axis. Inline layouts tend to be simpler in design and easier to build than flat or V-shaped layouts, smaller in physical dimension, and more broadly compatible with various engine designs because they can be mounted in any direction.


A direction given by a judge regarding the applicable law in a given case.


Digital and/or analog displays are used to convey information to the driver, such as engine parameters, operating conditions, RPM, speed, and water temperature.

instrumented testing

The performance characteristics of a vehicle can be analyzed using precise scientific equipment.

insurance institute for highway safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an organization created by the insurance industry to reduce losses from vehicle crashes, including deaths, injuries, and property damage.

integrated turn signal

A turn signal light mounted on or in a vehicle’s sideview mirror is called a mirror turn signal.

intelligent alternator

An alternator that operates primarily when the engine is not in use, such as when coasting or during braking, is called a passive alternator. This type of alternator improves a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by allowing the battery to provide electrical power while the engine is under power, and only activating the alternator when needed.

intelligent car

A vehicle that uses the latest in telemetrics, driver awareness, and pedestrian safety technology is called a high-tech vehicle.

interior lighting

Halogen lamps or LEDs used to illuminate the interior of a vehicle are called interior lights.

interior trim

Wood, composite, leather, or metal decorations added to a vehicle’s interior to improve its aesthetic appeal are called interior adornments.

intermittent wipers

A wiper setting that causes the wipers to pause for a set amount of time between wipes is called an intermittent wiper setting.


Written questions developed by one party’s attorney for the opposing party are called interrogatories. These questions must be answered under oath within a specific period of time.


The price that appears on the invoice sent by the manufacturer to the dealer when the dealer receives a vehicle from the factory is called the invoice price. This is also known as the factory invoice price.



The final determination by a court of the rights and claims of the parties in an action is called a judgment.

jump lead

One of a pair of heavy-duty electrical leads used to connect a vehicle with a discharged battery to an external power source, such as a charged battery in another vehicle, in order to recharge the dead battery, is called a jump lead.

jump start

A system that allows the driver to activate a push-button to start the vehicle if proximity sensors detect the electronic key inside the vehicle is called a keyless start system.


keyless ignition

A system that allows the driver to activate a push-button to start the vehicle if proximity sensors detect the electronic key inside the vehicle is called a keyless start system.


A system that enables a driver to select a lower gear than the one automatically engaged by an automatic transmission, for example when accelerating rapidly, is called a manual override or manual shift mode. This is usually activated by pressing the accelerator pedal fully.


The vertical or inclined shaft about which a steered wheel assembly pivots, or the main fastening member between a fifth-wheel and semi-trailer, is called a kingpin.

kingpin bushings

Lubricated solid bearings or bushings present between the kingpin and steering knuckle are called kingpin bushings.

knee airbags

Small airbags that deploy under the dashboard by the knees, typically on the driver’s side where the steering column and other hard vehicle parts are located, are called knee airbags.

knockout axle

A detachable axle, usually on a low-loader, that can be removed to allow the loading bed to be lowered further is called a drop-axle.


land departure warning system

A system of electronic components designed to warn a driver when a vehicle strays out of its lane is called a lane departure warning system.

lane watch

Honda’s Blind Spot Information System (BSI) is a system that shows real-time video of a vehicle’s right side blind spot when the turn signal is activated.

lapse in coverage

The point in time when a policy has been canceled or terminated for failure to pay the premium, or when the policy contract is void for other reasons, is called the policy’s effective date.


A civil action, or a court proceeding to enforce a right rather than to convict a criminal, is called a civil suit.


A person licensed to practice law is called a lawyer. Other words for “lawyer” include attorney, counsel, solicitor, and barrister.

lease incentive

An incentive offered by the manufacturer to reduce the cost of a vehicle lease, either by reducing the interest rate or increasing the residual value of the vehicle, is called a lease incentive.

lease term

The number of months that constitute the term of a vehicle lease is called the lease term.

leg room

The distance from the floor of a vehicle (a person’s ankle point) to the centerline of the seat (a person’s hip joint) is called the hip-to-ankle dimension.


A vehicle that is found to have numerous or severe defects not readily apparent before its purchase is called a lemon. This term is used informally to refer to a vehicle that proves to be defective, imperfect, or unsatisfactory, and it has a more precise meaning in various state “lemon laws” that provide vehicle purchasers with certain rights.


The distance from the most forward-facing point of a vehicle to the most rearward point is called the length of the vehicle.


The person or entity that leases a vehicle is called the lessee.


The entity that owns the vehicle being leased is called the lessor. In most cases, the lessor is a financial institution or a division of the vehicle manufacturer, although leases are often arranged by a dealership.


A vehicle that meets the average emissions standard within the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program is called a low emission vehicle.

liftgate window

The window integrated into the hinged lid of a hatchback, wagon, SUV, or crossover that swings upward to provide access to the cargo area is called a liftgate window.

light bar

Additional lighting mounted on a metal or plastic frame that is attached to a vehicle’s roof and is typically available on trucks and SUVs is called a light bar.


A type of rechargeable battery that offers better performance compared to conventional rechargeable batteries such as nickel-cadmium (NiCad) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). Li-ion batteries are more powerful and lighter, which provides an extended driving range. However, they are more fragile and can be damaged by extreme temperatures.

limited production vehicle

A vehicle for which the manufacturer has established a limit on the number of units to be produced, without regard to the maximum number the manufacturer may be able to sell, is called a limited edition vehicle. These vehicles typically have special interior and/or exterior trim and/or costly performance enhancements that distinguish them from their mainstream counterparts.

limited warranty

A vehicle warranty that is in effect for a specified number of years and/or miles driven is called a limited warranty.

lip spoiler

A spoiler that is flush-mounted to a vehicle’s trunk lid or liftgate, allowing air to flow over it but not under it, and that is usually installed for aesthetic purposes, is called a lip spoiler.


A person who is engaged in a lawsuit is called a litigant.


A legal proceeding brought before a court to resolve a dispute between two or more parties. It is also called a lawsuit or civil action.


Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (CH4) that has been refined and condensed into a liquid state. The process of liquefying natural gas involves removing contaminants like helium, water, and heavy hydrocarbons, and then cooling it to approximately -260 °F (-163 °C) at close to atmospheric pressure (3.6 psi or 25 kPa).

load height

The minimum height to which an item must be lifted in order to be loaded into a vehicle’s cargo area is called the lift-over height.

lock cylinders

The part of a hatch or door’s latching mechanism into which the key is inserted is called the lock cylinder.


A device or system of devices that prevents a vehicle from being entered without a key or an electronic keyless entry remote control is called an anti-theft system or a lock system.

low emissions vehicle program

The National Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) Program is an initiative sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the amount of emissions per vehicle. This program is also known as the National LEV Program.

low fuel warning indicator

An alert, usually in the form of a halogen lamp or LED, warning the driver of a low fuel supply is called a low fuel warning light.


Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or GPL) is a blend of two hydrocarbon gases, propane and butane, with smaller amounts of propylene and butylenes. Ethanethiol, a powerful odorant, is also added to LPG to detect leaks. LPG is also known as autogas.

luggage capacity

The measurement of a vehicle’s trunk/cargo volume with all standard seats in place is called the luggage volume or cargo volume.

lumbar support

A mechanical or pneumatic device that matches a vehicle’s seat back to the contours of the driver or passenger is called a lumbar support or lumbar adjustment.



A blend of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline. It is not commonly used because methanol and methanol fumes are poisonous.


For a vehicle, the name of its manufacturer or the operating unit of the manufacturer if it has more than one, is called the make of the vehicle.

manifold heat control valve

A thermostatic device that routes exhaust heat to the intake manifold to promote fuel vaporization and reduce warm-up time is called a manifold heat riser.

manual extending mirrors

A sideview mirror that can be manually moved further away from a vehicle when it is towing an object is called a towing mirror.

manual transmission

A transmission that uses a clutch and a shift (gear) selector to change gears is called a manual transmission.

manual transmission fluid

The fluid used for lubricating and cooling a manual transmission is called transmission fluid.

manufacturers engine code

An alphanumeric code given to an engine by its manufacturer to distinguish it from other engines is called an engine code or engine identification number.

map storage

The media on which the maps for a vehicle’s navigation system are stored, generally CD, DVD, or hard drive, is called a map database.

marketing support

Programs that manufacturers provide to stimulate sales or assist dealers in the advertising and marketing of their vehicles are called incentive programs or marketing programs.

massaging seats

Seats that contain moving mechanical elements in the seatback, usually with several selectable settings, are called power seats.

max hp rpm

The speed of an engine at which it generates its maximum horsepower is called the engine’s horsepower peak.

max torque rpm

The speed of an engine at which it generates its maximum torque is called the engine’s torque peak.

maximum cargo capacity

A measurement of a vehicle’s cargo volume when the rear seats (including a third row if applicable) are folded or removed is called the maximum cargo volume or maximum luggage volume.

memory settings

Preset positions and settings for power seats, mirrors, steering column positions for a vehicle’s driver, or for the HVAC system, audio system, exterior mirrors, or navigation system that can be recalled using a button are called memory settings.


A vehicle that is propelled solely by its rear wheels and whose engine is aft of the passenger compartment but forward of the rear axle is called a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

mileage allowance

In a vehicle lease, the number of miles the lessee is permitted to drive over the term of the lease without incurring an excess mileage penalty is called the mileage allowance or mileage limit.


Criminal offenses that are less severe than felonies, generally punishable by fine or imprisonment of less than 90 days in a local facility, are called misdemeanors. A gross misdemeanor is a criminal offense for which an adult could be sent to jail for up to one year, pay a fine up to $5,000, or both.


An erroneous or invalid trial, usually declared because of prejudicial error in the proceedings or when there was a hung jury, is called a mistrial.

mitigating circumstance

Factors that do not constitute justification or excuse for an offense but may be considered as reasons for reducing the degree of blame are called mitigating factors.


A specific vehicle brand identified by a name or number, and usually further classified by trim or style level, is called a model.

model year

For a vehicle model, the calendar year designation assigned by the manufacturer to the annual version of that model is called the model year.

money factor

Also referred to as a lease factor or lease fee, a money factor is an auto leasing industry term for expressing the interest rate used to calculate the monthly lease payment. It is equal to the lease’s annual percentage rate (APR) divided by 2,400. For example, an APR of 7.2% equals a money factor of 0.0033.

monroney sticker

Also referred to as a window sticker, a Monroney label is a sticker required by law for all new vehicles sold in the United States. It is affixed to the side window or windshield and must include the following information: manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), engine and transmission specs, standard equipment and warranty details, optional equipment and pricing, city and highway mileage ratings as determined by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

monthly payment

The amount of principal and interest that must be paid each month under the terms of a finance or lease contract is called the monthly payment.


A moot point is a matter that is unsettled or undecided. It is a point not settled by judicial decisions.


An oral or written request made by a party to an action before, during, or after a trial upon which a court issues a ruling or order is called a motion.


A unit of measurement for fuel efficiency, expressing the distance a vehicle can travel on one gallon of fuel.


The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), also referred to as the sticker price, is the price at which the manufacturer recommends a vehicle be sold by a dealer.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an agency of the United States government authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles or vehicle equipment when investigations indicate that they contain serious safety defects in their design, construction, or performance.

natural gas engine

An internal combustion engine that burns natural gas is called a natural gas engine.


The hollow or dished center part of a road wheel on which the rim is mounted is called the hub.

navigation interface

The means by which a vehicle’s navigation system is controlled, including touch screen, jog dial, push button, and/or voice activation, is called the control interface.

navigation system

A device that communicates with global positioning satellites to determine a vehicle’s physical location and plot a course using stored map information is called a global positioning system (GPS) receiver or GPS unit.


The absence of ordinary care is called negligence.

NHTSA campaign ID number

The identification number assigned to a recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is called the NHTSA Recall Number.

NHTSA item number

The identification number assigned to a technical service bulletin by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is called the NHTSA Technical Service Bulletin Number.


An exterior camera that uses infrared technology to provide added visibility when driving in the dark is called an infrared night vision camera.

NLEV program

The National Low Emission Vehicle Program (NLEV) is a voluntary national low emission vehicle program for light-duty vehicles and light-duty trucks that is enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (outside of California) once automakers and states opt in and the program is in effect.


The abbreviation for six chemical compounds produced during high temperature combustion, containing only nitrogen and oxygen atoms, that react with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to create photochemical smog is NOx.

NVH dampening

A system of devices that lessens the noise, vibration, and harshness in the passenger compartment of a vehicle is called a noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) system.



The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is the manufacturer of a vehicle.

office of defects investigation

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that conducts defect investigations and administers safety recalls, and that monitors the adequacy of manufacturers’ recall campaigns.

off-road ready

A vehicle with high ground clearance outfitted for the rigors of traveling on non-paved roads is called an off-road vehicle.

oil filter

A cartridge-filled canister placed in an engine’s lubricating system to strain dirt and abrasive materials out of the oil is called an oil filter.

on-board diagnosis system

A computer-controlled system that identifies malfunctioning or out-of-adjustment components under its control through the display of trouble codes is called an on-board diagnostics (OBD) system. The presence of trouble codes is usually indicated by an intermittently or constantly lit “check engine” or “service engine soon” light.

one-touch windows

Vehicle windows with a changeover switch that is capable of automatically rolling the window glass completely up or down (as well as functioning as a conventional momentary power window switch) are called power windows.

optional equipment

Equipment that is not included in the manufacturer’s base configuration of a vehicle is called an option.

overpressure safety switch

A switch used on a turbocharged engine that warns the operator of excessive and potentially harmful intake pressure that may be caused by component malfunction is called a boost pressure warning light.

overspeed governor

A device that limits the rotational speed of an engine, usually by controlling the fuel supply, is called a rev limiter.


A handling characteristic of a vehicle that causes it to turn more sharply than the driver intends because the rear wheels are sliding to the outside of the turn is called oversteer.

oxygen sensor

In a computer-controlled, fuel-injected vehicle, a sensor mounted in the exhaust stream that relays air/fuel ratio information to the fuel control computer that allows the computer to make adjustments is called an oxygen sensor.


parallel hybrid

A vehicle that is powered by an electric motor and an internal combustion engine that are inline is called a parallel hybrid. This type of hybrid can be driven on either full electric mode, gasoline engine mode, or combined. This is the most common type of hybrid vehicle currently used today.

parking assist

An electronic system that employs laser, radar or sonar technology to enable a vehicle to park itself, in some cases without driver input, is called a self-parking system.

parking brake

A mechanism used to keep a vehicle securely motionless when parked, often consisting of a cable connected to two conventional wheel brakes (usually on the rear wheels), and also to a pulling mechanism, typically either a hand-operated lever or pull handle located near the steering column or a foot-operated pedal near the other pedals, is called a parking brake.

parking lights

White lights that are intended to increase a vehicle’s visibility to other drivers. These lights are sometimes used in place of or in addition to the vehicle’s regular headlights.

parking sensors

Button-sized sensors in the front and/or rear bumpers of a vehicle are used to measure the distance to nearby objects and alert the driver using sounds or lights. These sensors help improve a vehicle’s safety by providing the driver with additional information about their surroundings, allowing them to make more informed decisions when driving. The sensors are typically located in the bumper of the vehicle, and are small enough to be inconspicuous while still providing valuable information to the driver.


Persons, corporations, or associations who are involved in a legal action, either as plaintiffs or defendants.

passenger memory settings

Pre-set positions for the power seats of a vehicle’s passenger, which can be easily recalled by pressing a button.

passenger volume

The total amount of space inside a vehicle that is available for passengers in the front and rear seats.


A vehicle’s ability to carry occupants and cargo, calculated by subtracting its curb weight from its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

PCV filter/PCV valve

Devices that allow the venting of combustion gases from the crankcase to the intake system instead of into the atmosphere.

pedal adjustment

The mechanism that controls the position of a vehicle’s gas, brake, and/or clutch pedals to suit the needs of the driver.


Making intentionally false statements under oath. This is a criminal offense.

personal auto policy

The most common auto insurance policy sold today. It provides coverage for liability, medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and physical damage protection.

personal injury protection

A type of insurance that typically includes benefits for medical expenses, loss of income from work, essential services, accidental death, funeral expenses, and survivor benefits.


A written application to a court requesting a remedy available under law.

petition for review

A document filed in the state Supreme Court asking for a review of a decision made by the Court of Appeals.

physical damage

Insurance that covers damage to your covered vehicle from perils including (but not limited to) collision or upset with another vehicle or object, fire, vandalism, and theft.


A shaft or other structure that supports the roof of a vehicle, with the A-pillars being the structures that frame the windscreen, and each successive set of structures (moving toward the rear of the vehicle) being named after successive letters of the alphabet.

pilot bearing

A bearing that is press-fit into the rear of the crankshaft and that supports the tip of the transmission input shaft.


The party who begins an action; the party who complains or sues in an action and is named as such in the court’s records. Also called a petitioner.


A set of common design, engineering, and production efforts, as well as major automotive components, shared between a number of outwardly distinct vehicle models and even different vehicle classes, which are often manufactured by different though usually related marques. Auto manufacturers commonly introduce new models based on existing platforms in order to reduce the costs associated with the development of entirely new products.


Free movement or looseness within a mechanical system, especially when not intended by the mechanism’s design, e.g. any motion of a steering wheel before the steered wheels respond by turning.


A defendant’s official statement of “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charge(s) made against them.


Formal, written allegations by the parties of their respective claims.

plenum chamber water drain valve

A valve used on some vehicles to drain collected condensation from the intake plenum.

plug-in vehicle

A vehicle powered solely by electricity available from a standard domestic AC power socket.

plus size wheels

The practice of using wheel and tire packages that are larger in diameter than those included in a vehicle’s standard equipment.

polarization coating

A coating that reduces the glare from sideview mirrors by modifying the reflected light.


The written documents of a contract for insurance between the insurance company and the insured. Such documents include forms, endorsements, riders, and attachments.

polling the jury

A practice whereby the jurors are asked individually whether they agreed, and still agree, with the verdict.

post collision communication

A component of a vehicle’s telemetry system that, when triggered, automatically informs authorities after a collision.

postcrash safety

Safety measures and devices that lessen the chance of a driver or passenger being hurt in the aftermath of a collision.

power activated release

The electronically controlled release of a vehicle’s hatch or trunk (in contrast to a conventional cable-activated release mechanism).

power extending mirrors

An electronically controlled sideview mirror that can be moved further away from a vehicle when it is towing an object.

power steering

An electric and/or hydraulic system that multiplies, for ease and comfort, the force a driver exerts on the steering wheel.

power steering fluid

Hydraulic fluid used in a power steering system.

power steering hoses

The flexible hoses carrying hydraulic fluid between the various components of a power steering system.

powertrain warranty

Also referred to as the “drivetrain warranty.” A vehicle warranty that covers most of the parts that make the vehicle move, including the engine, transmission, drive axles, and driveshaft. As with a basic warranty, “consumable” parts such as hoses and belts are not covered. However, most of the internal parts of the engine, such as the pistons and bearings, which are also subject to wear and tear, are covered by a powertrain warranty.


A previously decided case that is recognized as an authority for determining future cases.

precrash safety

Safety measures and devices that prevent a collision from occurring or lessen the chances of a driver or passenger injury in the event of a collision.

precrash safety seats

Seats that spring into a safe position when a precrash system senses an impending collision.

precrash system

A system of devices that employs radar or laser technology to sense an impending collision and reacts by implementing precautionary measures, including tightening seatbelts and applying braking.

premium audio

A sound system that has been provided to the vehicle manufacturer by a name brand audio manufacturer.

preponderance of evidence

The general standard of proof in civil cases. The weight of evidence presented by one side is more convincing to the trier of facts than the evidence presented by the opposing side.

presiding judge

The chief or administrative judge of a court.

privacy glass

A vehicle window with a factory-installed tint, utilizing either a mylar covering or smoked glass, that has enough opacity to obscure the vehicle’s interior from view.

private party price

The price consumers are paying private sellers for similar vehicles.


Any hearing or court appearance related to the adjudication of a case.

purchase option

The right given to a vehicle lessee to purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease term for an amount equal to the vehicle’s residual value.

purge valve

In an evaporative emissions control system, the valve that allows the venting of fuel vapors from the charcoal canister to a vehicle’s intake and prevents the canister from becoming saturated and nonfunctional.


Partial zero emission vehicle. A vehicle that has zero evaporative emissions and meets the EPA’s SULEV standard.



rack and pinion

A type of linear actuator comprising a circular gear (the pinion) engaging a linear gear (the rack), which operate together to translate rotational motion into linear motion or vice versa: rotating the pinion causes the rack to be driven linearly, and driving the rack linearly causes the pinion to rotate. Rack-and-pinion mechanisms have been employed in many different automotive systems and components, as in rack-and-pinion steering.

radiator core & AC condenser

The part of a vehicle’s radiator and air conditioning systems made up of small-diameter tubes with a series of thin, heat-conducting fins in between.

radiator hoses

The tubes between the radiator and the engine.

radio data system

A small portion of the FM frequency that is allocated for broadcasting alphanumeric news, traffic, and song information.

rain-sensing wipers

A feature that uses rainfall sensors to engage the wipers and adjust wiper speed accordingly.

real time traffic updates

Traffic congestion information gathered by road sensors and other means read by a vehicle’s navigation system through communications satellites.

rear brake type

The type of rear brake, either drum or disc.

rear defroster

A device that melts ice or frost or removes condensation from a vehicle’s rear window.

rear door type

The type of rear door, either hinged or sliding.

rear electric motor performance

An electric vehicle’s or hybrid vehicle’s rear electric motor’s ability to do work, expressed in terms of horsepower, torque, and/or kilowatts.

rear electric motor type

The type of rear electric motor in a hybrid vehicle or EV used to power the rear wheels, either a permanent magnet motor or other traction motor.

rear HVAC

The climate-control system used to regulate heating and air conditioning for the area of a vehicle behind the front row seating.

rear seat entertainment system

The elements of a vehicle’s entertainment system accessible to rear seat passengers.

rear seat type

The type of rear seating, such as bench seats, bucket seats, removable seats, split-bench seats, captain’s chairs, or seats that convert into a bed.

rear spoiler

An aerodynamic device attached to a vehicle’s trunk lid or liftgate consisting of one or more airfoils supported by uprights that allows air to flow over it as well as under it, resulting in decreased lift and increased stability at high speeds.


The introduction of contradicting or opposing evidence showing that what witnesses said occurred is not true, the stage of a trial at which such evidence may be introduced.


A notice sent by a vehicle manufacturer to owners of a vehicle advising them that the vehicle has or may have a serious defect that may compromise the safety of the vehicle and that the service departments of that manufacturer’s dealers will make any necessary replacements or repairs free of charge.

recall notice

A notice by a manufacturer to the owners of a defective/unsafe vehicle or vehicle component (as well as dealers) that a recall has occurred.

recommended fuel type

The optimal type of fuel (based on its octane rating) recommended by a vehicle’s manufacturer.


  1. To preserve in writing, print or by film, tape, etc. 2. History or a case. 3. The word-for-word written or tape recorded account of all proceedings of a trial.

redirect examination

Follows cross examination and is carried out by the party who first examined the witness.


The maximum rotational speed, in revolutions per minute (rpm), at which an internal combustion engine or traction motor and its components are designed to operate without causing damage to the components themselves or to other parts of the engine assembly. The redline of a particular engine depends on various factors such as stroke, displacement, and the mass, composition, and balance of the engine components. The term is derived from the red-colored line or colored sector of a tachometer display which indicates the maximum allowable sustained engine speed.

regenerative braking

A method of assisting the deceleration of a hybrid or electric vehicle in which the vehicle’s electric motor switches from drive/output mode to generator mode. This recharges the battery by converting a portion of the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electrical energy.


A disposition by an appellate court that results in sending the case back to the original court from which it came for further proceedings.

remote start

A feature of a vehicle’s electronic key fob that controls the vehicle’s ignition.

remote trunk release

The control of a vehicle’s power-activated release using a button on an electronic key fob or smart key.

remote window operation

The control of a vehicle’s power window system by one or more buttons on an electronic key fob or smart key.

renewable energy

Natural energy sources that are naturally replenished, such as solar power, wind power, hydrogen, and biofuels.

repair kit

Tire repair equipment that typically consists of an emergency tire sealant and a means of refilling a flat tire.

replacement cost

A method of valuing insured property that uses the cost of replacing the property at current prices and does not take into consideration the property’s condition or whether it has depreciated since first acquired. Compare “Actual cash value.”


Pleading by the plaintiff in response to the defendant’s written answer.

required fuel type

The minimum acceptable type of fuel (based on its octane rating) recommended by a vehicle’s manufacturer.


Party against whom an appeal is brought in an appellate court; the prevailing party in the trial court case.


Act of giving the equivalent for any loss, damage of injury.

rests the case

When a party concludes his presentation or evidence.

retained accessory power

A feature that permits the operation of a vehicle’s power accessories after the key is removed from the ignition for a set period of time or until a door is opened.

retractable mirrors

Sideview mirrors that can be moved closer to a vehicle when parking in a tight space or using an automatic car wash.


Setting aside, annulling, vacating, or changing to the contrary the decision of a lower court or other body.

reverse tilt mirrors

Power sideview mirrors that tilt down when a vehicle is in reverse in order to aid the driver in parallel parking.

roadside assistance

A service available from various manufacturers that assists a driver when a vehicle is inoperable.

roll-over protection

A system of devices that works to prevent or lessen the damage from rollover accidents.

roof rack

A metal or plastic device attached to a vehicle that is used to anchor cargo to the vehicle’s roof.

roof spoiler

A spoiler that is mounted from the rearward-facing edge of a vehicle’s roof to the liftgate just above the rear windshield, or to the upper edge of the rear windshield itself (and that is usually installed for aesthetic purposes).


The outline or contour of the roof a vehicle.

row count

The number of available rows of seating in a vehicle.


Revolutions per minute.


Rear-engine rear-wheel drive. A vehicle that is propelled solely by its rear wheels and whose engine is located aft of its front axle.

run flat

A tire that is capable of being driven on temporarily after losing its pneumatic pressure.

running boards

Rocker panel extensions that function as steps to aid the driver and passengers in the entering and exiting of tall vehicles.

rust & corrosion warranty

A warranty that covers the repair or replacement of a vehicle’s sheet metal in the event of damage from rust or corrosion that is severe enough to cause a hole. Surface rust is not covered.


salvage title

An automobile title with a notation that the vehicle has been damaged in excess of approximately 70% of its pre-accident market value. The exact percentage depends on the insurance provider and any applicable laws and regulations. This notation gets applied to a title when an insurance company pays a total-loss claim on a vehicle, but then sells the vehicle at an auction center.

satellite communication

A proprietary system used to send and receive vehicle data, crash information, concierge services, and navigation to and from a vehicle through communications satellites.

satellite radio

A radio receiver that receives radio signals broadcast from communications satellites rather than a conventional terrestrial tower.

scheduled maintenance warranty

A warranty that covers service procedures recommended by the manufacturer at predetermined intervals to preserve and/or prolong the life of a vehicle.

seat adjustement type

The type of adjustment control for the seats: manual, power, or power-with-memory.

seat belts

Harnesses designed to secure vehicle occupants during a collision.

seat extension

An attached support, consisting of a metal frame with upholstered foam, that lengthens a vehicle’s seat bottom.

seat features

Devices integrated into a vehicle’s seats that control seat temperature, seat adjustability, driver comfort, and other settings.

seatback storage

A storage pocket that is either attached to the backside of the seat or integrated into the seat itself.

seatbelt force limiters

A part of the seatbelt pre-tensioner that helps prevent the seatbelt from being tightened to the point of injury to the occupant.

seatbelt pretensioners

A seatbelt that is equipped with a mechanism that automatically reels in the belt when the airbag is deployed, in order to keep the occupant in the proper position.

seating capacity

The maximum number of people that can be safely seated and restrained in the vehicle, including the driver.

secondary air supply system

A type of emissions-reducing system that promotes the combustion of unburnt hydrocarbons in the exhaust stream by introducing oxygen (fresh air) pulled in by a vacuum created by exhaust pulsations. This system performs the same function as an air injection system, but does not require an air pump or diverter valve.

selective catalyst reduction (SCR)

A technology used on diesel vehicles to reduce emissions.

self leveling suspension (SLS) filter

A filter, also known as an SLS filter, used to remove contaminants from hydraulic fluid in a self-leveling suspension system.

self-leveling headlights

A system that uses suspension height sensors to adjust the direction of a vehicle’s headlights based on the orientation of the body for the safety of other drivers.

separate rear audio

The ability of a vehicle’s sound system to provide different audio sources to the front and rear seat passengers.

sequential manual gearbox

A type of transmission that allows the driver to shift gears in a sequential manner, rather than using a traditional “H” pattern shift. In an SMG transmission, the gears are selected in a predetermined order, typically by pressing a button or moving a lever forwards or backwards. This type of transmission is often found in high-performance vehicles and is favored for its quick and precise shifting capabilities.

series hybrid

In this type of vehicle, a gasoline combustion engine is used solely to recharge the vehicle’s batteries, rather than directly powering the wheels. The engine does not contribute to the vehicle’s propulsion.

serpentine belt

A ribbed belt that is used to drive more than one engine accessory, such as the alternator, water pump, and power steering pump. This type of belt is designed to provide improved grip and reduced slipping compared to single-ribbed belts.


Delivery of a legal document to the opposite party.

service reminder light

A light that indicates that general vehicle maintenance is needed or that a specific service is required.

set aside

A judgment can be annulled or voided by “setting it aside.”


The end of a legal matter is called a conclusion or settlement.

settlement conference

A settlement conference involves the parties of a lawsuit, their lawyers, and a judge attempting to resolve the dispute without a trial.

shields and under-hood insulation

Heat-resistant panels and padding that protect the under-hood components from excessive heat.

shift control mechanism

The location of the shift control mechanism, which includes levers, paddles or buttons.

shift linkage

A linkage is a collection of mechanical connections between a vehicle’s operating control(s) and its transmission.

shift protocol

The means by which a driver changes gears, including buttons, paddles or a lever.

shiftable automatic transmission

A transmission with a torque converter that allows the driver to choose between automatic and manual shifting using a dual-gate shifter and/or remote controls.

shoulder room

The distance between the driver’s door panel and the front passenger’s door panel.

side  pockets

A pocket attached to or integrated into a vehicle door for storage.

side airbags

Small airbags that deploy from the edge of a seat to protect the ribcage of the occupant in a side impact collision.

side curtain rollover sensor

A sensor that determines whether or not to deploy a vehicle’s side curtain airbags in the event of a collision.

side impact beam

A structural support designed to protect a vehicle’s occupants from side impacts.

single-limit insurance

An insurance policy that provides a single dollar limit for property damage, liability, and bodily injury coverage.

skid plate

A shield attached to the bottom of a vehicle’s front bumper to protect the undercarriage in case of low ground clearance.

sliding rear window

A small window in a truck’s rear windshield that opens and closes by sliding on a system of rails.


A designation issued by the EPA for new vehicles with a score of 6 or higher for air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and a combined total of more than 13.

smartway elite

A designation issued by the EPA for new vehicles with a score of 9 or higher for both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


A type of transmission that allows the driver to manually shift gears using the gearshift or buttons on the steering wheel. Also known as a DSG, direct shift gearbox, or automated manual transmission.

smog-forming pollution

Pollutants in the hydrocarbon or NOx families that produce photochemical smog when combined in the presence of sunlight.

smoked glass

A vehicle window that has been infused with pigment during manufacturing to obscure the interior of the vehicle from view.

snowplow prep

The hardware required to attach a factory-optional, removable snowplow to a vehicle’s front bumper and/or frame.

soft-close doors

Doors that will automatically close if they are not fully latched by the occupants.

solar power

Energy derived directly from the sun through photovoltaic cells or other devices that convert light energy into electricity or heat.

solar sunroof

A sunroof with a photovoltaic panel built into the glass, used to power interior ventilation fans to cool the cabin when a vehicle is parked in the sun.


A spare tire and wheel stored on or in a vehicle for use when one of the four tires in use becomes disabled.

spark ignition

A system that uses a high-voltage electrical arc or “spark” to ignite a fuel/air mixture in an engine.

spark plug

An insulated plug that supports the electrodes between which the electrical arc or “spark” passes to initiate ignition in a spark-ignition engine.

spark plug wires

Cables that carry a high-voltage electrical charge from the distributor cap or ignition coils to the spark plugs in an engine.

speaker configuration

The number and arrangement of speakers, as well as the number of independent speaker channels (including center and subwoofer channels), supported by a vehicle’s sound system.

special lease

A form of incentive or rebate offered by a vehicle manufacturer that reduces the monthly payment of a vehicle lease below that offered by independent leasing companies. This is typically achieved through a higher residual value or a lower interest rate, or both. Also known as a subsidized lease or subvented lease.


A gauge that measures and displays the instantaneous speed of a vehicle, typically mounted on the dashboard behind the steering wheel.

speed-sensitive volume control

A feature in some vehicle sound systems that automatically lowers the speaker volume as the vehicle speed increases.

speed-sensitive wipers

A feature that increases the speed of the wipers as the vehicle speed increases.


A cash incentive, contest entry, or prize offered by a dealership to salespeople as motivation to sell vehicles.

split-limit insurance

An insurance policy with separate dollar limits for different types of coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage is usually split into a maximum payment per person and a maximum payment per accident. For example, an automobile liability policy of 50/100/25 provides a maximum of $50,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $100,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and a property damage limit of $25,000 per accident. This type of policy is compared to “single-limit insurance.”


An attachment to a vehicle or component of its body originally introduced to direct airflow and decrease lift and increase stability at high speeds, but sometimes used for aesthetic reasons.

stability control

A safety feature that improves the handling of a vehicle by detecting skids and adjusting braking pressure to help maintain the intended direction of the vehicle. Some stability control systems also reduce engine power until control is regained. Also known as electronic stability control (ESC).

stabilizer bar

A device that connects the left and right sides of a suspension to limit body roll in turns. Also known as an anti-roll or anti-sway bar.

starter safety switch

An electrical switch that prevents the starter from being engaged unless certain conditions are met, such as the placement of the shifter or depression of the brake pedal.

start-stop system

A system found in hybrid vehicles that automatically stops and restarts the internal combustion engine to reduce idle time and improve fuel economy.


A law created by a legislative body.

statute of limitations

A law that specifies the time within which parties must take judicial action to enforce their rights.


The halting of a judicial proceeding by order of the court.

steering column lock

A mechanism that prevents the steering wheel from moving unless the ignition switch is moved from the locked position.

steering damper

A shock absorber attached to the steering linkage that prevents sudden “kickback” at the steering wheel, often found on trucks or vehicles used off-road.

steering gearbox

A steering mechanism that converts the rotational motion of a steering wheel to the side-to-side motion of a lever connected to the steering linkage.

steering intermediate shaft

A component in the steering system that connects the steering shaft to the steering mechanism.

steering knuckle

The pivoting component to which the front wheel hubs are attached.

steering rack

The steering component that converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel to the horizontal motion necessary to operate the steering linkage.

steering wheel adjustment

The mechanism that controls the position of a vehicle’s steering column to suit the driver’s needs.

steering wheel controls

Electronic controls for a vehicle’s entertainment, cruise control, telematics, and/or climate control systems that are mounted on the steering wheel for the driver’s convenience.


Agreement by the attorneys or parties on opposite sides of a case regarding any matter in the trial proceedings.

storage media

The physical media that a vehicle sound system is capable of playing and/or recording, such as CDs, DVDs, hard drives, USB drives, or flash drives.

streering linkage

The arrangement of rods and lubricated joints connecting the steering gearbox to the wheel spindles in a vehicle’s steering system.


The distance, in inches, between the centerline of an engine’s crankshaft and the centerline of its connecting rod journal.


A document issued by a court to compel a witness to appear and give testimony or produce documentary evidence in a proceeding. Failure to comply is punishable by contempt of court.

subpoena duces tecum

A process by which a court orders a witness to produce specific documents or records in a trial.


A loan made to a borrower with a low credit rating, typically bearing a higher interest rate to compensate the lender for the greater risk.


Any court proceeding in which an individual seeks a decision from the court.


A vehicle that meets an emissions standard that is stricter than the ULEV (ultra-low emissions vehicle) standard.


A document or writ directing the sheriff or other officer to notify a person that an action has been filed against them in court and that they are required to appear on a certain date and answer the complaint.

sun sensor

A dash-top sensor, usually dome-shaped, that measures the “sun load” on the vehicle to improve the accuracy of the automatic climate control system.


A fixed or operable opening in the roof of a vehicle that is covered with a metal or glass plug.


A removable or retractable device that blocks or limits light from passing through a vehicle’s window.


A device powered by a belt, gear, shaft, or chain connected to the engine’s crankshaft that forces air into an internal-combustion engine to increase engine power.

supercharger drive belt

A “toothed” belt used to drive a pulley that turns the impeller of a centrifugal-style supercharger.

supercharger fluid

A liquid used to lubricate the internal components (e.g. the impeller and the bearings) of a supercharger.

suspension fluid

A fluid used in suspension systems that are hydraulically adjustable.

suspension geometry

The relationship between the placement of the mounting points for each of a vehicle’s suspension components.



An instrument that tells the driver how fast the engine is rotating, commonly including a redline to indicate the maximum engine speed.

tail lights

A set of housings that include a vehicle’s brake lamps, reverse lights, and rear turn signal lights.


A semi-convertible body style with a removable roof section and a full-width roll bar behind the seats.

technical service bulletin

Technical service bulletins (TSBs) issued by a vehicle manufacturer to address problems that affect the normal operation of the vehicle. Sometimes called “secret warranties,” TSBs cover known problems and provide repair instructions for service technicians, and are distributed to all of the manufacturer’s dealerships.


The use of telecommunications in a vehicle.


The use of telecommunications and electronic data communications in a vehicle.


Any statement made by a witness under oath in a legal proceeding.

thermostatically controlled air cleaner

A device on carbureted engines that controls emissions and contains a thermostat-controlled diverter that ducts air warmed by the exhaust manifold to the carburetor during cold conditions, and then ambient air to it once a certain temperature has been reached. This allows the engine to reach a normal operating temperature and end its fuel-rich/inefficient cold-temperature mode quickly.

throttle & kick down lever ball studs

Lubricated pivot points for the throttle or kickdown linkages in a vehicle’s engine.

throttle linkage

The collection of mechanical connections between a vehicle’s accelerator pedal and its throttle body or carburetor.

throttle system

The components used to control the volume of air to the engine.

tie rod ends

The ball and socket parts of the steering linkage that connect the wheel spindles to the rack and pinion or center link.

tier 1 EPA program

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first vehicle emission program promulgated under the Clean Air Act of 1994, which set more stringent national vehicle emissions standards than had previously existed.

tier 2 EPA program

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) second vehicle emission program promulgated under the Clean Air Act of 1994, which set more stringent national vehicle emissions standards than the Tier 1 EPA program.

timing belt

A “toothed” belt that drives an overhead camshaft or camshafts (and in some vehicles, a water pump).

timing belt tensioner

A spring-loaded idler wheel that automatically keeps the timing belt under enough tension to prevent the timing belt from allowing the camshaft(s) it controls to go out of sync.


A transparent plastic film applied to a vehicle’s windows that reduces visible light transmission and, in some cases, rejects heat by reducing UV and infrared transmissions.

tire diameter

The diameter, in inches, of a tire.

tire inflator

A device used to inflate, or inflate and seal, a collapsible spare or flat tire.

tire inflator sealant cartridge

A disposable container of pressurized sealing compound used to repair a flat tire.

tire load index

Also referred to as “load rating,” a numerical value assigned to a tire by its manufacturer to indicate the tire’s capability to carry a load. The higher the index number, the greater its load-carrying capacity.

tire prefix

An alphabetic value assigned to a tire by its manufacturer to indicate intended uses, such as “P” for passenger cars and “LT” for light trucks.

tire pressure monitoring system

An electronic system that measures and displays the amount of pressure in a vehicle’s tires to the driver.

tire profile

A numeric value assigned to a tire by its manufacturer to indicate the relationship between the tire’s sidewall height and its tread width.

tire size

Information displayed on the sidewall of a tire that includes its prefix, dimensions, load capacity, and speed rating.

tire speed rating

An alphanumeric value assigned to a tire by its manufacturer that indicates the maximum speed the tire can safely sustain for a ten-minute period.


Sometimes referred to as the “pink slip,” the legal document issued by the state in which the vehicle is purchased that reflects the person or entity registered with the state as its legal owner.


A measurement of an engine’s power that indicates how forcefully it can rotate the crankshaft at a given engine speed.


A private wrong or harm committed against another, resulting in legal liability. A tort can be either intentional or accidental. Automobile liability insurance is purchased to protect against suits arising from unintentional torts.


The person who commits a tort.

tow hooks

Metal hooks or eyelets, either fixed or removable, that are attached to a structurally sound section of a vehicle’s frame and used as pickup points for tow cables.

towing capable

A vehicle with features and equipment that make it well-suited for pulling a trailer.

towing capacity

The maximum amount of weight a vehicle is capable of towing according to its manufacturer.


The distance from the center plane of one wheel to the center plane of its opposing wheel.

traction control

Also known as a “traction control system” or “TCS,” a safety feature that regulates wheel spin and prevents loss of control under acceleration by ensuring maximum traction and contact between the tires and the road by adjusting brake pressure to one or more wheels, closing the throttle, or reducing the fuel supply to at least one or more cylinders.


A vehicle that is currently owned by the purchaser of a new or used vehicle from a dealer and is exchanged for the newly purchased vehicle in order to reduce its net price.

trailer hitch

A metal device attached to a structurally sound section of a vehicle’s frame that is used to support a trailer while coupling it to the vehicle.

trailer hitch  mountings

Trailer hitch attachment points on the body or chassis.

trailer wiring

A flat, four-way, weatherproof connector located near a vehicle’s trailer hitch used to complete the circuits for a trailer’s ground, running, left signal, right signal and brake lights.


A combination transmission and differential/drive axle assembly.


The official record or proceedings in a trial or hearing, which is kept by the clerk.

transfer case fluid

Lubricant used in the transfer case.

transmission modes

Driver-selectable transmission settings that change drive ratios and/or shift points for fuel economy or performance.

transmission overdrive

A final gear ratio for an automatic transmission that has an output speed greater than its input speed, which increases highway fuel economy.

transmission type

The type of transmission: automatic, manual, shiftable automatic or automated manual.


The presentation of evidence in court to a trier of facts who applies the applicable law to those facts and then decides the case.

trip computer

An electronic device used to calculate and display trip information, such as distance traveled, average speed and fuel economy.


A vehicle roof with removable panels on either side of a rigid bar, running from the center of the vehicles A pillar to the center of its B pillar.


Sometimes referred to as a “turbosupercharger,” a device that uses an exhaust-driven turbine to force air into an internal-combustion engine in order to increase engine power.

turn signals

Flashing amber-colored lights that indicate when a vehicle’s driver intends to make a turn or lane change.

turning circle

The turning diameter, also referred to as “turning diameter,” is the diameter of the circle made by a vehicle in a full-lock 360 degree turn.

two-stage unlocking

A remote electronic door lock system, which opens the driver’s door on the first press and the other doors on the second press, is called a “four-press” system.



Universal joints, also known as “U-joints,” are flexible joints used on drive shafts that are composed of two U-shaped yokes that share a common cross-shaped member.

ULEV program

The ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) standard is an emissions standard within the LEV program, which is tighter than the LEV standard.

under seat storage

A storage console located under a vehicle’s seat is often referred to as a “underseat storage console.”


The area of a vehicle that is typically not visible from above and that is exposed to the road is known as the “underbody.”


The wheels, axles, and suspension system of a vehicle, particularly a commercial vehicle, are collectively referred to as the “chassis” or “undercarriage.” More generally, all of the parts of an automobile accessible from the underside of the vehicle are considered part of the undercarriage.

underhood label ID

A label required by the EPA that is affixed to the underside of a new vehicle’s hood to designate its engine family and EPA vehicle test group.


A handling characteristic of a vehicle that causes it to turn less sharply than the driver intends because the front wheels are sliding to the outside of the turn.


A company that engages in insurance underwriting.


The process of evaluating the risk exposure to a potential insured (or class or category of insureds), whether to accept the risk and offer insurance coverage, and the premium to be charged for that coverage.

universal remote control

A wireless device that can be programmed to control all aspects of a vehicle’s entertainment system.

universal remote transmitter

An electronic device integrated into a key or key fob that controls a vehicle’s remote-operated accessories.


The material used to cover a vehicle’s seats, door panels, arm rests, and headrests is called “upholstery” and can be made of cloth, leather, or synthetic material.


When the loan amount for a vehicle is greater than the current value of the vehicle.


vacuum lines & hoses

Flexible tubing used to carry air, fluids, vapors, or pressurized gas.

valve clearance

The maximum amount of space between a rocker arm or cam and the part it contacts to actuate a valve.

valve gear type

The number of camshafts used by an engine, as well as their orientation in relation to its valves.

valves per cylinder

The total number of intake and exhaust valves employed in each individual cylinder of an engine.

vanity mirrors

Mirrors commonly placed on the underside of a vehicle’s sun visors for personal grooming.

variable gear ratio steering assembly

The steering mechanism converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel to the side-to-side motion of the steering linkage.

variable valve timing

An engine feature known as variable valve timing allows the lift, timing, or duration of the engine’s valves to be changed while the engine is running.

vehicle identification number

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code assigned to a vehicle by its manufacturer. No two vehicles can have the same VIN. The VIN is typically stamped onto a plate or printed on a sticker and affixed to the vehicle in multiple locations, such as the engine bay and the driver’s side door jamb.

vehicle type

Vehicle classes refer to the general size and type of a vehicle, such as large cars, midsize cars, minivans, pickup trucks, small cars, sports utility vehicles, station wagons, and vans. Special purpose vehicles are also included in this category.

ventilated seats

Seats with ventilation feature tiny holes in the center section of the seat bottom that allow ambient cabin air to pass through.


The jurisdiction of a court refers to the specific county, city, or geographical area in which the court has the authority to hear and decide cases.


A verdict is the formal decision made by a judge or jury (the trier of facts) in a court case.

video game input

The RCA plugs located in the rear passenger section of a vehicle are used to connect audio and video equipment.

video monitor

A color or monochromatic liquid crystal display (LCD) used in a vehicle’s dashboard, headliner, or headrests provides information, navigation, or video.

video remote control

A wireless remote control device uses infrared or radio frequency signals to control a vehicle’s video system.

video source

A video source device produces a video signal that can be displayed on a vehicle’s entertainment system.

voir dire

The process of preliminary examination of prospective jurors by the court or attorneys, to determine their qualifications and suitability for jury duty. The term “voir dire” is derived from the French phrase “to speak the truth.”


water pump

A device that circulates coolant through a vehicle’s cooling system.

water pump weep hole

A small opening located behind and below the exposed end of the shaft.


The power rating of an amplifier or speaker indicates the maximum amount of power the device is capable of producing or enduring.

weather strip

The rubber stripping that seals the gaps around doors and hatches, or their openings, to prevent water and air from entering the vehicle.

wheel alignment

The adjustment of various components, such as the camber, caster, toe, and ride height, to meet predetermined specifications.

wheel bearings

The assemblies that allow the smooth rotation of the wheel hub and spindle.

wheel covers

A decorative metal or plastic disc that is placed over a vehicle’s stamped steel wheels, lug nuts, and/or hubs, to improve their appearance or hide them from view.

wheel cylinders

Small hydraulic cylinders found in drum-type brakes that are located between the brake shoes and are activated when the brakes are applied.

wheel diameter

The diameter of the wheel in inches.

wheel locks

Special nuts that are designed to prevent wheel theft and can only be installed or removed with a specific wrench or key.

wheel lug nuts/bolts

The nuts that hold the wheel onto its hub.

wheel offset

The distance from the wheel’s hub-mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. A zero offset indicates that the hub-mount surface is even with the centerline, while a positive offset indicates that the hub-mount surface is towards the front (or outside) of the centerline. A negative offset means that the hub-mount surface is towards the back (behind) of the centerline.

wheel specs

The width and diameter of the wheels.

wheel speed sensor wiring

Connections that relay the speed of each wheel to a computer, which then makes adjustments in brake application to prevent the wheels from locking up.

wheel width

The distance from the bead to bead of the wheel.


The longitudinal distance between the front and rear wheel axes of a vehicle.


The distance between the center of a vehicle’s front axle and the center of its rear axle.


A rotary disturbance that occurs in the steering wheel and is caused by forces acting on the steered wheels.

wholesale value

The price at which dealers purchase vehicles from other dealers or from lenders, usually at auction. This price is also known as the dealer acquisition cost.

wideband oxygen sensor

A faster and more sensitive oxygen sensor that allows an engine control unit to make changes to the air/fuel ratio more rapidly and precisely than with a conventional sensor.


The distance between the left and right sides of the vehicle at its widest point.

willfull act

An intentional act carried out without justifiable cause.

window control

The manner in which the windows are controlled, such as manually, with power, one-touch, automatically, or with a remote.


The front window that provides visibility and protects the occupants from the elements. Modern windshields are typically made of laminated safety glass, which consists of two curved sheets of glass with a plastic layer in between, bonded to the window frame.

wireless data link

A method of transferring digital data without the use of cables, using Bluetooth or WiFi technology.

wiring harness

The group of wires and connectors that carry electric current throughout a vehicle.


A person who testifies under oath in a court, providing evidence based on what they have seen, heard, or otherwise observed.


A written directive issued by a court that directs a person to perform, or refrain from performing, a specific act.





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