Do You Know Your Car Mechanic Lingo?

Tue 3rd Jul 2018

It’s a trip we all dread taking, but at some point in our lives it’s more than likely we will have to take a trip to the garage, and encounter that beautiful unknown language of a mechanic.

Now a survey of drivers has revealed the top seven elements of jargon you are most likely to hear when taking your poorly motor to the garage.

According to MotorEasy, almost half (47 per cent) of motorists admit that they feel they were overcharged for work done at garages, and that they didn’t actually know what the mechanic was charging them for, or understand their explanation.

This confusion has lead to mechanics being rated as one of the least trusted professions in the country.

'Garage mechanics are among the worst around for using phrases and terms that may make sense to them and may even be technically correct, but which mean nothing to the casual car owner,” said MotorEasy’s Duncan McLure Fisher.

'While some garage customers may be bold enough to ask for an explanation, the majority are very British about it and will simply accept what they’re being told, trusting that the technician knows best.

'The problem is that this trust is open to abuse and unscrupulous garages could even use jargon to deliberately confuse their customers and even get them to part with more cash unnecessarily.'

In the survey of 2,000 drivers here are the top seven uses of jargon, and the real English explanation.

Jargon Term 1: Your big end has gone

A large bearing (semi-circular sleeve of metal inside the engine) has worn out and failed. This usually results in further damage to other parts of the engine. If the big end is worn, it can make a loud knocking noise, especially when you accelerate

Jargon Term 2: Excessive play

Not as fun as it first sounds, this is typically used in connection to steering or suspension parts and refers to excessive movement of a part that is either moving more than it should or moving when it shouldn’t do so at all

Jargon Term 3: Diagnostic check / charge

The technician may plug a diagnostics system into your car to assess any faults; this sounds technical and can be used to mask the cost of an hour’s labour but it usually entails no more than plugging a laptop into the car, taking minutes

Jargon Term 4: Your bushes on the wishbone are going

Bushes are the little rubber parts attached to suspension parts, including the triangular components called wishbones; because they are rubber, they can perish and wear out. They aren’t an expensive fix however, so bear that in mind.

Jargon Term 5: You’ve got mayonnaise under your oil cap

If water or condensation under the oil cap mixes with engine oil, it creates a thick, white-coloured gunk that collects there; this could indicate that there’s an issue  with the head gasket, which is quite a serious problem

Jargon Term 6: Spongy brakes

There isn’t much resistance when the brake pedal is depressed, indicating that the brakes aren’t working properly, usually due to a lack of brake fluid

Jargon Term 7: I need to access your CAN-bus

Jargon term for the electronics system that allows the vehicle’s engine management computer to ‘talk’ to other parts of the car

With you can cut out the jargon with clear and easy explanations of every element of your new car. And if you’ve got any questions speak to one of our online advisors.